how to play music on your podcast


Music has the incredible power to captivate emotions, set the mood, and create a memorable experience. It has been an integral part of human culture for centuries, and today, it plays a significant role in various forms of media, including podcasts. Whether you are a seasoned podcaster or just starting your podcasting journey, understanding how to effectively incorporate music into your podcast can elevate its overall quality and make it more engaging for your audience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of podcast music, exploring the benefits of incorporating music into your episodes and providing you with practical tips and techniques to seamlessly integrate music into your podcasting workflow. From understanding copyright laws and licensing to choosing the right music for your podcast and adding it using editing software, we will leave no stone unturned in helping you create a podcast that resonates with your listeners.

The Importance of Music in Podcasts

Imagine listening to a podcast without any music. It would feel dull, lacking energy and emotion. Music has the ability to connect with listeners on a deeper level, evoking emotions, enhancing storytelling, and creating a more immersive experience. It can be used to introduce segments, set the tone, create transitions, or even amplify the impact of important messages.

Moreover, incorporating music into your podcast can help establish your brand identity and make your show more recognizable. Just like a jingle sticks in our minds, a well-chosen piece of music can become synonymous with your podcast, attracting new listeners and fostering a sense of familiarity among your existing audience.

Benefits of Adding Music to Your Podcast

Beyond the emotional and branding aspects, there are several practical benefits to adding music to your podcast. Firstly, music can serve as a powerful tool to grab your listeners’ attention right from the start. A catchy intro with a well-crafted musical backdrop can immediately hook your audience and entice them to keep listening.

Additionally, music can help maintain engagement throughout your podcast episode. By carefully selecting music that complements your content, you can create a cohesive and immersive listening experience. Music can also help bridge gaps between different segments or topics, making the transitions smoother and more enjoyable for your audience.

Furthermore, using music strategically can enhance storytelling and create a more dynamic narrative. Just like in movies, music can heighten suspense, evoke nostalgia, or emphasize comedic moments. By leveraging the emotive power of music, you can effectively convey the intended message and create a lasting impact on your listeners.

In the following sections, we will explore the intricacies of using music in your podcast, starting with understanding copyright laws and licensing, and then moving on to selecting the right music, adding it to your podcast using editing software, and implementing best practices to ensure a seamless integration of music into your episodes. So let’s dive in and unlock the potential of music in your podcasting journey!

Understanding Copyright Laws and Licensing

When it comes to using music in your podcast, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of copyright laws and the various licensing options available. Copyright laws are in place to protect the rights of creators and ensure fair compensation for their work. As a podcaster, it is essential to respect these laws and obtain the necessary permissions or licenses to use copyrighted music legally.

Copyright Basics

Copyright is a legal framework that grants exclusive rights to the original creators of various forms of artistic and intellectual works, including music. This means that any music you come across, whether it’s a popular song or an independent artist’s composition, is most likely protected by copyright. As a general rule, you cannot use copyrighted music in your podcast without obtaining proper authorization.

To legally use copyrighted music in your podcast, you have two primary options: obtaining permission from the copyright holder or utilizing music that is specifically licensed for podcast use. Let’s explore the different types of music licensing available for podcasters.

Types of Music Licensing

  1. Public Domain Music: Public domain music refers to music that is not protected by copyright or whose copyright has expired. This type of music is free to use, modify, and distribute without seeking permission. However, it’s important to note that the rules regarding public domain music can vary depending on your country’s copyright laws. It’s always advisable to research and ensure that the music you want to use falls within the public domain.

  2. Royalty-Free Music: Royalty-free music is a popular choice for podcasters as it allows for the use of music without the need to pay additional royalties or licensing fees. Once you purchase a royalty-free music license, you can use the music in your podcast without any recurring costs. However, it’s crucial to carefully read the licensing terms to ensure that the music is suitable for podcast use and that you comply with any attribution requirements.

  3. Creative Commons Licenses: Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a type of licensing that allows creators to grant specific permissions for the use of their work. These licenses typically offer a range of options, from allowing free use of the music with proper attribution to more restrictive terms. There are various CC licenses available, so it’s important to understand the specific requirements of each license before using the music in your podcast.

