Royalty Free Music Enhances Podcasts

You have a show, you set up the RSS feed, you recorded a couple episodes and you find it ok. Now it’s time to spruce it up with intros and other music. But what do you use for music?

Of course, you can’t just rip any song off the radio or internet to use in your podcast. Well, you can, but then get ready for either a takedown notice, or ASCAP to come and demand money for the use.  If you are only getting 20 people listening and making no money off it, something like that may turn you off to podcasting altogether.

Fear not! There are ways you can get music on your show without shelling over big bucks.

Royalty Free Music

Using Royalty Free music to enhance your podcast

Royalty Free Music – What is it?

Royalty free music is music that usually has a very limited copyright to it. Usually a Creative Commons by Attribution. This means you can use the work for whatever project (podcast, tv show, movie) as long as you credit the source. A lot of times, this type of music is free, because the artist is trying to get their name out there.

Some music is 100% free, and would be concidered CC no Attribution. Usually, you pay for the tracks, and It’s still a good idea to mention it in credits at the end of your show, though.

One more caviat to watch for. There is Royalty free music that is concidered NoDeriv. That means you cannot alter the tune in any way. Otherwise, they can come after you for violation.

So Royalty Free Music May Not be 100% Free? Even if I Paid for It?

You are correct sir!… er… Ma’am.

Some royalty free work is concidered “non-commercial”. That means if your podcast makes no money from it, then you can use their music. If you start making money (even a penny), the show becomes a commercial asset.

So Where Can I Get 100% Royalty Free Music?

Audio Wave

Audio Wave

There are many places you can find this music. If you go online, you can find websites that offer music for a yearly fee. Watch out, though. Once your year is up, you might lose all rights to make any new shows with that music.

There are other sites where you can purchase per audio file. A great source is Pond5. They not only have great audio tracks, but also photos, video and after effects projects. You can definitely pump up your libraries for audio and video podcasting with Pond5.

Get Audio Tracks at Pond5

I have found the best resource to be at You can purchase many titles of Royalty Free music for as little at .99 cents a track. For $8.99 a title, you can get a whole album of songs, snippets (for intros) and more.

Get Royalty Free Music on Amazon

What About Sound Effects?

Yes, Sound effects can also be commercial works, and Royalty free. You need to read their copyrights before you use them. Remember: Ignorance is no excuse.

Along with albums on music, you can also get royalty free albums of sound effects.

Creating Your Own Music – GarageBand

One great thing about GarageBand, or any music editing software, is they come with samples that are royalty free. A lot of DJ’s use the GarageBaand sounds to create new tracks and beats. You can easily use that to make intros and pass-throughs.

Of course, if you make your own music, you can use it however you choose. You CANNOT just play a copyrighted song and say it’s royalty free. If you play “Jesse’ Girl” on the guitar, Rick Springfield could come knocking at your door (at least the record label that represents Springfield will).

Once You Buy Royalty Free Music

Figure out where and how you are going to use it. For example, if you have a nightly news podcast, you may have downloaded news intro music. Of course, that is going to be put right before you start talking.

Some music you may use as a pass-through. It shows up when you are going to take a break and move to another topic or sponsor.

Then there is music that will be played in the background as you speak. Keep in mind the sound levels – otherwise, the music may drown out your voice.


With all this in mind, you should be ready to put some great tracks behind your show. Have fun with it and hopefully it will bring more listeners and viewers to your show.

ADDED: 7-20-12 15:26

Thanks to Trace Dominquez (@trace501) for suggesting a Free Source for music – The sound files are free with the proper attribution, found on their FAQ page.

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