Are you creating an audiobook and do you need to put background music or sound effects on it?
Great, because in this article we will explain everything you need to know: where and how to get the songs and what licenses you need so that everything falls within the legality, whatever your country is.
Background music in an audiobook is usually used on:
- The book’s introduction
- Small introductions to each chapter
- Playout at the end of the book or chapters
- To improve or emphasize certain parts of the story or dialogue
The first thing we need to know is that for a digital product -audiobook or podcast for example- that will later be for sale to the general public, we will never be able to use free music.
And why is that?
Because free music on the Internet is under Creative Commons licenses, which allow us to use such songs as long as the use is strictly personal and not used in any product in which the author can get an economic return.
That said, the royalty-free music market has several platforms to acquire very easily and cheaply the licenses that we need.
Where to find music?
The best-known marketplace is called Envato Elements.
On Elements, we can find more than 90,000 royalty-free songs of all kinds, classified by genres (rock, pop, ambient, electronic, classical…) and by mood (happy, sad, melancholic, for children…), something that will facilitate us the task of finding those songs that best suit our story.
Depending on the theme of the audiobook or the sensations that you want to create, different audio backgrounds can help the listener to get even more involved with the story.
You must choose the environmental pieces that underline the events in the particular chapter or portray the general mood of the novel or story.
This type of music is specially created to be background music, therefore most of them don’t have any type of lyrics incorporated and they are designed in such a way that they leave sound-space to be able to put a voice on top of them.
The good thing about this platform is that it has a powerful search engine and an adequate song organization, thanks to which we can listen to small pieces of different songs until we find the one we like.
The next essential feature is that we will be able to download all the songs that we want without any limit.
What license do I need?
Elements does not work under individual licenses, but with a $16.50 monthly subscription. You will have access to its entire catalog, which includes:
- Access to all tracks
- New tracks added every week
- Unlimited downloads
- Unlimited usage
- No copyright claims or royalty fees
- Cancellation at any time
In order to acquire sound effects, you can look for them in the category ‘Sound Effects‘ in the Audiojungle marketplace.
Contrary to music for podcasts or radio reproductions, most of the time audiobooks only have the voice of the reader. Sometimes, they add a short introduction to the prologues or individual chapters, but apart from that, the most the listener can do is concentrate on the voice that reads the lines.
This is done on purpose not to distract you from the story and the events of the book: there is only one voice to listen to, no background noises, no music. Sometimes, this can be disconcerting and can result in the listener losing its concentration.
When it comes to improving our audiobook experience by adding environmental sounds or appropriate music, it is good to know that there are marketplaces such as Envato Elements that make it easier to search for the perfect background song.