  4. Sync Licensing: Sync licensing refers to obtaining permission to synchronize music with visual or audiovisual content. This type of license is commonly required when using commercial music in your podcast. Sync licensing can be a complex process, as it involves negotiating with the copyright holder or their representatives and potentially paying licensing fees. It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional or music licensing agency if you plan to use commercial music in your podcast.

Now that we have explored the different types of music licensing, let’s move on to the next section, where we will discuss how to find copyright-free music resources for your podcast.

Finding Copyright-Free Music Resources

Now that we understand the importance of respecting copyright laws and licensing, it’s time to explore the various resources available for finding copyright-free music for your podcast. Fortunately, there are numerous websites and platforms that offer a wide array of music options specifically designed for podcasters.

Websites Offering Royalty-Free Music

  1. AudioJungle: AudioJungle is a popular marketplace where you can find a vast collection of royalty-free music tracks, sound effects, and audio logos. It offers a wide range of genres and styles to suit different podcast themes and moods.

  2. Epidemic Sound: Epidemic Sound is a subscription-based platform that provides high-quality music tracks and sound effects for podcasters, YouTubers, and content creators. With a user-friendly interface and a vast library of music, Epidemic Sound offers a convenient solution for finding the perfect music for your podcast.

  3. Artlist: Artlist is another subscription-based platform that offers a diverse selection of royalty-free music tracks. It provides an intuitive search feature, allowing you to filter music by genre, mood, instruments, and more. Artlist also offers a lifetime license for the music you download during your subscription period, ensuring that you can continue using the music even after canceling your subscription.

  4. Free Music Archive: Free Music Archive is a platform where you can find a vast collection of music that falls under various Creative Commons licenses. It offers a mix of independent and underground artists, making it a great resource for discovering unique and eclectic music for your podcast.

Creative Commons Music Platforms

  1. ccMixter: ccMixter is a community-driven platform where musicians upload their music under Creative Commons licenses. It allows you to search for music based on specific licensing terms, making it easy to find music that aligns with your podcast’s requirements.

  2. Jamendo: Jamendo is a platform that provides a wide selection of music under Creative Commons licenses. It offers a user-friendly search function and allows you to filter music by genre, mood, and popularity. Jamendo also offers a licensing service for commercial use if you require music for monetized podcasts.

  3. SoundCloud: SoundCloud is a popular platform for independent musicians to share their music. While not all music on SoundCloud is available under Creative Commons licenses, many artists allow their music to be used in podcasts as long as proper attribution is given. It’s important to check the licensing terms for each track before using it in your podcast.

Hiring a Composer or Musician

If you have specific music needs or want a more personalized touch for your podcast, hiring a composer or musician can be a great option. Working with a composer allows you to have custom-made music tailored to your podcast’s theme and style. You can find talented composers and musicians on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, where you can collaborate with them to create original music that perfectly complements your podcast.

With these resources at your disposal, you have a wide range of options to find copyright-free music for your podcast. Remember to always read and understand the licensing terms and give proper attribution when required. Now that you have a library of copyright-free music, it’s time to move on to the next section, where we will discuss the process of choosing the right music for your podcast.

Choosing the Right Music for Your Podcast

Selecting the right music for your podcast is crucial as it sets the tone, enhances the storytelling, and creates a cohesive listening experience for your audience. When choosing music, it’s important to consider your podcast’s theme, target audience, and the emotions you want to evoke. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when selecting the perfect music for your podcast.

Defining Your Podcast’s Tone and Style

Before diving into the world of music selection, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your podcast’s tone and style. Are you aiming for a lighthearted and comedic vibe, or is your podcast more serious and informative? Defining your podcast’s tone will help you narrow down the music choices that align with your overall vision.

Consider the genre, instrumentation, and tempo that best reflect the mood you want to create. For example, if you have a true crime podcast, you might opt for dark, suspenseful music with eerie soundscapes. On the other hand, if you host a motivational podcast, uplifting and energetic music might be more suitable. The key is to find music that complements your content and creates the desired atmosphere.

Considering Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is essential when selecting music for your podcast. Consider the demographics, preferences, and interests of your listeners. What kind of music resonates with them? Are they more likely to appreciate classical compositions or modern pop tracks?

By aligning your music choices with your target audience’s preferences, you can create a deeper connection and enhance the overall listening experience. Conducting audience research, engaging with your listeners through surveys or social media, and analyzing feedback can provide valuable insights into the type of music that will resonate with your audience.

