Podcasting is a growing trend: for many it is the cornerstone of their business marketing, a way of expressing themselves, a hobby or even a source of support for their personal brand.
Not only does the content of the podcast need to appeal to the audience, but it is also essential to have a good musical background and sound effects to match, especially for the intro and the end of the podcast.
However, where these sounds come from and the quality of the sounds are of vital importance.
Here’s a guide to the best music platforms, with the advantages of each, so you can choose the one that best suits your podcast.
But first, we’ll clear up some of the doubts you probably have in mind and explain concepts that revolve around background music for podcasts.
Can I use famous music in my podcast for free?
The short answer is yes.
However, there are some consequences you should be aware of.
When it comes to music by famous artists – such as Rihanna or Bruno Mars – we are talking about music that is under copyright.
This means that, in theory, royalties must be paid each time such songs are used, because if they are used without paying, two things could happen:
- The record label that owns the rights to the music you are using claims payment for its use.
- The platform on which you have published your podcast (such as YouTube, iTunes, Amazon…) will block it without prior warning, as their algorithms will detect that you are using music without having acquired the copyright.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to avoid these problems right from the start.
How can I avoid copyright problems?
As we said, if the music you want to choose is not created by you or you don’t have permission from the record company, it is better not to use it to avoid legal problems.
Once this aspect has been clarified, you have two options for adding a musical background to your podcast:
- Use ‘Podsafe’ music.
- Use music under ‘Creative Commons’ licenses.
What is Podsafe music?
Podsafe music is royalty-free music.
Copyright is the set of rules that protect the content created by a person (in this case, songs).
Thus, royalty-free music is music for which you do not have to pay royalties or usage fees, but you pay only once, and you can use the song as many times as you want.
Although there is a monetary cost involved in acquiring this type of music, it is not usually too high, especially considering that it is the safest way to acquire and use music in your podcast.
Here is a list of the best platforms that offer Podsafe music:
Epidemic Sound is used by many world-renowned companies such as Nike or Coca-Cola, as well as most podcast creators, YouTubers and influencers to choose music to accompany their audiovisual works, as it offers a library of more than 100,000 royalty-free songs and sound effects.
As a freelancer and content creator Epidemic Sound offers you its “Personal” Plan, with which you will be able to:
- Download unlimited music with all rights included.
- Use the music for podcasts with the possibility to publish them on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok and podcast platforms.
- Select a full music track or download only the vocal or instrumental part.
- Use the music in sponsored or branded content for your own channels.
- Access the Epidemic Sound mobile app.
Please note that this plan does not allow you to use the music in digital advertisements, marketing or promotion of a company. Similarly, it does not include the use of the music independently, like in audio samples or sound libraries.
This plan, if you want to pay monthly, is priced at €13 per month. However, Epidemic Sound offers the option of paying €108 per year in advance – ie €9 per month – which is a saving of €4 per month compared to the month-to-month option.
If you are a podcasting business, Epidemic Sound also offers a plan that suits your needs: the so-called “Commercial” plan.
In addition to offering the same advantages as the “Personal” Plan, it will allow you to:
- Download unlimited music every month with all rights included.
- Use the music in online advertisements.
- Get personalized music recommendations.
The cost of this plan varies depending on whether you choose to pay monthly or pay annually in advance. If you choose the former, you will have to pay €49 each month.
However, if you opt for the annual payment, the price is reduced to €25 per month, for a total of €299 per year, giving you a saving of almost 50% on the price.
The audio tracks on Envato Elements, all of them royalty-free, exceed 90,000 and are classified both by genre (pop, ambient, electronic…) and by mood (happy, sad, melancholic…).
One of its most outstanding advantages is that, like the previous one, when you purchase a monthly subscription, you can make unlimited downloads for the whole month, without any kind of limitation.
Envato Elements only has an individual plan with a price of 14.50 € per month, through which you will have access to all the tracks in the library with new weekly tracks and the possibility of canceling the subscription whenever you wish, without putting at risk the podcasts you have already published with their music up to that moment.
