Where to Legally Get Music for Your Podcast

Dear future/ up and coming podcasters, music is a universal language that everyone can understand. Some even believe that it is actually the language of the soul, so it makes sense why using music in a podcast is a popular thing. It adds a great value to both of the podcaster and the listener. 

However, some people do not know about or struggle with understanding what copyrights is. So, where can you get music for your podcast without getting sued for using something that is not yours?

There are many sites that you could check out to legally get music for your podcast. Some will fall under the creative commons license, where attribution to the artist is required ( like The Free Music Archive). Other sites will give you the license for a one-time fee ( like Audio Jungle).

To learn more about the different copyright licenses for music and to have a wider variety of options to pick your music from, continue reading this blog post.

Where to get music for a podcast?

Before I tell you where you can get music for your podcast, let me talk about why your podcast should have some music in it in the first place. Adding music to your podcast’s opening, outro, and during segment transitions are going to up your podcasting game. Here is why!

Where to legally get music for your podcasts- A doodle of a person listening to music and feeling happy

Like we have mentioned earlier in this post, music is considered to be the language of the soul. You do not have to study music to understand whether the track is upbeat and happy, or sad and gloomy.

Music has the power to change people’s moods, which is why many people resort to it when they are extremely sad or very happy.

The reason why most podcasts play a music track during its opening is to excite the audience and prep them to get in the mood of listening to and enjoying their favorite podcast.

But, how is a fifteen-second track of music played in the podcast’s opening going to get your audience a bit more excited?

Well, our brain loves connecting two different things together, especially when the trigger is something that strongly affects some of your senses like hearing, smelling, and sight.

Let us assume that you have someone who has listed to your podcast a couple of times, and they have become a fan of yours. This means that they have now associated the theme song with your content, so whenever they hear that catchy tune, they will immediately think of you and your content.

This little connection is going to elevate your listener’s experience significantly because they will feel so happy that they are doing something that they like, which is listening to your podcast.

If you are still having a hard time recognizing this reality, then let me show you another example.

Go back to your childhood and think about your favorite cartoon. Can you still recall what the theme song was? Do you remember what you had felt when the theme song started playing? You were probably all over the moon because your favorite cartoon was about to begin.

That situation from your childhood is not that different from the one regarding podcasts. Sure, the emotion is not as strong. However, it is still there. And that is the power of music!

But, can you just pick any music that you want and play it for your audience? Is that legal, and where are you allowed to get those tracks from?

All of these are great and important questions, so let us start answering them without any further ado.

Can you pick any music you want and play a short snippet of it in your podcast?

No, you can not just take a part of your favorite song or a part of the song that you think has the perfect energy for your podcast’s theme. Why? Because when a creator creates and uploads music, it becomes copyrighted.

Where to legally get music for your podcasts- Scale of justice

Using someone else’s work without having a license or permission to do so, then you are putting yourself at risk of getting sued.

So if you are using a song that is not in the public domain, a song that you did not get permission to use, or if you have not paid to use, then I highly recommend that you go remove it from your episodes and that you stop doing so.

It is illegal to use someone else’s work. Sometimes, the act of attributing the artist is not enough.

So, what is the solution?

To win the system, you should understand it. Today, I will be talking about three different “copyright” laws that will enable you to add music tracks to your podcast.

PS: I am not a lawyer. The information I am sharing with you comes from hours and hours of research. I highly recommend you do a bit of research yourself as well, or at least check out my sources. 

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, then feel free to email me at podcastingdiaries@gmail.com, and I will send you more resources that you can check out.

These three copyright laws or licenses are:

  1. Public Domain
  2. Creative Commons License ( CC license)
  3. Royalty-free music

What is public domain and where to get public domain music for a podcast?

What is public domain?

Public domain is a term that represents creative works that no one currently has rights to them. We now know that whenever something is published, it is copyrighted. So how come some original works are not copyrighted? Why don’t their creators have ownership of their work?

Where to legally get music for your podcasts - Public Domain

Great question. Creative works that are public domain were typically copyrighted once upon a time. However, those rights could have gotten expired, waived, or even fortified.

