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The Podcaster's Guide to Royalty-Free Music

Soundstripe Team

Apr 18, 2019



The world of podcasting has really evolved since it first gained traction as a trend in 2004. Here we are in 2019, and despite there being more podcasters than ever, Forbes is predicting that it's far from slowing down.

Competition in the podcasting industry probably is only going to keep growing. In fact, 32% of people listen to at least one podcast a month compared to 26% cited last year. Neilsen statistics show growth all across the board in terms of podcast shows being created and more people tuning in.

Basically, podcasts are a big deal. And since there are more shows out there than ever before, you really need to set yourself apart if you're going to succeed. If you're interested in starting a podcast, we seriously recommend you hop on immediately!

But for those of you that already have a podcast and are looking to get more podcast listeners, royalty free music is an easy way to do that.  

And we're not just saying that because we're all about royalty free music here at Soundstripe. First and foremost, we want to help podcasters succeed with their endeavors and the key to podcasting success is keeping your listeners interested and engaged.

Music and sound effects are a great way to add something special to your audio show, but there is a right and wrong way to go about it.

We're going to dive into the nitty-gritty of royalty free music for podcasts, including how to use music in your podcasts, some dos and donts of legal podcast music sources, and other helpful information to get you started on the right foot.

Let's get started!

Do I Really Need Music And Sound Effects?

Short answer — yes, you do! Music and sound effects can really liven up a podcast and make it seem more professional. But like we said earlier, there's a right and wrong way to use music.

Overdoing it with music and sound effects is a surefire way of getting people to tune out, so you'll want to be specific with where you choose to include music in podcasts. The style of your podcast also plays a role, so take a moment to think about things from the perspective of your audience.


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If your podcast includes interviews and is conversational, you'll want to be very selective with where you place music and sound effects. Music can be distracting under these circumstances — especially any kind of music with lyrics.

For solo shows where you're casually talking with your audience, a very subtle and low instrumental piece may work well, however.  

Podcasts that involve you telling a story can be a great opportunity to use music and sound effects to enhance the mood. The trick is to match the mood of the story with royalty free podcast music and to only do so with intention.

Throwing in random music is never a good idea and, despite what some new podcasters might think, doesn't help make the show more interesting.

As far as other parts of your show, royalty free music is perfect for intros, outros, ad breaks, and more. We have a great blog post that delves more into where to place royalty free music in podcasts that can help you get started!

Royalty Free Music For Podcasts Is King

Podcasters looking online for "podsafe" music will come across a few different types, including royalty free, Creative Commons, fair use, public domain, etc.

We're going to touch on Creative Commons and fair use below in more detail, but first we want to explain why royalty free music for podcasts is the best route.

Royalty free music is a type of music licensing agreement between you and whoever owns the rights to the track you want to buy. You essentially purchase the rights to play the music in your podcast, without having to pay royalties. (Learn more about this type of licensing process here.)

Generally, you're only going to pay for the music track once and you'll be able to use that track however and as often you'd like to.

In our case, Soundstripe provides royalty free music for podcasts for monthly or yearly pricing to customers. This means when you sign up and subscribe to our service, you'll be legally able to use any and all of our tracks without copyright issues.

Even if your podcast goes from 1,000 listeners to 100,000 (Who doesn't want that?) we'll never charge you more than anyone else to use our music library.


Unlimited royalty free music & SFX


What About Creative Commons And Fair Use Music?

If you've been searching around on the web for royalty free music for podcasts, chances are you've stumbled across some different websites with categories like Creative Commons and Fair Use.

Creative Commons is a type of open license given to all types of different media, including music. The purpose behind a Creative Commons license is to give content creators the chance to share someone else's work easily by offering clear terms.

These terms are listed as "free to use," "not for profit only," "attribution required," or whatever else the music creator desires.

Creative Commons music is a possibility, but there's always a risk that the owner of the works finds an issue with how you use their music. For that reason, we recommend you stick with royalty free music so you'll never have to worry about whether you're in the clear or not.

Fair Use is a type of copyright defined as the idea that the public is entitled to use portions of copyrighted material for "commentary and criticism."

The overall laws surrounding Fair Use is very vague. From the perspective of being a podcaster, the only legal way you'd fall under the Fair Use law would be if you included a snippet of music strictly to provide commentary on it.

Chances are you probably won't be doing this, so we recommend you steer clear and avoid a lawsuit.

Forget About The "10-second Rule" (And Other Myths)

With podcasting being a virtual thing, there's a lot of murky water surrounding what you can and can't legally do with music in your show.

Unfortunately, people that don't know any better have started some myths about ways to "get around" using music you don't own. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

One of the biggest myths is the so-called "10-second rule," which is the idea that you can include copyrighted music in your podcast so long as the clip isn't over 10 seconds long.

It's not entirely clear where this myth came from, but we can assure you that it's absolutely false. It doesn't matter if the music clip is 5 seconds long or 5 minutes long — if it's under copyright, it's illegal to include in your podcast.

Another myth is the idea of "I gave the artist credit so that counts." Nope! You're still using copyrighted music and therefore are not using the music legally.

Stick with true royalty free music for podcasts and you won't need to worry about whether what you're doing is legal or not.

The Ultimate Source Of Royalty Free Music




When you consider the winding roads of licensing, legalities, and the serious risks involved, it makes sense why so many successful podcasters stick with royalty free music.

We don't mean to toot our own horn, but here at Soundstripe we strive to deliver royalty free music in a way others don't. Finding perfect tunes for a podcast should be fun, so we make the process easy by supplying you with unlimited 100% royalty free music for in tons of genres.

You only pay one small monthly or yearly fee and we give you access to our entire library to download as many tracks as you want, whenever you want. We don't like surprise charges any more than you do, which is why we only charge a flat rate for our service.

We also know podcasters are busy individuals with a lot on their plate, so we've designed our royalty free music to easily be added to your own playlists for easy finding. You can also search our library with filters for genre, beat, instrumentals-only, and even mood!

Best of all, Soundstripe isn't just helping you with your needs for royalty free music for podcasts, but we also kick it back to our artists. Our musicians receive fair compensation for the awesome music they provide.

As a podcaster, knowing you're supporting other creative individuals is a great feeling.

We're excited to help fuel the content creator community by offering royalty free music for podcasters, whether you're new to the industry or a seasoned pro. So when you're ready to take the next step, why not check out our Music Library?

If you're as eager as we are to get started vamping up your podcast, visit the Sign Up page and join thousands of other like-minded creators using our service.

Wrapping up royalty free podcast music

To sum things up, finding royalty free podcast music doesn't have to be an impossible task. Whether it's podcast intro music for your new venture, or background music for your 100th episode, intro music and outro music and everything else is easy to find if you have the right royalty free music libraries at your disposal.

So, ditch the free music archive options with their outdated audio tracks and find royalty free music for podcasts that are the right royalty free tracks for your podcast. Trust us, once your nice background music or instrumental music tracks are on your podcasts or YouTube videos, your podcasts will truly sound like they were produced at that next level.

Further reading

Interested in reading more top resources and getting our best filmmaking tips and tricks? Here are a couple of our most popular articles from across the Soundstripe blog: