Before you even launch the first episode of your brand new podcast, you’re going to need a bit of music. Now, as much as you love the song “Uncle John’s Band,” you’re not going to be able to use the Grateful Dead for all your podcast’s musical needs. You also aren’t going to be able to use music you’ve downloaded onto your all time favorite playlists from Apple Music, or Spotify. I mean you could, but trust me, your podcast will get pulled faster than questionable memes on FaceBook.
Money Money Money.
Unless you live “in a rich man’s world”, you’re going to have to find some alternatives to using your favorite artist in your podcast. In order to use a song from your favorite artist, or any artist for that matter, you have to obtain the right to use the song. This is done through a music license.
Music licenses are in place to ensure that the owners of the copywritten song are compensated when people use their material. These music licenses also set the terms for where, and how the song may be used.
So Where Do You Get Affordable Music?
The easiest and cheapest place to get music for your podcast is from royalty-free music libraries. Royalty-free music libraries allow the user to pay for the music license one time and use the music for as long as they like in their podcast.
The 5 best places to get royalty-free podcast music aren’t free (not to be confused with royalty-free). These libraries do cost money, but they’re affordable. Users will have to pay a monthly fee to access them, or you’ll have to buy the tracks individually.
If you’re looking for royalty-free music that is also free to use, check out this list by Buzzsprout. In addition to this list, there are many royalty free music libraries/websites where you can find music to use in your podcast at no cost to you. The Podcast Haven aren’t fans of those libraries. We’ve found that those libraries offerer a lower caliber of songs that lack production value and are poorly recorded.
The best royalty-free music libraries have a plethora of music well recorded and produced music in all the genres you ever could want, and they won’t break the bank.
Theme Music and Stingers
No matter what podcast format you choose for your podcast, you’ll most likely use some intro and outro music, aka “theme music”. This track will be placed at either end of your podcast and repeated with each episode, making it one of the easiest drop in edits of your production. You only have to cut it once and will reuse it in every episode.
Tip – When choosing intro and outro music, look for something free of lyrics.
In addition to your “theme” music, you can use “stingers” throughout your podcast to add a bit of underlying to your production. These are great for transitioning into different segments.
Stingers are short musical phrases that indicate that a transition or climax is coming. A sting can be used in any genre and royalty-free music libraries come with tons of stingers to choose from.
Typically they’ll also come with various renditions, or edits of the track you’re interested in. You’ll find 15-second cuts, 30-second cuts, and 1-minute cuts. These make your music editing a breeze!
Too Much Music?
As our friend Dave Matthews told us, he “eats too much, drinks too much, and wants too much”, but that’s okay for him because face it, he’s a rock star. You, on the other hand, have not reached that status…yet. So there is a thing as “too much”.
Unless your podcast is about music, musicals, or musicians, you’re going to want to keep a cap on how much you use. After all, your listeners are there to hear what you have to say, not what other people have used their melodious vocal chords for.
Weapon of Choice
Overwhelmed by all the music out there? It will help to know your niche and pick music that matches that niche. All of the libraries below and curated songs in all niches and genres.
If you are conducting an episode on knitting like your grandma, you are not going to want a music genre like Disturbed or Korn, unless of course grandma enjoys that and insists. (Always listen to your bubbe.)
Here are The 5 Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Podcast Music
Adobe Stock is one of the kingpins of the media world. Adobe Stock is a one-stop shop for all your music needs. You can search through thousands of songs and find the perfect royalty-free track in minutes, with advanced filtering options that will let you customize what vibe or mood it’s going to transmit. Their highly curated collections are unique and Adobe prides itself on only offering music of the highest quality.
Find the perfect track faster using the “Find Similiar Track” button. Select up to 20 seconds of any part of a song you like in their library, click, and it will play a bunch more songs that sound just like what you’re looking for. Or upload a song that you have on hand and Adobes’ algorithm will find musical matches.
There’s a 30-day free trial and then subscriptions begin at $29 a month. Get 1 free month of Adobe Spark
Pond5 If you’re looking for the perfect podcast music, you’ve come to the right place. Pick from their extensive catalog of royalty-free tracks. They offer unlimited use and worldwide distribution through all digital outlets, including YouTube licensing compatibility so you can get just what’s needed without paying extra fees.
With its search features, finding what you are looking for has never been easier. Select your desired genre, mood, or instrument to narrow down results. Pond5 also specializes in stock video footage, photos, SFX, illustrations and more.
Music tracks start at $5 and Pond5 has flexible payment options that allow you to pay per track, by credit packs, or via membership.
Storyblocks offers you not only royalty-free music, but video clips, templates, and images, and sound effects. For as low as $15.00 per month you can have access to unlimited downloads of music and sound effects. If that’s more music than you care to browse through, Storyblocks also offers a $10.00 option that allows its users to download three pieces of music a month. Yours to keep and use forever.
Offering over one million tracks and sounds to its users, Audio Jungle gives various abilities to purchase what you need. With singular tracks, music kits, and sound packs. Files are individually priced and divided up into best sellers, staff picks, and new releases, by genre. There are no free trials with Audio Jungle, but at times you may be able to find a promo to snag and use.
One of the cons to Audio Jungle is that you can only use the download for one project and that project is limited to 10,000 uses. So, although Audio Jungle have a vast selection, and a wide range of prices, starting at $1.00, you will have to keep its limitations in mind if your podcast starts to blow up and surpasses 10k downloads.
Here’s a combo option. PodcastMusic gives you the best of both worlds by offering singular purchases and subscriptions. It also allows subscriptions for multiple podcasts. PodcastMusic is cleared to be used on a bunch of podcast platforms, such as, Apple, Spotify, Google, and more.
When purchasing plans you can start as low as $10.00 a month for a single podcast with unlimited downloads. At the Producer level, you can pay $35.00 a month and have up to five podcasts on the plan. Not too shabby.
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In the end, when you’re finishing up the production of your podcast, music is an element you shouldn’t forget and definitely should not try to bypass the legalities of. There’s too much good, affordable music out there to worry about skirting the system. Whichever road you choose, whatever music you pick, from Country to Headbanger, using podcast safe music is a must when it comes to production.
We are nearing the end of our third pillar in the Four Pillars of Podcasting. Launch time is drawing near. What are your plans? Launch party? Small gathering at home? Red carpet and champagne? What should I wear? God, I hope my invite is in the mail.