How to take notes on podcasts?

App wanted, I got some ideas…

Photo by Jaz King on Unsplash

I listen to a few podcasts. I really enjoy them. But I have a problem with podcast, and the audio format in general.

When I hear something awesome, I want to remember it. How can I take notes on podcasts?

Audio is a unique beast. It is not skimmable. It is not easily copied and pasted.

With text articles I will copy and paste the relevant text to my note system. If it is a conversation at work, I will make a note on my phone or computer. But with podcasts I am usually listening while doing something else. Driving, working out, these activities are hard to take notes during the moment. If I happen to be somewhere where I can get to my phone, I usually end up opening the Notes app, and then writing down a note, then switching back to the podcast. But reading the note later, the context is gone. Sometimes I don’t even remember what podcast it was from. I want to be able to listen to that section of the podcast I took notes on again easily. I want an app that makes it easy to take notes on podcasts.

Feature Ideas

Permalink to specific episodes that can be opened in any podcast player.

One of the reasons podcasts have trouble spreading, is because it is hard to share them. It is hard enough to share an actual episode, it is even harder to share a specific part of a specific episode.

If I try to send a specific episode of a podcasts to others, I have to share the web link to make sure they can open it. It is even hard to link to specific episodes for myself when I to take notes. It all depends on where the podcast is published, and what player you or your friend uses. I would love permalinks to specific episodes that are universal. I could give the URL to anyone, and they could open it in any player.

Permalinks to specific timecodes in the podcast.

I hear a couple powerful sentences in the middle of a podcast. I want to share that specific bit of information with someone. Let’s say I want to send someone to 30 minutes and 15 seconds. Being able to time stamp a link, which would take a friend to that specific place would be awesome.

Ability to hit a button to mark a specific timecode I want to take notes on later.

As mentioned, I often listen to podcasts while driving. I can’t take notes. I could however, hit a button to mark that spot for note taking later. I could then go through the list of markers, tap on a marker, and hear the 30 seconds before and after that marker.

Slice out the piece of audio and attach to the note

After taking a text note on the audio, I want to be able to listen to the actual conversation when I go back to review or use the note. Having a link to a timecode would work, or cutting that piece of audio out could work as well. This would also make it much easier to share the note and the audio.

Collaborative Transcription

By utilizing all the notes user are taking on specific podcasts, it could be possible to build out a kind of collaborative transcription of the podcast. The would be very useful on podcasts that don’t provide transcription.

Crowdsource Best Snippets

Because users are marking and taking notes on specific sections of specific podcasts, you could auto generate a list of the most noted podcasts, even the best sections based on number of people marking them and taking notes later.

Ability to pause and rewind while taking notes

I can tap out a note pretty fast, but often the speaker is faster than I can take notes on. Currently I have to switch back to the audio player, rewind, switch back to the note app, switch back to rewind the next bit I missed.
Having play pause, 15 second backs, 15 seconds forward, in the app I am taking notes would make things amazingly easier.

Apple Watch app

I don’t use an Apple Watch (yet?) but a few people I know like to listen to podcasts as they run. Definitely a time when you don’t want to stop and take notes. Being able to press a button on the Apple Watch to mark the location in the podcast to come back to and take notes on would be amazing.

Listen Mode where it will try to use dictation to take notes

This might be a bit out there, but it might be nice to be able to turn on a ‘listen mode’ where the app will then record the audio and try to transcribe it. It is easier to edit than to create, and if it gets to 95% accuracy it wouldn’t be to hard to clean it up later.