Today, the world is brimming with podcasts devoted to virtually every topic under the sun. With such a vast expanse of choices on offer, crafting your podcast to stand out and attract listeners can certainly be challenging. One tried-and-true way to lend your podcast a glimmer of professionalism and quality is to load it with well-produced and catchy podcast music.
Why Podcast Music and Sound Effects?
Upon encountering this suggestion, you may ask yourself, “Why bother?” After all, if your podcast has quality information in it, isn’t that enough to reel people in?
Sadly, things aren’t quite so simple. Again, the sheer number of podcasts out there is virtually unfathomable. Even if you’re highly knowledgeable and an engaging speaker, you’ll still face stiff competition. Every single advantage that you can give your podcast—even a small advantage—can pay dividends.
So, what advantages can music add to your podcast? First and foremost, it can make your show seem like a truly professional production. How many shows do you know of that have their own theme songs? No one wants to listen to a show that sounds like it was slapped together haphazardly in someone’s basement. In the minds of listeners, a show with its own theme music already has some level of legitimacy simply because it has its own theme music.
Beyond this, there’s the memorability factor to consider. Latch a unique song onto the opening of your podcast or pepper each episode with special sound effects, and you’ll give your show a distinct identity that people will remember. The more easily casual listeners can remember you after first checking out your podcast, the more likely they’ll be to become fans. Also, the more easily your fans can remember you, the higher the chances that those fans will regularly come back for more.
In short, with all of the competition out there, how you choose to present the information on your podcast matters at least as much as the information that you choose to present. Good music and sound effects are a crucial part of every presentation.
Great Resources for Podcast Music and Sound Effects
Now that we’re agreed on the importance of having podcast music and sound effects, the obvious follow-up question concerns where and how to get some. An enormous number of resources are available that you can use here, and they fall into two broad categories: royalty-free music and music that you pay for. Each has its own advantages, and we’ll provide examples of resources for them.
Royalty-free music is music that doesn’t require you to pay royalties to the artist each time you use it. You may either use such music completely for free under a Creative Commons License or, more commonly, you simply make a one-time payment to the creator and then use the music as often as you like. This is a convenient way for people with small podcasts to get music at little to no expense while avoiding thorny copyright issues. Some resources for royalty-free music include:
- Incompetech: This is one of the older and more established sources for royalty-free music, and it remains highly popular among podcasters. Indeed, all of the music here is composed by Kevin MacLeod. As long as you remember to give credit, you should be able to use any of the hundreds of pieces here without issue.
- Free Music Archive: An obvious name for a royalty-free music site, this one remains quite popular as well. Before taking songs from here, however, take care to read the site’s FAQs. Some songs may only be used for certain specific purposes.
- Musopen: The music library at Musopen is quite large but consists predominantly of classical music. The site has a useful rating system and a 24/7 classical music streaming service, and it even offers sheet music to visitors. The music here may be especially suited for parents making podcasts about caring for newborns.
Music That You Pay For
While royalty-free music allows you to avoid the possibility of copyright infringement and is either completely free or very inexpensive, there are some who find the music selection on royalty-free sites insufficient for their needs. If you need something especially varied, it may be worthwhile to pay a monthly subscription to a music service or even to pay individually for the songs you’ll be using. Here are a few great podcast music resources that you’ll have to pay for:
- Soundstripe: Soundstripe is an excellent music service that gives subscribers unlimited access to music licenses for all of the songs in their enormous library. Currently, Soundstripe offers Standard and Premium subscriptions. The Standard Subscription costs $19 per month or $135 per year, and the Premium Subscription goes for $252 per year and includes access to more than 30,000 sound effects. Learn more information here.
- Song Freedom: Offering an annual membership for $60 per month, Song Freedom provides you with a large library of songs that you can use on your podcast.
- Neosounds: This service offers three classes of licenses for each track in their library—Standard, Extended and Premium—that provides different degrees of use rights. You can thus buy licenses for tracks according to your needs. Though licenses can be rather expensive, they provide extraordinarily high-quality music in a diverse range of styles and moods.
Podcast Music Is a Useful Tool
Remember that these options represent only a small taste of what’s available for you to spice up your podcast. The musical possibilities are truly endless and are limited only by your creativity and your needs.
Still, top-quality music is essential to having a good podcast and grabbing people’s attention. We hope that you’ll use the information provided here as a jumping-off point to find the perfect music to suit your show and your style.