"How to Find the Best Music for Podcasts" text over cappuccino and podcast playing on iPhone

How to Find the Best Music for Podcasts

Are you starting a podcast, or editing a podcast interview? Not sure how to fill up empty space? Music can help! We’ll tell you how, and how to find the best music for podcasts.

How will music help my podcast?

Maybe you just recorded a hilarious podcast with friends, or an amazing interview for your company or publication. You’re feeling on top of the world and the material is full of substance, but the recording feels like it’s missing something.

Music is a great tool to fill in the gaps and provide ambience to your interview. Furthermore, music may utilized to fulfill a number of purposes in your podcast, all of which enhance the production quality and user experience.

Music helps accentuate the tone of your podcast’s conversation and the episode’s subject matter. When used in story-based podcasts, music enriches and forms an additional connective tissue in the narrative; filmmakers do the same thing with scoring and music placement.

Music also is used during introductions, outros, and transitions to and from commercial breaks. The podcast’s theme music may in the intro & outro, while other short musical cues signal the transitions. These common musical cues are called bumpers and stingers; click here to learn more and listen to some examples.

Regardless of what content you create, music holds the intrinsic ability to deepen and animate the universe you mold. That’s the beauty of music, and the beauty of music in the podcast sphere is limitless.

However, not all music is suitable for podcasts. Some selections work better than others, and some musical forms and technicalities work better with the format. We’ll show you how to discern the right music for you.

Headphones playing podcast audio

What kind of music works for podcasts? How do I choose the right music for my podcast?

There are a few things to consider when picking the right music for your podcast. You may need to ask yourself some hard-hitting questions, such as “What is the purpose of this” or “What is the trajectory of this work” to fully inform your musical choices.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when picking the right music for podcasts:

#1: Keep your Intro / Theme Music Consistent

This will become part of your podcast’s identity, and listeners will associate this theme music with you or your podcast. This song can be instrumental or vocal. Some creators choose to write their own, others ask composers or musicians to create an original instrumental track. Some keep it as simple as speaking over a royalty-free instrumental. You don’t have to make a Grammy-nominated track – just something the listeners will deem synonymous with your podcast.

#2: Stick to Instrumental Music

This applies to everything, except maybe your theme music. Why would you want musical vocals under your conversation? Vocals on vocals? What a mess!

Seriously, have you ever been in a group discussion and people keep talking over each other? It’s so hard to hear someone’s point of view when others keep talking over each other. At some point it becomes impossible to comprehend; you got yourself a big, gaseous cup of word soup.

Instrumental tracks prevent this kerfuffle from ever occurring. Instrumental music can be played under a voice-over, an interview, or any spoken dialogue. Choose the right genre and mood based on your needs, and edit the track in how you see fit.

Drum loops are always a great option to place under your audio. They prove to be a steady, non-intrusive background that never interferes with the rhythm or dynamic of a voice-over. Many podcasts use drums loops because of their ambience and versatility. Just make sure you have legal permission to use any royalty-free drum loop tracks.

#3: What Mood are you going for?

This all depends on what type of podcast you are producing? Are you recording a true-crime podcast? Perhaps horror orchestral tracks and sinister strings may fit. Maybe you’re doing a comedy podcast, in that case a happy, upbeat track would be more appropriate.

If you are not sure of your tone, or don’t have a specific direction you wish to lean in, I suggest using music categorized by inspirational, hopeful, and happy moods. Most successful podcasts tend to follow this route, and if they’re successful, you know they’ve gotta be doing a few things right.

#4: Keep the mix minimal

When you are putting music into your podcast, you don’t want the music to overpower and overshadow the conversation. You have to remember what the focus and center of your podcast is: your voice.

Music with busy mixes and wild audio will distract listeners from the topic at hand, and therefore detract its quality, impact, and listenership.

Music that is low-key and softly amplifies the conversation is the most powerful and most successful in acclaimed and popular podcasts. Keep your listener’s attention on YOU!

Podcast Setup at person's desk

#5: Use tracks that ascend & crescendo continuously

The editors (be it you, or someone else) have the power to cut and splice your musical selection exactly how you want it. They can cut and splice the music in a way that could elevate dramatic effect. Ultimately, you may use and edit songs however you choose (so long as you have legal permission).

What we’ve found is that music selections that slowly builds in its structure to a satisfying climax works best in the realm of podcasts. These songs, along with the storyline and conversation, start at a low level and keep the listener engaged and interested throughout the build.

These types of tracks also work well with YouTube videos and corporate videos for small businesses. They build a peaceful, refreshing atmosphere, and blossom into an exhilarating and heartening climax. Experiment using these types of musical selections in your podcasts, and see how they affect your listeners and following.

Where do I find music for podcasts?

Well, there are a few different places you can find music for podcasts. What’s most important to remember is that you have legal permission to use the music you include in your podcast. This means either composing the music yourself, obtaining the permission from the artist and/or copyright owner in writing, buying the rights to copyrighted music, or using royalty-free music.

If you are not a musician and do not have personal relations with an artist, or heaps of money to buy the rights to a popular song, then royalty-free music is the way to go.

Many royalty-free music licensing sites are out there with an abundance of tracks to you. Conveniently, we here at Soundscape are an affordable premium royalty-free music licensing site. With over 20,000 tracks in our library to choose from, Soundscape covers your every need. Click here to sign up and get 25% OFF on ALL Soundscape subscriptions! Talk about a deal!

If you’d like to take your time, you are more than welcome to sign up for a free account right here.

And there you have it, folks! We hope this article helps you on your musical & podcastical journeys! We’d love to hear your Soundscape-assisted podcast episodes. Feel free to share with us by posting links in the comments below!

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