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Transcription service Otter is making free users pay to access older recordings


Automated transcription service Otter is making some big changes to its offerings for both free and paying customers. Mostly, the company is downgrading its features — reducing the number of audio imports users can make; the length of audio they can transcribe each month, and so on — though it is giving free users access to some new tools.

One of the biggest changes, though, is that free users will no longer be able to access their full back catalogue of recordings. Instead, they’ll only have access to the most recent 25. The rest will be “archived” — that is, they’ll still exist on Otter’s servers, but users will have to either delete other conversations to access them, or pay to upgrade to Otter’s “pro” plan.

This and other changes to the service will kick in on September 27th, so any free users with more than 25 recordings may want to download their back catalogue before then. After September 27th, free users will still be able to access these recordings (by downloading then deleting audio files one at a time) but it’ll be more of a hassle.

The changes to Otter’s free and paid plans in full.
Image: Otter.ai

You can see the full range of changes in the image above, and Otter also has a useful FAQ on what’s different. The general upshot, though, seems to be that the company has been too generous to users, and now needs to nudge more people onto its paid plan (which: fair enough! They’ve got to make money somehow).

It’s not all bad news, though: Otter is giving some new tricks to free users too, including access to an auto-join feature for meetings and free AI-generated summaries of recordings. These features were first added for paid users earlier this year, as part of Otter’s plan to position itself not just as a transcription tool, but as a multi-purpose work hub.


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