Matching Music to Podcast Segments

Different segments of your podcast may require different types of music to effectively convey the intended message and create a seamless flow. Consider the specific segments or topics within your episodes and choose music that enhances each section.

For example, if you have a storytelling segment, you might want to select music that complements the narrative and helps immerse your listeners in the story. On the other hand, if you have an interview segment, you might opt for more subtle background music that doesn’t overpower the conversation.

By matching the music to the specific segments, you can create a more dynamic and engaging listening experience for your audience.

Selecting Music Genres and Moods

The genre and mood of the music you choose can greatly impact the overall ambiance of your podcast. Consider the emotions you want to evoke in your listeners and select music that aligns with those feelings.

For example, if you want to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere, instrumental tracks with soothing melodies and gentle rhythms may be suitable. If you’re aiming for an energetic and upbeat vibe, incorporating lively and rhythmic music can help achieve that effect.

Experiment with different genres and moods to find the perfect balance that complements your podcast’s content and engages your audience.

Evaluating Music Quality and Production Value

While selecting music that aligns with your podcast’s theme and style is important, it’s equally essential to consider the quality and production value of the music. Poorly produced or low-quality music can detract from the overall listening experience and diminish the professionalism of your podcast.

Listen to the music tracks carefully and ensure that they are well-recorded, mixed, and mastered. Pay attention to the clarity of instruments, the balance of sound, and the overall production quality. High-quality music will enhance the production value of your podcast and create a more enjoyable experience for your listeners.

Importance of Music Intros and Outros

The introduction and outro of your podcast episodes are prime opportunities to make a strong impression on your listeners. Utilizing music in these sections can help create a recognizable and memorable podcast identity.

Consider crafting a unique podcast intro that incorporates a catchy musical hook or jingle. This will not only grab your listeners’ attention but also serve as a consistent identifier for your podcast.

Similarly, using music for your podcast outro can help create a sense of closure and leave a lasting impact. A well-crafted outro with the right music can leave your listeners with a positive and memorable impression, encouraging them to come back for more.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the important factors to consider when choosing music for your podcast, it’s time to move on to the next section, where we will discuss the practical process of adding music to your podcast using editing software.

Adding Music to Your Podcast

Now that you have carefully selected the music that aligns with your podcast’s theme and style, it’s time to dive into the practical process of adding music to your podcast using editing software. With the right tools and techniques, you can seamlessly integrate music into your episodes, creating a polished and professional final product. Let’s explore the steps involved in adding music to your podcast.

Editing Software and Tools

To add music to your podcast, you will need podcast editing software or a digital audio workstation (DAW) that allows you to manipulate audio tracks. There are numerous software options available, ranging from beginner-friendly to more advanced tools. Here are a few popular choices:

  1. Audacity: Audacity is a free and open-source audio editing software that is widely used by podcasters. It offers a range of features to edit and mix audio tracks, including the ability to import, cut, and adjust volume levels.

  2. Adobe Audition: Adobe Audition is a professional-grade audio editing software that provides advanced features for podcast production. It offers a comprehensive set of tools to edit, mix, and master your podcast audio, including the ability to import and manipulate music tracks.

  3. GarageBand: GarageBand is a user-friendly audio editing software available for macOS and iOS devices. It offers a range of built-in music loops and effects that you can easily incorporate into your podcast episodes.

Choose a software that suits your level of expertise and budget. Familiarize yourself with the features and tools offered by the software to make the most of your music integration process.

Importing Music Files

Once you have your editing software set up, the next step is to import the music files into your project. Most editing software allows you to import music files in various formats such as MP3, WAV, or AIFF.

Before importing, make sure to organize your music library in a way that is easily accessible. Create folders or playlists for different genres, moods, or themes to streamline the selection process during editing.

When importing the music files, ensure that they are saved in a location on your computer or external drive that is easily accessible within the editing software. This will allow you to quickly locate and import the desired music tracks when needed.

Mixing Music with Podcast Audio

To ensure that the music blends seamlessly with your podcast audio, it’s important to mix the music tracks appropriately. Here are a few key considerations during the mixing process:

  1. Adjusting Volume Levels: Balance the volume levels between your podcast audio and the music tracks. Ensure that the music doesn’t overpower the dialogue or other audio elements in your podcast. Experiment with different volume levels to achieve the desired balance.