In a nutshell, creative works are in public domain either because their term of copyrights has expired, or because they were never copyrighted in the first place ( like original works that were published long before copyright laws existed).

For example, Shakespeare’s work is public domain, which means when any of the movie adaptations were made, which means that no money was given to Shakespeare’s lineage ( cause he is dead).

PS: There are no direct descents of Shakespear who are currently living today.

Where to get public domain music for a podcast?

So, where can you get some public domain tunes for your podcast? Well, there is the Free Public Domain site ( freepd.com) and Free Music Archive ( freemusicarchive.com ).

So the two of the public domain music sites that you can use to get some tunes for your podcast are:

  1. Free Public Domain site ( freepd.com)
  2. Free Music Archive ( freemusicarchive.com ) 

Do you not like any of the music that is available on any of these public domain sites? Well, you can check out music that falls under the creative commons license.

What is a creative commons license and where to get creative commons music for a podcast?

What is creative commons?

The Creative Commons; aka, CC, is actually a non-profit organization that is international. It exists to provide free licenses that any sort of cont creators can use while publishing their work or when they make it public.

Where to legally get music for your podcasts - Creative Commons License

This license that the creative commons (CC) provides them for free allows the creator to give other creators permission to use their work under the conditions that the primary creator sets!

So whenever some sort of content is created, whether it is a book, an article, a song, or a movie, it is automatically copyrighted and protected. This means that this protection is going to prevent other creators from using someone else’s work in a certain way.

I recall having an account on a poetry site where people can write and share their own poetry, enter contests, and comment on each other’s work.

What captured my attention about that site is that whenever I published a new poem or read someone else’s poetry, there was always either copyrights sign next to the date of poem publication and the writer’s name! 

The reason why I am bringing this up is that this poetry website has subtly displayed that just because this was posted on the internet, it does not mean that it is public domain.

Yes, other websites do not usually display that; however, that person’s work is still copyrighted, and they might be able to sue you if you decide to take their work and make a profit off of it even if it was from a small blogger.

Under the Copyright law of 1976, which went into affect in 1978, any work created in a fixed form is protected by copyright upon creation.– Copyright Law of 1976

But what exactly does the creative commons license do? 

The Creative Commons license gives the content creator the power of choosing how they want other creators to use their work.

When content creators publish their work under the Creative Commons License ( the CC license), the public has guideline regarding how they are allowed to use the content of the original creators and what they are not allowed to do.

This way, people only have to reach out to a content creator for permission when they want to use the creator of the original creator in a way that was not mentioned or for something that is not permitted by the Creative Commons License ( CC license).

Where to get music that is under the Creative Commons license for a podcast?

So, where can you get some music that is under the creative commons license ( CC license) for your podcast? Well, there is Youtube’s Audio Library, where when you click on a track, you will be able to know what required attributions are.

Where to legally get music for your podcasts- Music Notes

There is also the Silverman Sounds Studio ( silvermansound.com), Audio Nautix ( audionautix.com), and Tim Beak ( timbeek.com) who offers music that under the creative commons license and music that is royalty-free.

PS: Make sure you read the frequently asked questions of any site you visit to understand how you can credit the creators on your podcast. For example, Tim Beak from ( timbeek.com), wants the attribution to be mentioned at the end of a podcast’s episode.

So, three of the music sites that allow you to get music that is under the Creative Commons license ( CC license) for your podcast are:

  1. Silverman Sounds Studio ( silvermansound.com)
  2. Audio Nautix ( audionautix.com)
  3. Tim Beak ( timbeek.com)

What is royalty-free and where to get royalty-free music for podcasts?

What is royalty-free/ royalty-free music?

The term “royalty-free” is often used to describe the content( like pictures, video footage, and music) that people search for to use in their personal and commercial work. 

Where to legally get music for your podcasts- Royalty-Free

However, unlike work that is under the Creative Commons license ( Creative Commons license), one must pay for royalty-free content.

Sometimes, you only have to pay a one-time fee to be able to legally use another person’s work in your personal or commercial projects. Other times, the payment is made in the form of a monthly or a yearly subscription.

