Podcasts Writing Guidelines

Your go-to reference for curating podcasts, from Musixmatch
Please note that these Guidelines will help you curator your Podcasts from a content and style point of view. If you're instead looking for some more technical 'How-To's, you can find them here.


1. Always divide the sentences based on who’s speaking
It may happen that two separate speeches from two different people can get merged into one, or that the last sentence from one speaker can be merged with that of the following speaker. Always separate them so that everyone can be noted and quoted for their sentences.
Don't forget to check all transcriptions and make sure that Speakers are correctly assigned.
Remember to separate Speakers when they are accidentally merged by automated transcriptions.

2. Add punctuation
The automatic transcription can sometimes miss question marks, quotation marks, exclamation marks, and so on. If so, you should add them (only one per sentence, don’t go with “What???” or “Wow!!!). There should always be a punctuation mark at the end of each line.
Hey how are you
Very good, thank you
Hey, how are you?
Very good, thank you.

3. Separate long speeches into more than one paragraph
Don’t make paragraphs longer than 6/7 lines.

4. Use a single dash to indicate an unfinished or censored word or sentence.

When a Speaker doesn’t finish a sentence, just add a single dash (–) to show the word has been interrupted:
I was ready for the moment and I was ready for
I was ready for the moment and I was ready for -

You can follow the same rule for when you find a censored word in a podcast:
I got people to see and sh** to do
I got people to see and sh- to do

To keep punctuation consistent across podcasts:
- Always use the En dash (–) where there is a dash or an ellipsis, or when a word is not possible to accurately transcribe.
- Shorter Hyphens (-) are used to separate compound words.
- Do not use the longer Em dash (—).

5. Transcribe music lyrics, but not too many!

You can transcribe music lyrics if it’s just a few lines (5-7 lines) and you are 100% sure of the content. Like this 👇

If the podcast is playing a full song or a large portion of it (but the song is not the main object or topic of the podcast) remove the whole automated transcription and replace it with the name and author of the song, in brackets 👇
Write the whole lyrics of the song
[🎵 Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi]
This option above is a valid one even if you are uncertain about the lyrics, as long as you know the correct title and artist name.

If you are not sure about the correctness of the small part of the lyrics added by the artificial intelligence, and you don’t know who the author of the song is, just delete the whole part and go on correcting the rest of the podcast.
6. Don’t describe. Transcribe!

Always transcribe direct speech but never audio description: you can avoid referencing “Music in the background” or “Noises in the background”.
"Hello Conan"
door closes in background
"Hello Michael!"
"Hello Conan"
"Hello Michael!
It's going to get curly soon (Conan laughs in the background) is that a blowout?
It's going to get curly soon, is that a blowout?
7. Remove laughter, filler sounds, humming, and so on

Eliminate filler sounds and repetitions while transcribing a Podcast
Filler sounds are “uhm”, “ehm” and so on. “Yeah” is a filler sound when it is not necessary to state an affirmation. In this case it can also be removed.
Repetitions are words that come right after one another, as in “very very…”, and you should delete only one.
• Other words that should usually be removed are “like”, “you know”, “I mean”, “Right” and so on – when they are clearly functioning as verbatim or fillers.

Sometimes a Speaker expresses assent or dissent right over the voice of someone else. You can and should transcribe those expressions when they're clear and distinct. On occasion, though, these interactions can be difficult to separate. Consider whether to keep these expressions on a case-by-case basis.
Uhm and I came to learn, uhm as I grew up.
And I came to learn as I grew up.

8. Delete all transcribed repetitions
It may happen that a speaker repeats a part of the speech two or three times in the same sentence. Transcribe the repeated parts only once, unless the repetition itself is instrumental to the concept.
I mean, I mean, do you really think that?
I mean, do you really think that?
9. Don’t transcribe advertisements

Advertisements (Ads) are treated differently from the rest of the text and don’t follow the rules of Speakers and Tags. Once text is marked as an Ad, there is no need to tag or correct anything within it.

See the screenshots below to get an idea of the process and final result 👇
What is to be marked as an advertisement
Ads may come at the beginning, end, or middle of a podcast

Pre-produced or prerecorded podcast ads are similar to a traditional radio spot. Usually, you can hear the difference in voice, tone, even volume from the original episode.
This should be marked as an advertisement.

Host-read ads are live-read podcast ads read by the podcast host(s) during the recording of a podcast. The ads are often delivered without a script and become permanent parts of the podcast episode. They sometimes include a special offer for podcast listeners e.g. "Song Exploder listeners get 15% off an annual membership."

If the ads are promoting other content eg. another podcast or episode, or the network itself is considered an advertisement.

10. Credits: to transcribe, or not to transcribe...

Sometimes at the end (or beginning) of a podcast, the host lists all the people who contributed to the production (producers, writers, and so on).

Whether you transcribe these credits or not it is really up to you. We ask only that you're consistent in your decision and that, if you do choose to keep them, you don't tag them.

Attention: when credits have been added automatically by the AI, please remove them all (names’ spelling will likely be wrong).


1. Be sure to make the format clear and homogeneous
This means capitalizing the first letter of every sentence, and any proper nouns (names, places, brands).
Did you always know that you wanted to get married? I was reading in the New York Times about how our parents just didn't talk about their marriage.
did you always know that you wanted to get married? I was reading in the new york times about how our parents just didn't talk about their marriage.