This other portal has a bank of more than 8,000 music tracks, with a wide variety of musical genres that are distinguished by the filters of ‘Mood’, ‘Genre’ or ‘Instruments’.
Artlist also offers different versions of the same song, that is to say you can enjoy extended, shortened or instrumental versions, among others, to give different musical nuances to your podcast.
Although there are three different licenses available – “personal”, “unlimited” and “enterprise”-, for podcasts it is advisable to purchase the second one: “Unlimited”.
Once you choose it, you will be able to use your music anywhere and forever, without worrying about details such as whether the licenses will expire when the subscription ends.
Thus, the price of your license, unlike the previous platforms, is on an annual basis instead of monthly. The annual amount is 199€, which is equivalent to 16.60€ per month.
Finally, Audiio Audiio is a platform that offers more than 30,000 different songs and sound effects from which you can choose by “mode”, “genre”, “duration” or “instruments”.
There are three payment options: LifeTime SFX, Audiio Pro and LifeTime Music.
The most common payment option and the one most users go for is “Audiio Pro”, with which, once subscribed, you will be able to access unlimited downloads, new music tracks and sound effects daily, as well as being able to publish the podcast on any platform without risk and with the possibility of monetizing them. The price of this plan is €200 per year.
However, the “LifeTime Music” subscription plan has the same advantages as the previous plan, with the difference that, by paying a single price of €200, you will have unlimited access to the music offered by this platform for life, something that none of the previous ones mentioned above offer.
However, if the paid options are not within your means, you can always turn to free music portals.
These generally offer music that is licensed under a ‘Creative Commons’ or similar license, which means that each website can use a different type of license under certain conditions.
What does the Creative Commons license consist of?
As we have already mentioned, there are royalty-free songs that are either free or free of charge. The Creative Commons Licence corresponds to the latter.
However, the license establishes certain limitations for the reproduction, distribution, dissemination and copying of the songs.
To use these musical posts, you must comply with certain conditions, among which are:
- Attribute the music to the author, i.e. put somewhere clearly visible who the original author is and where the song was downloaded from.
- You may not modify the song or sound.
- You will not be able to use it for commercial use, that is, you will not be able to monetize your podcast.
On our website, we have an article that explains in depth how the Creative Commons Licence works.
Here is a list of the best free royalty-free music platforms:
Youtube Audio Library
The YouTube platform also offers an extensive music library.
If you access “YouTube Audio Library”, you will find a wide range of songs and sounds sorted by genre, mood and duration. Next to these tags, a download option is available.
These music tracks and background sounds are marked with the Creative Commons label, so don’t forget to mention the author on whichever platform you publish your podcast.
As in the previous platform, in Bensound you will be able to acquire songs for free with the commitment to acknowledge or credit this website.
A very important thing to bear in mind is that the use of the songs is limited to a certain type of project, such as the publication of videos on Youtube or Facebook.
It is essential to always read in detail the terms of the licenses to verify if the use you are going to give is the right one.
In CcMixter you can find thousands of music tracks of different genres, all of them also under Creative Commons license and free of charge.
This platform stands out for offering singles, mixes and arrangements of different songs. In addition, in the song search engine, as well as differences by mood or musical genre, you can also indicate the BPM (Beats Per Minute) you want the song to have.
Finally, Audionatix is another of the portals that offer royalty-free music for free and under Creative Commons licenses. Here its founder, Jason Shaw, shares his own music altruistically.
You can use all the songs from Audionautix without any problem, as long as you include the URL of the website in the place where you publish it or mention the source: “music by auidonautix.com”.
Throughout this article we have been answering the most frequently asked questions about the use of background music for podcasts: famous free music, what is copyright, why use royalty-free music?
In this way, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of choosing the type of music that will be played in your podcasts, as it will not only have an impact on the content, but will also have an impact on the reach of the podcast.
Remember that if you use free and unlicensed music, you risk your podcast being muted or blocked by the platforms you publish it on; however, if you choose royalty-free music, you don’t have to worry about anything.