When it comes to music, many composers, artists, and companies do not like the royalty-free music as a term because they do not really believe that royalty-free music exists.

They believe that even if some has paid what is considered to be a one-time fee ( which they consider it to be a synch fee or an initial fee) so that they can use in their projects, those people should still pay royalties for each musical performance.

These royalties should go to PRO, also known as Performing Rights Agencies, like ASCAP and BMI.

This means that a lot of the companies/ sites that claim that they seel royalty-free music actually aren’t. However, some companies and websites actually sell royalty-free music.

That is why it is crucial that you do your research and read the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) of a site before you purchase some music that has referred to as royalty-free.

Where to get music that is royalty-free for a podcast?

So, where can you get some music that is royalty-free for your podcast?

Well, there is Machinima Sound ( machinimasound.com), Audio Jungle (audiojungle.net), Jamendo ( jamendo.com), Foximusic ( foximusic.com), and Tim Beak ( timbeek.com) who offers music that under the creative commons license and music that is royalty-free.

So, five of the music sites that you can get royalty-free music from are:

  1. Machinima Sound ( machinimasound.com)
  2. Audio Jungle (audiojungle.net)
  3. Jamendo ( jamendo.com)
  4. Foximusic ( foximusic.com)
  5. Tim Beak ( timbeek.com) 

Other questions related to where to get music for a podcast

What does a creative commons license mean?

If something is registered under the creative commons license, it can be used by creators for free when they are publishing their work to the public. However, creative commons licensed content is protected by copyrights. Usually, you do not have to contact the creator for permission, but you must attribute them. 

Make sure to read and implement what is required from you when using a particular content that is under the creative commons license.

What does royalty-free music mean?

To simplify it, royalty-free music is often referred to getting the legal right to use someone else’s music to use in your projects by paying a one time fee. However, there is controversy surrounding this term because many of the composers, artists, companies that own these tracks believe that they deserve to get royalties as well.

Can I use music from the billboard top 100 in my podcast?

You might be asking this question because you have heard of how you can use short clips from someone else’s work ( ten, fifteen, or thirty seconds) in your content for free thanks to Fair Use; however, the answer is no! Copyright law is complicated, and that sort of applications of fair use is nothing but a myth, especially when it comes to music.

How Much Does Creating A Podcast Cost?

It is possible to create and launch a podcast without spending any money, but investing in your content later on matters. Generally speaking, creating a podcast could potentially cost you anywhere between nothing at all and a few thousand dollars.

The total cost depends on what equipment and software you use, your hosting fees, and other services you might need.

If you want to read about this in more details, then read my How Much Does Creating A Podcast Cost blog post.

Podcasts vs. Youtube: What’s the Difference?

A podcasting platform allows content creators to share their messages with their audience via audio, while YouTube is a platform that enables content creators to share their messages with their audience via audio and video.

To learn more about this topic, check out my Podcasts vs. Youtube: What’s the Difference blog post.

Podcasts Vs. YouTube: Which Platform to Start With?

There is no one direct answer to that question because it mostly depends on what you are planning to offer to the audience throughout these platforms. If you are great at storytelling and delivering information without relying on using visuals, then you should probably start a podcast.

If you want to learn more about this, then check out my Podcasts Vs. YouTube: Which Platform to Start With blog post.

That’s it for today’s post. If you have more questions regarding where you can legally get music for your podcast, then feel free to email me at  podcastingdiaries@gmail.com

My Sources

Till next time,

Ayah

Ayah Assem

I am a creator and a consumer of many forms of artistic content. With podcasting leaving its mark and declaring its significance in the current content world, I have decided to learn everything related to how to create a podcast. Who knows, maybe in the near future I will start uploading and sharing my creative work in the audio format. Join me on my journey of understanding the podcasting world, as I will be sharing with you all of the information that I am going to learn. Feel free to share with me your podcasting journey at podcastingdiaries@gmail.com and keep an eye on all of the music, books, podcasts, movies, tv shows, and YouTube channels that I always reference.

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