  2. Creating Smooth Transitions: Use editing techniques such as fade-ins and fade-outs to create smooth transitions between different sections of your podcast where music is introduced or fades out. This helps to avoid abrupt starts or endings and creates a more pleasant listening experience.

  3. Implementing Crossfades: When transitioning between different music tracks or between music and dialogue, consider implementing crossfades. Crossfades blend the audio smoothly, eliminating any jarring cuts or silences.

  4. Syncing with Podcast Segments: Ensure that the music aligns with the timing and pacing of your podcast segments. For example, if you have a music bed playing under a segment, make sure it seamlessly fades in and out at the right moments to complement the content.

By paying attention to these mixing techniques, you can ensure that the music enhances your podcast rather than detracting from it.

Adding Music Intros and Outros

Adding music intros and outros is a great way to create a branded identity for your podcast. An intro sets the tone and hooks your audience from the beginning, while an outro wraps up your episode and leaves a lasting impression. Here’s how you can incorporate music intros and outros into your podcast:

  1. Creating a Branded Podcast Intro: Craft a unique and catchy intro that showcases your podcast’s personality. This can include a voiceover introducing your podcast, followed by a music bed or jingle that reflects the mood and vibe of your show. Consider hiring a professional voiceover artist or musician to create a custom intro that aligns with your podcast’s brand.

  2. Implementing Music Outros and Fade-Outs: Similar to the intro, an outro can be created by fading out the music bed or adding a specific outro music track. This helps provide a sense of closure to your episode and leaves a memorable impression on your listeners.

Experiment with different music choices and arrangements for your intros and outros to find the perfect combination that represents your podcast’s unique identity.

With these steps in mind, you are well-equipped to add music to your podcast using editing software. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the features and tools provided by your chosen software, and don’t be afraid to experiment and fine-tune the music integration process. Now, let’s move on to the next section, where we will discuss best practices for using music in your podcast.

Best Practices for Using Music in Podcasts

While incorporating music into your podcast can greatly enhance its overall quality, it’s essential to follow best practices to ensure a legal and seamless integration. By respecting copyright laws, properly attributing music, and creating a consistent music strategy, you can create a captivating and enjoyable listening experience for your audience. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when using music in your podcast.

Respect Copyright Laws and Licensing Terms

Respecting copyright laws is of utmost importance when using music in your podcast. It’s crucial to understand that most music is protected by copyright, and using copyrighted music without proper authorization can lead to legal issues. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Obtain Permission: If you plan to use copyrighted music, seek permission from the copyright holder or obtain the necessary licenses. This can involve reaching out to artists, record labels, or licensing agencies to negotiate the terms of use.

  • Utilize Copyright-Free Music: To avoid any copyright issues altogether, consider utilizing copyright-free music, such as public domain music or tracks that are specifically licensed for podcast use. This ensures that you have the necessary rights to use the music without infringing on copyright laws.

  • Understand Licensing Terms: When using royalty-free or Creative Commons licensed music, read and understand the licensing terms associated with the music. Some licenses may require attribution or have specific restrictions on commercial use. Adhering to these terms is crucial to ensure compliance and respect for the original creator’s work.

Proper Attribution for Music Used

When using Creative Commons licensed music or any music that requires attribution, it’s essential to provide proper credit to the original creator. Here are some guidelines for attributing music:

  • Include Artist Information: Clearly state the name of the artist, the title of the song, and the source of the music in your podcast show notes or episode description. This allows your audience to discover and support the artists whose music you’ve used.

  • Verbal Attribution: Consider verbally attributing the music during your podcast episode. This can be done by mentioning the artist and song title before or after playing the music. Verbal attribution adds a personal touch and helps create a connection between your podcast and the music you’re using.

  • Follow Attribution Guidelines: Different Creative Commons licenses have different attribution requirements. Familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines associated with the license you are using and ensure that you comply with them.

Proper attribution not only shows respect for the original creators but also helps build a community of support and recognition within the podcasting and music industries.

Avoiding Copyright Infringement Claims

To safeguard yourself from potential copyright infringement claims, follow these guidelines:

  • Thoroughly Research Music Rights: Before using any music, conduct thorough research to ensure that you have the necessary rights to use it. Check the copyright status, licensing terms, and any potential restrictions associated with the music.

