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Talking music today! Where are the best places to find music for podcasts? Can you use copyrighted materials in your podcast if you keep the clip under 30 seconds? And is podcast music even necessary?

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins

  • Don’t use copyrighted music in your podcast unless you have permission from whoever holds the copyrights.
  • Finding music on a free music site doesn’t mean it’s automatically legal to use in your podcast. The best way to be sure is to buy music from a reputable seller like AudioJungle.net.

Show Notes

  • 1:33 The first thing you should know is that you should not use copyrighted music in any part of your podcast unless you have permission from the rights holder. Period. It’s not ok.
  • 2:06 Ok. Now that that’s been said, here’s my list of the best places to get music for your podcast:
  1. AudioJungle.net (this is my favorite place to get affordable music for podcasts)
  2. YouTube Audio Library (the best place I’ve found for free music)
  3. SampleSwap.org
  4. Creative Commons tag on Bandcamp
  5. FreeMusicArchive.org
  6. Incompetech.com

Note: some of the songs on the free music sites will require you to give attribution (a link to the original author) somewhere on your website or in your show notes. Make sure you double check the requirements before using free music in your podcast and always give a link back if the usage license requires it.

Can I Use Copyrighted Music in My Podcast?

  • 5:56 I’m going to give it to you straight: Don’t use other people’s copyrighted music in your podcast unless you have permission to use it.
  • 6:10 The only exception is if you are discussing or critiquing that piece of music. If that’s something you plan on doing regularly, you need to read up on Fair Use and get familiar with what you can and can’t do with copyrighted music or other materials. Also, I’m not a lawyer or even an expert on fair use, so please don’t sue me for any reason at all. I’m not rich, anyways, so you wouldn’t get much.

Don’t use copyrighted music in your podcast unless you have permission from whoever holds the copyrights.

  • 7:00 You might hear other people using copyrighted materials in their podcast, but that doesn’t make it ok. Just because they haven’t got caught yet doesn’t mean they never will.

Tips for Using Music in Your Podcast

  • 7:25 1. Keep your intro music short. Don’t make the music in your intro long, especially if your show starts with music. Keep it less than 10 seconds.
  • 7:53 If you have a talking introduction before you play the music (like I do), then your music can go a little longer, but try to limit it to around 30 seconds. Even if you think your music is really great, most people are there to listen to you talk, not to listen to music. They have Spotify and Apple Music for that.
  • 8:14 2. You don’t have to use music in your podcast at all. Some of the podcasts I regularly listen to don’t have music, and it’s fine. Also, not using music in your podcast can cut down on post production time. I read an article from Paul Jarvis last week where he explains how he plans, records, edits, and publishes episodes in under an hour. (note: I said Justin Jackson in the podcast. Sorry, Paul) Not having music reduces the amount of time he has to spend in post-production, and I think that’s great for him.
  • 9:51 3. Be careful with free music. Just because you find music on a “free music” site, doesn’t mean that it’s safe to use.

Finding music on a free music site doesn’t mean it’s automatically legal to use in your podcast. The best way to be sure is to buy music from a reputable seller like AudioJungle.net.

Automating Music Volume

  • 12:48 If you want to include music in your podcast and you’re not paying for a professional radio-style intro (I’m not a fan of those, honestly), you’ll need to learn how to automate volume changes. In Garageband and Logic, you can automate volume changes in your tracks by hitting “A” and clicking to add points on the horizontal line that you’ll see overlaid on each track. This allows you to drop the volume of a music track when you start talking, or fade the music out at the end of your podcast. Here’s a tutorial on how to add automation in Logic, and one for adding automation in Garageband.

Additionally…

  • One of the seanwes members shared a story about how he used copyrighted music in his early Youtube videos and eventually had to take them down. He lost out on a lot of views because of that bad decision, so again, don’t use copyrighted materials in your stuff. He now uses a subscription service called Epidemic Sound that provides a big library of royalty free songs to creators. Prices start a $15/month, so check that out.
  • Listener Mikael wrote in to remind me that Logic Pro X comes with a ton of loops and synths, so you can totally put together a song with those. I think that’s a great idea, but I would be careful not to use the full songs that come with Logic or Garageband, as those are overused in videos and podcasts.
  • Mikael also sent links to a couple of great articles that are worth a read. Thanks Mikael!