I have spent a few years struggling on and off to find good music for the intros of the podcasts on my podcast network. I’ve tried a bunch of different options an want to share my favorite sites for podsafe music here.
Where to Find Music for a Podcast Intro
I have tried over a dozen different royalty free music stores for finding podcast intro music. Unfortunately, very few of them have licensing terms that would make it legal to use the intro in a podcast. Since I’m a lawyer (non-practicing since I’m a full-time podcaster and blogger now), this is something I take very seriously.
Personally, I get all of my podcast intro music from AudioBlocks.com. What I like about AudioBlocks is that you pay $99 per YEAR and you can download and use as much music as you possibly want. You DON’T have to keep paying the subscription in order to use the songs you’ve purchased, so you really only need one year.
I realize that yet another $100 spent on your business sounds like a lot, but when you realize that the other sites that actually have legal licenses that allow for the song to be used in a podcast, it’s often $129 or more just for a single song! So AudioBlocks really is an incredible bargain.
The other thing I like about it is you can use it not just for the intro song itself, but also for sound effects, stingers, and other things in your podcast. If you later add a second podcast, then you already have a subscription and you don’t have to pay for another song. Check out AudioBlocks.com here (Aff. link) or sign up for their free trial here.
Another option is Audio Micro. They have a pretty small music selection, but they do a very nice job with their licensing terms. However, they charge $69 PER AUDIO FILE, so if you need even two, you would have saved money by choosing AudioBlocks. Still, if they have the song you want, it’s a safe site for podcasting music. Be aware, however, that they do not allow their music to be used in any paid podcasts or paid video projects, however. Gotta pay more for that.
One last option is Pond5, which does have reasonable licensing terms. There is no subscription, so you’ll be paying about $30 for your song, and then $30 each for a few sound effects, and $30 when you want to add a drop-in for a new segment on the show, etc. It’s worth looking at in case they have the perfect song for you, but honestly i think AudioBlocks will save you money. You’ll find over the first few months of your show that you will want lots of music so you can tweak things.
The last option I could find is 123rf.com, which has a small library of mostly pretty cheesy music, but if you find something on there you like, it’d be a good option.
Where NOT to Find Music for a Podcast
Like I said, I’m a lawyer so I take licensing seriously and do my very best to make sure everything I do is on the “up and up.” I just want to show a few examples of why you really can’t just go to any old royalty-free music store to get podcast intro music.
Here are a few examples of terms in licensing agreements that would make it so you couldn’t use it on a podcast. Most podcasters have no idea that these are in the terms on many music sites.
- Audio Jungle – You only get 10,000 downloads with the standard license. As your podcast keeps getting more downloads, you have to keep going back and paying them more money. No bueno!
- Premium Beat – $200 for a SINGLE SONG if you’ll be using it commercially (which almost any podcaster is)
- BenSound – Unfortunately, you’d have to pay $720 for the “international radio” license in order to be able to use the music in a podcast. Ugh!
- Purple Planet – You have to get special permission to use it on a podcast.
- Getty Images Music – Nope. Don’t even think about it!
- Shutterstock – The licensing terms won’t allow it to be used for a podcast.
Example Podcast Intro
A few years ago I created a podcast called “Photo Taco.” The idea of the show is that you learn a photography tip in the time it takes to eat a taco. As you can tell from the title, the show is supposed to be a fun and a little off-beat.
Consequently, I wanted to build an intro that would set the stage for a fun podcast. I wanted to do something more than just a song that fades out. I wanted it to feel more “produced”–like something you’d hear on the radio. I knew that in order to do that, I’d have to have several sound effects.
Listen to the intro to that podcast below…
I got the music and sound effects from AudioBlocks and then just recorded the voice over myself. At the end, you can hear a group of “women” singing “Photo Taco.” Why did I put the word “women” in quotes? Because I was one of them, and I’m a guy 🙂 It’s my wife, our neighbor, and me after sucking a helium balloon 🙂 It was really fun to make.
Steps for Building a Quality Intro
I know how hard it can be to build a podcast intro that is anything more than just fading a song in and out. I’ve tried and failed many times. But here are some steps you could follow to help make something cool.
- Find a song you like for your intro. Be careful to find something that appeals to a wide audience and isn’t too specific. Just because you like rap doesn’t mean your target market will. Find the type of audio that would be used in a commercial on TV.
- Write what your show is about, what makes it different, and who you are. It’s okay to use up two paragraphs for this intro.
- Take the description of your show and brand from #2, and whittle it down to a tweet-sized intro (140 characters). That’s how I ended up with “Welcome to Photo Taco, the only show with photography tips you can learn in the time it takes to eat a taco, or perhaps, a burrito.”
- Record yourself saying the intro. KEEP IT SHORT! While I personally prefer it when the host of the show records the intro, some people will use a voice over artist. You can find tons of them on Fiverr.com for $5. I’d caution you against using a voice over artist, however. It has a tendency to sound cheesy, and brings in a third-party voice that isn’t part of your brand.
- Find two or three sound effects that have something to do with your show. If it’s a technology show, it could be the sound of a mouse click or someone typing. If it’s a photography show, it could be the sound of a lens focusing or a shutter clicking. If it’s a show about fishing, it could be the sound of line zipping off a reel. If it’s a show about customer support, it could be a dial tone. Etc.
- Find places in your intro where you can reasonably place the sound effects on top of the music.
- EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! At this point, your intro is probably about 45 seconds long. Edit like crazy until you can get it to under 20 seconds. I’ve heard many comments from listeners to my show that they appreciate that I don’t have long intros after I edited them down.
If You’d Like to Build Up Your Podcasting Audience…
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