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A Complete Guide to Adding the Perfect Music and Sound Effects to Your Podcast

Music and sound are a simple yet effective way to help create an even more engaging podcast for your listeners. Using music in podcasts has the ability to define your show’s tone, make it instantly recognizable and are an effective way to create a heightened audio experience for your audience. With this in mind, we want to look at the ways different podcasters have used music and sound throughout their content with serious impact.

MUSIC: Where’s best to add it?

As a podcaster, you have three options of where to add music, at the beginning or end as a sort of title/credits music, to divide show segments and as interview background music.

  • Intro / Outro

Your podcast intro is the most important audio element you’ll ever create for your podcast; it’s the first thing potential new listeners hear. The first thing to consider is that your intro, or pre-roll, should be made with your audience at the forefront of your mind – making sure to immediately communicate just what your show’s about.

Forbes underlines its importance: “It’s the first piece of audio that the listener is going to hear, so it’s important to solidify a distinct mood and sound to represent that particular podcast show or song.”

Want some inspiration? Here are a few examples of podcasters with a really good introduction music – all of them in their individual ways help set a completely unique scene for their podcast.

Take a listen to the folky intro of Friends with Bitterness – the perfect intro for preparing to reminisce about friendships:

Friends With Bitterness by Friends With Bitterness

Or the electric sounds of the Feminist Hotdog, getting you in the headspace for celebrating feminist heroes in all their shapes and forms.

Feminist Hotdog by NoCo FM

Finally take a listen to the minimalist beats and female vocals which lead into the podcast Meat – a podcast about the human body:

Meat by jonathan zenti

 

  • Segment Divider

Music clips and sound effects are especially useful for episodes structured like stories. They help punctuate key moments as you travel through the beginning, middle, and end – and add extra emotion to your interviews.

Another clever way to use special sound effects is to introduce new segments, like flash news stories. FQ Radio does a great job of that; they produce short episodes that you can listen to as a playlist, with each episode separated by an effect:

FQ Radio by FQ Radio

  • Background Music

As much as a great voice is spellbinding to listen to, even if we don’t realize it, part of the pleasure often comes from good podcast background music. Good background music for interviews is important but also when the aim of the show is to tell a story, or when you’re going in depth on a specific topic.
Great examples of this are:
Bundyville – the soft strings in the back for the main storytelling and electric tones to intonate a sinister part of the story, all help to create effect:

Bundyville by Oregon Public Broadcasting

Or Top Story Tonight where stories from the past are re-imagined in the current era of media and lighthearted piano music helps to reiterate the modern time period.  

Top Story Tonight! by Jane Wells

Searching For Your Show’s Sound

Now you know where you want to insert the music, you need to find the right sound!

What are your options? It really comes down to: Copyrighted music, Royalty-Free (Paid), Royalty-Free (Free).

Before getting into detail we want to underline the importance of music which has a copyright, if it’s not your own music and you haven’t asked permission from the owners – don’t use it! This sort of behavior comes with risks of the legal kind! Using music in your productions which isn’t originally your own can become super tricky – this is where royalty-free music comes into play. Royalty-free music is a license which requires a once-off payment in exchange for a lifetime of usage and there are also free versions of royalty free music too.

So, where can you find royalty-free music? Here are just three examples of some great options with large catalogs of music:

Service Type Price Exclusive Offer  for Spreaker Users
Epidemic Sound Monthly subscription for the whole music catalog Starting at €13/month € 99.00 / year instead of €156.00 / year
Jamendo Different type of licenses and Track Packs Starting at 9,99 €/project 29,99 € / quarter excl. Tax
Envato elements Monthly subscription for the whole music catalog Starting at €14.50/m
Premium Beat Flexible license options that include unlimited use Starting at

$59/project

Musicbed Subscriptions or Single Song Pricing Starting at

$9/month

Jamendo and Epidemic Sounds are partners of Spreaker, so if you’re one of our podcasters you are entitled to a discount.

Somewhere in the middle of these options, is music which is under the Creative Commons licenses, a great option if you’re working to a tight budget.
This is music which can be used when certain conditions are adhered to, for example – if it’s not used for commercial usage (i.e monetizing your show counts).
The Legis Music blog goes into more detail on the matter and also highlights some of the best options with music and sound effects library, including Youtube Audio Library, Free Music Archive, Musopen, Dig.ccmixter and Incompetech.

Finally, if you’re looking for something totally original – why not hire a musician via Fiverr? You’ll be able to avoid all of these legal issues and get something unique for your show!

Selecting Your Soundtrack

A lot of picking the right music for your show is about using your personal intuition.
Think about your audience, your show, the topics discussed – what is the tone you want to convey to your listeners? The right music will reinforce any ideas discussed and it also has the potential to undermine the strength of your content!
Take it back to basics when you’re thinking up what sort of music you want – is your podcast serious or fun?
Do your topics change weekly or do you have a running theme?
Is it a 2-hour podcast centered around one conversation or are there lots of different chats?

Looking at questions like this will help direct your creativity!

How to Add Music & Sound via Spreaker Studio

Last but definitely not least is the physicality of how to add sounds and music to an episode of your podcast via our Spreaker Studio mobile app or desktop.

Spreaker Studio Mobile App:

  1. Tap on the ‘+’ and import your chosen file from the built-in file library, your Apple Music library or a prerecorded draft.
  2. Select your file to start the import process

FYI: Third party audio apps such as Audioshare can share sounds directly with Spreaker Studio, these will appear in the drafts tab.

Spreaker Studio for Desktop:

With desktop, you have two options for adding tracks from Spreaker Studio for Desktop to your podcast.

Option 1: If you want to insert just one or two tracks you can find the ‘Tracks’ section on your console and add the music file directly from there by clicking on the ‘+’ button. You can add up to two tracks.

Option 2: If you want to add more than two tracks, like in a playlist, you can choose the “Playlist” section and add more than one track at once by clicking the “+” or the “add new track” button from there.

There you have it!
Adding music to your podcast is such a simple (and cost-effective) method to add character to your show. The importance of sound effects should never be undermined as a way of adding the final professional touch to your show!

 

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