How To Find Music For Your Podcast

Trying to figure out the kind of music you should use for your podcast is tricky. Music can set the tone for your whole podcast and it’s often the first thing your listener will hear, even before your voice. The type of music, genre, where the music goes and the websites you can get them from are all key to your podcast music choices. So here are some tips on how to find music for your podcast.

What Music Should You Use?

Firstly, you need to figure out what kind of music you want to use. There’s a lot of options out there and this step can be very overwhelming. I recommend listening to shows with a similar style to yours to get some inspiration. Many shows with similar formats or genres will use the same type of music. Upbeat and happy for interview shows. Calm and funky for shows that are more corporate. Finding out what your peers are using can be helpful to establish what sort of music you want for your own show.

When I say listen to other shows to get a sense of their music, I’m not saying you should look for the exact same track that other shows use. You should aim for something with a similar vibe, but ultimately a track that will be unique to you and your show. Or you might find that you hate what is considered the “common” music choice and opt for an entirely different sound. Ultimately the choice is up to you but this is a good place to start.

Find The Right Genre/Mood

Once you know the kind of music you are looking for, you can start to think a bit more specifically. Most music websites have their tracks divided up by genre or mood which makes the search a lot easier when it comes to picking a track.

Knowing the genre will save you time when sorting through thousands of tracks. Want something upbeat and pop? Just click those tags and browse to your heart’s content!

Another important thing to consider when thinking about the genre is to ensure that you are picking music that suits the type of show you are making. Putting a heavy hip-hop track over a show about children’s books doesn’t quite make sense. So think carefully about the genre of your show too, its target demographic, the message and feel you want to convey to your audience.

Where To Find Royalty-Free Music

So now you know what type of music you want for your podcast, where should you go to get them? There are plenty of websites out there where you can download royalty-free music . Some of these sites offer you the tracks for free, while others require different licensing or one-off fees to download. These websites have thousands of songs with hundreds of genres to choose from and are excellent resources for you to find exactly what you need. Here’s a selection of music websites we like to use:

  • Artlist

Artlist is a great resource for royalty-free music, especially if you can spare a little money to put towards your project. Downloading from this site isn’t free, there is a small fee for each download and you have to sign up for an account but it holds an endless library of music tracks and sound effects that I would highly recommend to any podcaster.

  • Free Music Archive

If you’re working to a tight budget, then the Free Music Archive is a great resource for finding free music tracks for your podcast. It is free to download from the site and all the tracks are royalty-free, but make sure you check whether any of your chosen tracks have limitations of use, as some creators who have uploaded to the site only allow for their music to be used for specific projects or under strict circumstances (ie. if they are credited, for non-commercial use, etc.)

  • Royalty Free Music

Royalty Free Music does exactly what it says on the tin and offers you a catalogue of (you guessed it) royalty-free music to choose from. On this site however you will have to buy a license to use the music that varies from track to track, but that one-off fee covers you for as much use of the music as you want.

Where To Place Music In Your Podcast

Typically most shows use music in their intros and outros and some shows use it to break up their episodes into segments. Music can be used for more than this though as it can help to create an immersive sound design that draws your audience in into the narrative. 

Creative and extensive use of music can be especially helpful in shows like audio dramas, scripted documentaries, or even shows that are heavily descriptive. This can add an extra layer of drama and atmosphere to the podcast. Music can help set scenes, build tension, and even guide your audience into how they should be feeling about certain dialogues or narratives you are presenting. Try exploring different uses and avenues for music in your podcasts and you’ll be amazed at how some extra sound design and music choices can really help the production and quality of your podcast.

Check Levels And Fade It In And Out

Now that you have chosen your music and you know how you are going to use it, now it’s time to incorporate it into your podcast. There are a few key things you can do to make sure the music sits in well with the rest of the audio, so that your podcast sounds clean and professional. Your music should fade in at the start and fade back out at the end so it isn’t jarring to the listener. Make sure the music is at the right levels, too. If the music is too loud then it will drown out the host talking. If it’s too quiet then nobody will even notice it’s there.  

Make sure to consider the general volume of your track of choice as well. If it is a good deal louder than your speaking audio it will sound very off-putting to an audience, so always raise or lower your audio accordingly, checking for any changes in volume throughout the track itself.

Overall, finding the right music for your podcast can be tough but once you find that perfect track your show instantly becomes better to listen to, easier to brand, and all the pieces fall into place leaving you with an amazing and professional-sounding end product.

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At The Podcast Studios we work with companies, organisations, and individuals to help them tell their stories in audio form. If there is any part of your podcast journey that needs a professional touch, from start to finish, get in touch today by contacting us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.thepodcaststudios.ie

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