  • Use Authorized Music Sources: Stick to reputable sources when obtaining music for your podcast. Utilize platforms that offer copyright-free music or music specifically licensed for podcast use. This helps minimize the risk of unknowingly using copyrighted material.

  • Keep Records of Licenses and Permissions: Maintain records of licenses, permissions, and attributions associated with the music you use in your podcast. This documentation acts as evidence that you acquired the necessary rights and can be helpful if any disputes arise.

By being diligent and proactive in understanding and respecting copyright laws, you can avoid potential legal complications and enjoy a worry-free podcasting experience.

Creating a Consistent Music Strategy

Having a consistent music strategy can greatly enhance the overall experience of your podcast. Consider the following:

  • Establish a Brand Sound: Select music that aligns with your podcast’s branding and identity. Choose music that reflects your podcast’s theme, style, and target audience. This consistency in music selection helps create a recognizable and cohesive listening experience.

  • Create Theme Music: Consider creating a unique theme music or jingle for your podcast. This music piece should be distinctive and reflect the essence of your show. Incorporate the theme music throughout your episodes to reinforce your podcast’s identity.

  • Update Music Over Time: As your podcast evolves, you may want to refresh your music selection to reflect changes in your content or brand. Regularly assess your music library and consider updating or adding new tracks to keep your podcast fresh and engaging.

A consistent and thoughtfully curated music strategy contributes to the overall professionalism and brand recognition of your podcast.

Tips to Enhance the Listener Experience

In addition to the best practices mentioned above, here are some additional tips to enhance the listener experience when using music in your podcast:

  • Consider Audio Quality: Ensure that the music tracks you use are of high audio quality and match the production value of your podcast. Poorly recorded or low-quality music can detract from the overall listening experience.

  • Test Music Levels: Before publishing your episodes, test the music levels by listening to them on various devices and in different environments. Strive for a balanced mix where the music is audible but doesn’t overpower the dialogue or other audio elements.

  • Use Music Thoughtfully: Be mindful of the purpose and timing of the music in your podcast. Avoid excessive or unnecessary use of music that may distract or overshadow the content. Use music strategically to enhance storytelling, transitions, or key moments in your episodes.

By implementing these tips, you can create a captivating and enjoyable listening experience for your audience, leaving a lasting impression and fostering a loyal following.

As you can see, incorporating music into your podcast requires careful consideration of copyright laws, proper attribution, and a consistent music strategy. By following these best practices, you can create a podcast that not only captivates your audience but also respects the rights of creators. Now that we have covered the best practices, let’s move on to the conclusion, where we will recap the key points discussed in this guide.


In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the world of incorporating music into your podcast. We have discussed the importance of music in creating an engaging and immersive listening experience, as well as the benefits it brings to your podcast. By understanding copyright laws and licensing options, you can ensure that you use music legally and ethically.

We have provided insights into finding copyright-free music resources, including websites offering royalty-free music and platforms that provide Creative Commons licensed music. Additionally, we have discussed the option of hiring a composer or musician for a more personalized touch.

Choosing the right music for your podcast involves considering your podcast’s tone, target audience, and the emotions you want to evoke. We have highlighted the importance of matching music to podcast segments and selecting music genres and moods that align with your content. Evaluating music quality and production value is crucial to maintain a professional standard.

Adding music to your podcast requires the use of editing software and tools. We have discussed popular software options and the steps involved in importing music files and mixing them with your podcast audio. Creating music intros and outros can help establish your podcast’s brand identity and leave a lasting impression on your listeners.

To ensure a seamless integration of music, we have provided best practices to follow. Respecting copyright laws and licensing terms is essential, along with proper attribution for the music used. Avoiding copyright infringement claims involves thorough research and utilizing authorized music sources. Creating a consistent music strategy and considering the listener experience contribute to the overall success of your podcast.

By following these guidelines and incorporating music thoughtfully, you can create a podcast that not only captivates your audience but also respects the rights of creators. Remember to regularly assess and update your music selection to keep your podcast fresh and engaging.

Now armed with knowledge and practical tips, it’s time for you to embark on your podcasting journey and unleash the power of music in your episodes. Experiment, explore, and enjoy the process of integrating music into your podcast. With the right music, you can elevate your podcast to new heights and create an unforgettable audio experience for your listeners.


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