Auto-transcribe YouTube videos and podcasts

Can you recommend a free or cheap service to do this?

Currently Readwise Reader does this for YouTube videos and I hope they bring this feature for Podcasts too. It won’t be free forever, and probably not even for much longer. Once it’s paid, I don’t know how much it’ll actually cost.

You could use an app like Downie to extract just the audio from the YouTube video. Then pipe that through a service like They have a free tier depending on how much you would use it.

A few other options:

  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Drafts
  • Auphonic: It has a built-in transcription feature now that works on both audio and video files.

I guess it depends on what you mean by “auto”? I don’t know of anything that will automatically transcribe based on a feed, but you might be able to set something up using Zapier or Make.


You can use Open Ai Whisper to transcribe an audio or video file. MacWhisper, also available on the App Store is the easiest way to implement this on your local system. I am not sure what optimizations the developer used, but it works faster that the version I downloaded from GitHub. MacWhisper has had some issues with crashing.

The disadvantage of MacWhisper is that it does not auto-format paragraphs nor does it tag different speakers.The advantage is that it is inexpensive and the data stays on your system.You can use Google Colab to run whisper, it is still free, it runs faster with GPU acceleration, but you need your data in google drive.


Have you tried Otter does provides a superior service, but it is not for free after the first 30 minutes/month. But, for a well formatted transcript, is the way to go. ChatGPT does a good job of cleaning up a whisper transcript (no speaker tagging) but is limited in the amount of text it can handle.

For my purposes, I wanted a solution where I could have Devonthink search through a transcribed podcast and find associated insights. I also wanted to Hook my obsidian notes to a transcription and the original podcast.

I ended up paying for Readwise Reader

Thank you for recommending MacWhisper. The most accurate model available in the free version is much better than Drafts on my brief testing.

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