2. How to write numbers
You can avoid writing numbers as words, whether it’s from 1 to 10 or higher

Here are some examples:
• If there are many numbers given in a row (if a speaker gives a phone number, for example, e.g. I told him, “Call me on 07678, ‘fore it’s too late”)
• When exact times are emphasized ('It was 4:32'), be sure to add a.m. (ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem) when necessary: (6 a.m., 8:30 p.m.)
• When “o’clock” is used (4 o’clock, 11 o’clock)
• Dates (e.g. April 5th, 1987; May 6, 1989)
• Decades should also be written numerically, introduced with an apostrophe (“It was better in the ‘60s”)
• If speakers are referring to a saga, feel free to not use numbers as words (e.g.
“Scream Five” can be written “Scream 5”)
3. Don’t forget to add quotation marks when needed

You should use quotation marks when a speaker is recounting a piece of direct speech. It should be introduced by a comma, and you should capitalize the first letter of the quoted sentence.
then I went to him and told him, “Grow up”
And then I went to him and told him grow up
When the speaker is naming an external source (such as books, films, songs, and so on) that can’t be found among the subject tags, you can simply use quotation marks.
Have you ever read "The sound and fury"?
Have you ever read the sound and the fury?
4. Always write contractions using an apostrophe (‘)

it’s when referring to “it is” and its when describing possessives
you’re when referring to “you are” and your when describing possessives
ballin', not ballin (contraction of “balling”)
‘til, not til (contraction of “until”)
'em, not em (contraction of “them”)
‘cause for shortened 'because' and cause when used as verb
don’t not dont
I'll love you 'til the end
I'll love you til the end
5. How to write a website address
As you would do online! Check out the following example 👇

Find out more at www.musixmatch.com
Find out more at www dot musixmatch dot com
And remember: you are transcribing not correcting!
If you encounter what you believe to be grammatical or other kinds of errors in the text of a podcast while curating, do not correct the text except for the elements mentioned in these guidelines.


Adding tags to the text allows the Podcast to be searchable by entity (a distinct subject that can draw attention to the Podcast).

Upon starting your curation of the Podcast, you’ll notice the AI will have already tagged a few entities it has recognized, like cities, institutions, or people.

To insert a tag, highlight the noun or person involved, and then select the hashtag icon on the top right of the screen. To remove a tag or a part or it, use the icon next to the right (the hashtag with an ‘x’): 👇
Once you've added a tag to a word, it'll remain highlighted throughout the podcast.
1. Who should and shouldn’t be tagged
Speakers and other people who are named in the text should be tagged. In addition, other entities (such as countries, cities or institutions) should be tagged only when they are relevant to the Podcast.

The number of words tagged will vary depending on the subject and length of the podcast. As a reference, a 30-minute episode might have about 10 tagged entities, including keywords from the podcast title (but not more).

In general, names relevant in the text should always be tagged, except proper names mentioned in closing credits.
2. Tagging the Speakers
When we talk about tagging, we are referring to two different actions:
• Tags in the text itself (as Red Taylor’s Version in the graph below).
• Those referencing Speakers through speech balloons (as Nora Princiotti’s).
If we don’t know a speaker’s full name, they should be tagged from the start as generic. We can also use this 'generic' tag for speakers who appear only once or twice and aren't a definitive part of the Podcast. This is how the generic option will appear in the Speaker menu 👇
And this will be the final result: while the name of the host is showing, the generic speaker has only an icon 👇
3. Always tag the name of the show
The show’s name is not just the first thing someone may search for, but could also contain important information on the subjects. So... you should always tag it! If your show doesn’t have a Wikipedia entity, though, you won't be able to - so don't worry about that!
Hello, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Stuff You Should Know, did you miss us?
Hello, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Stuff You Should Know, did you miss us?
4. Tag a subject every time and in any way it’s mentioned
When talking about Taylor Swift, you would tag “Taylor Swift” and also when she is mention only as “Taylor” or as “Swift”.
It needs a ton of servers in a data center that is just for Taylor Swift launches. This is because Swift has indeed a huge amount of fans that will connect immediately.
It needs a ton of servers in a data center that is just for Taylor Swift launches. This is because Swift has indeed a huge amount of fans that will connect immediately.
5. Tagging a subject multiple times
To speed up your tagging process, use the “Apply to all similar” functionality, so that your entity’s tag will automatically be applied throughout. You will see this option while tagging a subject for the first time 👇
6. Always aim for perfection when tagging
Yes, the AI (artificial intelligence) is able to tag automatically, but this doesn’t mean that it’s always right! When you see incoherent or incorrect tags, you need to change them for a perfect result.

For instance, in a football podcast as in the example below, the “New England Patriots” (football team) should be tagged (not “New England”).
Tom Ford is a great designer. He is the best.
Tom Ford is a great designer. He is the best.
Don’t look at me! I am Switzerland in this debate.
Don’t look at me! I am Switzerland in this debate.
7. Tag what’s important, but don’t tag everything
Tag entities such as people, places, organizations, events, and so on. Don’t overgeneralize though - abstract or very wide concepts should not be tagged.
Since 1983, the purchasing power of the US dollar has been reduced.
Since 1983, the purchasing power of money has changed a lot.
8. Tag social media only if relevant
If the Podcast is about a social media platform, or one is being discussed (e.g. Instagram, X, and so on) you can tag it. But if instead the speakers are simply telling the users where to follow them, don’t.
We are discussing today the impact of Twitter on TV shows ratings.
If you want to keep in touch follow me on Twitter and Instagram.