How to use music in your podcast

Music has the power to transform, excite and soothe. I know I’m not the only one who can hear a song and instantly be transported back to a fond memory. I can remember when I heard the iconic Whitney Houston song “I Have Nothing” on WJLB as a teen or jamming to Jodeci at a middle school dance. That’s why I love when it’s time to add music to a clients’ podcast. When used properly, music can be an incredible asset. However, you want to consider these 5 tips:

1.Don’t break the law! – Just because you want to use your favorite song in your podcast doesn’t mean that you can. Laws dictate that you must either purchase the rights to a song or have permission from the rightsholder. And forget about that 10 second rule – you can not use music in any length that you have not purchased the rights to.

2.Use “podsafe” music – There are numerous sites and companies where you can find free music to download or purchase a license for a song such as Shutterstock, AudioJungle and SoundCloud among others. Make sure you read the fine print if a site offers free downloads (the owner may require credit in your show notes).

3.Consider reaching out to a local artist – Music is all around us. So, how about commissioning a local band or member of a choir? It’s a great way to support emerging artists while keeping your overhead down.

4.Typically podcasts use music in their INTRO and OUTRO but, don’t overlook using music as transitions between segments and topics. A signature jingle lets the listener know when your changing direction in your outline or about to bring on your guest.

5.Pick music that is aligned with the theme of your podcast. Think about the emotion you want the listener to feel as soon as they hit the play button. For example, I know it’s about to be a good time when I hear that first note of “Oh Happy Day” on The Read or that I’m about to learn something new from Radiolab.

Overall, just like every other aspect of your podcast, give music the attention it deserves. It can be an opportunity to expand your brand and make your podcast distinctive. You don’t have to break the bank to make a huge impression.

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