The ultimate guide to finding music for your podcast

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – finding music to use on your podcast can be a nightmare, especially if you’re a new podcaster.

I’m not going to go into depth on the legal situation here, because it really is complex. But you can’t just use something in the charts, or something someone else has posted on YouTube, or a remix of a song you like. Pretty much everything is covered by copyright, and so you need to get clearance to use it, and that’s expensive and likely to be a long process.

If you’ve heard someone mutter something about ‘fair use’ meaning you’re OK to just use a few seconds, forget it. It’s a myth.

If you haven’t checked it out yet – have a listen to our Pod Almighty episode on this very topic:

So, enough about what you can’t use. What CAN you use?

Well basically you’ll need something you own a licence for. Sounds a bit daunting right? Years ago it really was, but nowadays it’s much much simpler.

Today we’re going to look at two main routes to doing this:

The off-the-shelf option

You need a new t-shirt, you go into a shop, find a t-shirt you like, buy it and wear it. You’ve bought the t-shirt, so it’s all above board.

The theory is essentially the same with what I’m calling ‘off the shelf’ websites. These are sites which offer music tracks you can pay a one-off fee to licence and use on all your podcast episodes.

Prices vary and the terms of licences also vary, so it’s important to check before you go ahead and buy. Most basic licences will cover use on your podcast for say the intro and outro, but if you also post episodes to YouTube, that might mean a more expensive licence. If you’re planning on reading out a sponsor message over the music, that could be commercial use which might need a different licence type. Just take a bit of time to check and be sure you’re covered.

Some sites actually offer free music tracks in return for a credit in your show notes, which is really handy if you’re working with little to no budget.

What are the downsides to this approach? Well, it’s possible that several other podcasts are also using the same music. There’s no ‘exclusivity’.

It’s also quite time consuming. Finding the perfect track is a bit ‘needle in a haystack’ as there are literally THOUSANDS of them to go through. But if you have the patience, it’s a good, cost-effective route to go down.

So what sites should you use? Well these are the two I recommend to my own clients. They have plenty of choice, sensible licencing arrangements, and are fairly priced.

Premium Beat: https://www.premiumbeat.com/royalty-free/podcast-music
Audio Jungle: https://audiojungle.net/category/all

I realise you might want to check out the free options too. I’ve listed four below which have good reputations. They all have slightly different ‘requirements’ for what you need to do to be allowed to use their music, so please read through the information carefully

Free Music Archive: https://freemusicarchive.org/home
Silverman Sound Studio: https://www.silvermansound.com/
Incompetech: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/charts
Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/music/

The bespoke option

You need a new t-shirt, you ask someone who makes t-shirts to make you one. You tell them what you want, they make it, you wear it. It’s exactly what you want. It’s the only t-shirt of its kind and you own it, so no-one else can wear it.

I think you get the drift here. The bespoke route is where you get someone to make you a music track to your own specification.

You’ll go through a briefing process with them to outline exactly what it is you’re after. How long, what style, any voiceover wording you want on it, etc.

The finished result is yours all yours – no risk of any other podcasts having the same music. And it should be bang on what you were after, without hours of listening through tracks to find the right one.

The downside? You’ve probably guessed the main one. This is a more expensive option. It’ll also take a while for them to go through the creation process, so you need to have plenty of lead time.

There are dozens of places you could go for this kind of service. I’m going to highlight two here.

Firstly, on the Pod Almighty episode above, we spoke to Rob Wills, owner of Loaded Production Music and 4udio, who make music and imaging for podcasters, radio and TV. To find out more about their services, visit https://loadedproductionmusic.com/

Secondly, well… it’s us. I know, I know, this is all starting to sound like an advert now isn’t it?! But, here’s the deal – Sound Media has just launched a new bespoke music service. We’ve been looking for a while to find the right team of producers who can create what our clients want, at the right price, and now we’ve found them.

There are two package options:

Pro – a music bed to your specification, which can include a professional voiceover at no extra cost

Advanced – the music bed as in the Pro package, plus three bespoke ‘jingles’ with voiceover to use within your show for features or to announce things like your social media handles.

But as we’re managing all this inhouse, we’re able to configure things to exactly what you want. So if you’d like a main music bed, but then some shorter or remixed versions, we can do that. Or maybe you want a few variations on a similar bed for different shows within a network? That’s cool with us.

The service includes a full briefing stage and you’ll be kept up to date with the progress of your project right the way through. I said it was important that it came in at the right price and that’s true – packages start at just £125.

Want to give it a try? Just drop us a message and we’ll fix up a chat.