Music can add life and personality to your content, which could be the difference in a listener deciding to press play again. However, it can be tricky to navigate which music you have the rights to use. When it comes to commercial music, our official stance is to avoid it (read more about that here).
However, there are musical resources you can use to make your audio pop, all with varying degrees of cost and attribution. Here are some of the most reliable options.
Free music resources
There are plenty of free music resources out there to use in your podcast. This is a great option if you're just getting started. But remember, if you can access it for free, so can everyone else. You may run into someone using similar — or even the exact same — music as you.
YouTube Audio Library: Search through thousands of tracks and sound effects within your YouTube studio.
CreativeCommons.org: This is a resource to search a database of free music under a Creative Commons license.
Pixaby: Yes, the database for free photography also offers music for free use.
Note: While these resources offer free music, the artists will often require attribution or have stipulations on how the music can be edited and distributed. Always double check if and how the producer of that piece wants to be accredited for their work.
Purchasing the license to music will set you apart from other podcasters. Using royalty-free music ensures that you can use the track multiple times with a one-time purchase — rather than paying per use. Depending on your needs, it may be better to purchase a piece once or to subscribe to a licensing website. Here are some popular options:
One-time purchase: If you host just one podcast and plan to use one or very few tracks for your intro, outro, and background music, a one-time purchase might be your best option. You can browse royalty-free catalogs for purchase and download at sites such as NEO Sounds and Shutterstock.
Subscription-based: If you produce multiple podcasts or wish to use different background music for each episode, we suggest subscribing to a royalty-free music provider. Epidemic Sound has an expansive library and offers unlimited downloads with its paid accounts.
Note: Acast podcasters can save 30% on most monthly subscriptions from Epidemic Sound with code acastepidemicsound2021 (code expires December 31, 2021)
The best way to ensure the music on your podcast is totally unique and available to use however you wish is to have custom-made music commissioned by a professional. Obviously, this will be the most expensive option so may not be for everyone. However, many podcasters will take this route so they know their music stands out and fits their aesthetic precisely.
You can find freelance composers quickly on sources like Fiverr and Upwork who will offer custom-made tracks at various levels of attribution and cost. Alternatively, you may find that the best resource for professional podcast music is to ask the community. Reach out to fellow podcasters, YouTubers, or other creators and see who they’ve worked with in the past. Word of mouth can go a long way.
Podcasting, being the audio medium that it is, depends on so many elements and great music is just one of them. We can't wait to see what you create.