Saturday, August 21, 2010

NowHearThis: Profoundilize your audio-blogs, podcasts, sound bites, and life


NowHearThis, our latest audio recording and podcast publishing tool, is now available in the app store here.

NowHearThis turns you into a radio star in four easy steps, as seen in this tutorial video (proving that, despite what The Buggles may have implied, a video can show you how to become a radio star):

  1. Record - NowHearThis is ALWAYS recording, so you never miss any memorable moments or best takes.

  2. Clean - Simple editing tools (trim, fade, cut/paste, & zoom) remove the mistakes and improve your audio quality.

  3. Profoundilize - By adding sound effects and short bits of music, you can turn a plain-ole-recording into thought-provoking, radio-worthy art.

  4. Share - In a few seconds anyone who tunes into your automatically-created podcast channel will hear your masterpiece. It can also be shared with Facebook friends (playing on their news feed), as a Twitter update, sent via email, embedded in a web page, or heard in a RadioWeave channel.


Why make another recorder app when there are already dozens of recorder apps in Apple’s app store and Voice Memos is included by default on every iPhone?

In our RadioWeave service, which blends audio from all manner of sources, we where hearing a wide division of quality between the devoted, professional podcasters using powerful desktop software, and the field- or amateur-recorders using a simple iPhone recording device. For example, one would hear the Adam Carolla show or This American Life or Jonathan Goldstein’s WireTap, followed by a recording made with Cinch or Audioboo or our own SoundBiter, and the production quality was painfully obvious.

In reviewing the available apps for making field-recordings, man-on-the-street interviews, or simple audio-blog style podcasts, we saw that the tools were either too plain, and so produced overly-amateurish results, or much much too complicated, requiring advanced using of audio editing tools. NowHearThis sits right in the middle, providing just a very few basic, but profoundly useful, tools so that anyone is able to make a decent recording without much hassle.


NowHearThis started as a weekend hack at the San Francisco Music Hack Day a few months ago. In sharing information about our respective APIs, it struck is that with a few calls we could be retrieving tagged and labeled snippets of audio that would enhance standard recordings. It struck us that the difference between most of our recordings, and those one might here on Ira Glass’ popular This American Life show, wasn’t that they were more interesting so much as that they added short musical segments now and then to enhance whatever they just said. Through the magic of music, the mundane becomes profound. An example:

BEFORE NowHearThis: Here’s the raw audio-diary I recorded about our hack weekend. Mundane, right? I’m even boring myself.

AFTER NowHearThis: I'm not so boring anymore, am I?

Turning a weekend hack into a real product took a few months, but I think the results were worth the wait.


Now we want to hear from you. Literally. Be a radio star and broadcast to the world with NowHearThis.

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