About Listen Notes

Listen Notes is the No. 1 podcast search engineTM. It's like Google, but for podcasts. You can search 516,739 podcasts & 31,865,678 episodes by people, places, or topics -- (almost) all podcasts you can find on the Internet.
Is 31,865,678 a big number? Is it big enough to justify the existence of a search engine? Let's see...
And the podcast content is growing faster and faster over the past couple years...
Listen Notes Podcast Episodes Growth by Year
Human-beings are not good at understanding exponential growth. Most of us think that exponential growth happens overnight, e.g., Facebook has 2 billion users overnight, Google becomes Google overnight, massive adoption of smartphones happens overnight...
In fact, growth typically feels gradual at first for a long period of time. Then it feels sudden. The growth of podcast was very slow in the first decade of its existence, as you can see in the above chart. Then suddenly, the growth accelerates. Why? I think it's due to three factors that form a virtuous circle: more contents (e.g., for marketing, for storytelling...), more devices to consume contents (e.g., smart speakers, wireless headphones, cars...), and more listeners (e.g., want to get knowledge and get entertained while multitasking...).
A podcast search engine is an essential tool to help grow the podcast market. Remember, podcast is not mainstream yet. Most people in the world haven't listened to podcasts yet. And most listeners are casual listeners who don't bother to subscribe to any podcasts or use any podcast player app. Help people find podcasts. Help niche podcasts to be found. Then good things will happen :)

FAQ #Top

1. Who build Listen Notes?

A one-person team builds Listen Notes :) I am Wenbin, a Software Engineer in San Francisco.
I quit my day job from Nextdoor 554 days and 5 hours ago (Dec. 2016). I'm working on Listen Notes full-time now. And I've already incorporated Listen Notes, Inc.
Please feel free to reach out to me to say hi or bounce ideas: [email protected]

2. Why do you build Listen Notes?

I'm an avid podcast listener. I listen to 5+ hours podcasts everyday. I subscribe to only a few podcasts, but I couldn't listen all episodes of them -- not every episode is worth listening in the same podcast. If I'm interested in a certain topic, I would just find a lot of episodes from different podcasts about this topic, and binge listening all of them.
Listen Notes is yet another "I can build this in a weekend"-ish project. It was started as a side project. The more I work on it, the more I'm convinced that podcast has a bright future and Listen Notes could play an important role in the podcast movement. Podcast search engine is a humble start. You have Search first, then Maps, Docs, and Translate, then self-driving car. You know what I mean :) The next big thing will start out looking like a toy. Let's think big, start small, act fast.

3. Why there are Ads on this website? Why do you need to make money?

I'm a human being, so I need to make money to survive. Seriously, I don't have any income now and I think it won't be a bad idea to at least offset the server fee of Listen Notes (~$450).
If you find Listen Notes useful, you may want to buy me coffee or donate some server time to Listen Notes :)
If you have better ideas for monetization, or you want to advertise on this website, email me: [email protected]

4. I'm a podcaster. I don't see my podcast on Listen Notes / I want you to delete my podcast from your site...

If you don't see your podcast on Listen Notes, please tell me by filling this form: Submit a missing podcast.
If you don't want your podcast to be listed on Listen Notes, tell me and I'll remove your podcasts within 12 hours: [email protected]

5. What technologies do you use to build Listen Notes?

Visit ListenNotes.com on desktop browser and open JavaScript Developer Console. You'll figure out there :)

6. Do you sell the podcast database? Do you provide API for developers to use?

We provide Listen Notes API. But we don't sell the database.

7. What's next for Listen Notes?

Before I run out of my personal savings in a few months, I'll improve the core search feature as much as possible. If I figure out how to extend my runway (e.g., better monetization), then I'll start exploring some community features (e.g., Goodreads for podcasts). I wrote a blog post on this topic.
Again, if you want to support the development of Listen Notes, you can donate some server time to Listen Notes.

8. What if Apple / Google build their own podcast search engine?

I'm always wondering why Yahoo didn't build a search engine in 1998, or why Dropbox is better than Google Drive :)
These big companies seem to have infinite resources and they seem to be able to build anything and crash anyone. The question is, should they? The fact is, if a project is not on the top priority list of their decision maker, then they would just send a B team, or C team to work on the project. So usually, small startups are not competing with the big company. They are competing with B team or C team inside the big company.
Podcast is a small market for Apple or Google for now. If they start to take podcast seriously, then the podcast market is already big enough to allow multiple players to exist.
As I said before, I initially built Listen Notes for myself. I had no patience to wait for other companies to build a proper podcast search engine, so I just built it on my own. It turns out that Listen Notes is also useful for other people. If Apple or Google ever builds a better podcast search engine, then it's a good thing for the podcast industry and podcast listeners. Before this happens, I hope Listen Notes can serve you well :)

9. Are you looking for a co-founder, partnership, investment...? Can we do Skype, Google Hangouts, coffee...?

No, thanks. I'm pretty happy as a one-person team. I enjoy being independent.
I prefer asynchronous communication. If you have anything specific to discuss, let's do it via email: [email protected]

10. Do you use AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, NLP, Blockchain, or other buzzword-fancy-tech in Listen Notes?

No. I use boring technologies.

11. I'm building a similar podcast service now. It's meaningless for both of us to build similar things at the same time... Could we collaborate / merge / work together / combine our efforts? Or could you stop building Listen Notes and join us? Or could you be my CTO / lead engineer? Or could you share your source code with me?

No, thanks. Good luck for your business.
You may think this question is a joke. But it's real (or surreal). I get such emails every week. People who sent such emails look like real human beings (from their LinkedIn, Crunchbase, Twitter...).

12. I'm a podcaster. How can my podcast rank at top 1 in search results for keyword "XYZ", "shopping", "insurance", "sports", "business", "dog", or whatever generic keywords?

tl;dr version: Keep up the good work of 1) producing awesome content, 2) writing informative show notes, and 3) getting more listeners.
For Listen Notes, we index podcast meta data (title, publisher, show notes...) and some audio transcripts.
Ranking is a complex topic. For any good search engines in general, ranking of search results is done in an automatic & objective way. As Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (btw, very good resource to learn SEO) describes, your content need to demonstrate Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness.
Ranking changes dynamically on Listen Notes, as we get new signals over time, e.g., # of clicks / plays on the website, # of clips / listen later, # of estimate downloads from various external sources, recommendations on blogs/online media... Just like other search engines, we can't reveal the exact ranking algorithm, as we don't want people to game the system.

Timeline of Listen Notes #Top

Press Highlights #Top

Updated: 2018-06-21