ListenNotes: A new podcast search engine

(Screenshot/Listen Notes)

(Screenshot/Listen Notes)

Podcasting has moved from the fringes to the center of American culture. From “Pardon My Take” getting an ESPN show (if only for one episode), to Kevin Durant on the “Bill Simmons Podcast” recapping the NBA finals just days after they ended, the amount of podcasts in our media landscape has skyrocketed in recent years.

The increased demand and low barriers to entry has lead to a glut of podcasts to the point where it seems impossible to catch up. A new website called Listen Notes is attempting to solve this problem by offering the Internet’s best podcast search engine.

Created by engineer Wenbin Fang, the site is eyeing an early entrance into a developing market. Fang compares the early days of Google, which indexed 25 million web pages in 1998, to the current state of podcasting, with Listen Notes currently indexing over 22 million podcast episodes.

Listen Notes truly offers a far superior search engine compared to its counterparts within major podcast providers. For example, if you’re looking to get the latest on their favorite sports team, let’s say the Boston Celtics, and you search “Boston Celtics” into Listen Notes and Apple Podcasts, two very different sets of results arise.

Listen Notes provides the most relevant possible podcasts that feature “Boston Celtics” in their description, while Apple Podcasts searches for podcasts with “Boston Celtics” in their name.

Therefore, Listen Notes results in Brad Stevens’ interview with a local Boston radio show earlier in the day, while Apple Podcasts brings up every episode by a podcast called “Celtics Basketball Coverage,” which is not very relevant. It is clear to see how LifeHacker called the site “The Best Podcast Search Engine” earlier this fall. Going forward, Fang hopes to improve the website in a variety of ways with reviews, comments and recommendations on the horizon.

The obvious question that arises is why Apple, or other major podcast providers, have not improved their search engine capabilities. The answer is relatively simple: podcasts make up so little of their traffic that the costs of investing in improvements outweigh the benefits. This dynamic is something that Listen Notes is currently thriving off of.

Going into a vacation with a ton of free time of your hands, Listen Notes is the ideal site to find a new podcast that matches your interests. Type in your favorite author or celebrity and chances are the search engine will find a pod that can fill your gym time this winter.


Teddy Craven is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.craven_jr@uconn.edu.