While there is an abundance of advice to podcast creators on how to speak in ways that engage their listeners, there has been little data-driven analysis of podcasts that relates linguistic style with engagement. In this paper, we investigate how various factors – vocabulary diversity, distinctiveness, emotion, and syntax, among others – correlate with engagement, based on analysis of the creators’ written descriptions and transcripts of the audio. We build models with different textual representations, and show that the identified features are highly predictive of engagement. Our analysis tests popular wisdom about stylistic elements in high-engagement podcasts, corroborating some pieces of advice and adding new perspectives on others.
Podcast episodes often contain material extraneous to the main content, such as advertisements, interleaved within the audio and the written descriptions. We present classifiers that leverage both textual and listening patterns in order to detect such content in podcast descriptions and audio transcripts. We demonstrate that our models are effective by evaluating them on the downstream task of podcast summarization and show that we can substantively improve ROUGE scores and reduce the extraneous content generated in the summaries.
Podcasts are a large and growing repository of spoken audio. As an audio format, podcasts are more varied in style and production type than broadcast news, contain more genres than typically studied in video data, and are more varied in style and format than previous corpora of conversations. When transcribed with automatic speech recognition they represent a noisy but fascinating collection of documents which can be studied through the lens of natural language processing, information retrieval, and linguistics. Paired with the audio files, they are also a resource for speech processing and the study of paralinguistic, sociolinguistic, and acoustic aspects of the domain. We introduce the Spotify Podcast Dataset, a new corpus of 100,000 podcasts. We demonstrate the complexity of the domain with a case study of two tasks: (1) passage search and (2) summarization. This is orders of magnitude larger than previous speech corpora used for search and summarization. Our results show that the size and variability of this corpus opens up new avenues for research.