Background Music For Podcast (How to use & where to find)

Podcasts can really benefit from using short pieces of music to help build rapport with your audience. Background music can make a podcast more engaging and help your listener remember who you are and what you are saying. 

As I am writing this article I am currently listening to a podcast! The particular podcast I am listening to uses music brilliantly and has a custom logo sound which is used intermittently, between sections. 

This is one of many wonderful ways music can be used in podcasts, to really take the content to another level and help it stay in the minds of your audience long after they have stopped listening.

Background music for podcasts is a powerful tool that if used well can elevate your podcast production quality and take it to the next level. The golden rule with background music for podcasts is to set the correct audio levels so your speech can always be heard.

There is a lot to understand about using music in podcasts, from deciding where to place music, to setting the correct volume level of background music so it does not impact the main speech.

In this article I will cover:

  • How much music should be in a podcast?
  • What level should background music be?
  • What is good intro music for a podcast?
  • What type of music should I use for a podcast?
  • How do I add background music to my podcast?
  • How to get free music for a podcast
podcast music 1

How Much Music Should Be In A Podcast?

Most podcast enthusiasts agree that background music should be used sparingly in a podcast. Most agree that background music should not be placed behind the full podcast episode. 

When producing a podcast it is important to consider if you should use music and if you do, where you should place music in your podcast. 

How much music you use in a podcast is a personal production decision, however, it is important to remember the goal of your podcast and not lose the message of your podcast by overusing music.

Where you place music on your podcast and how much music you should use is a matter of personal taste, but the best places to use music in a podcast are:

  • Music on the intro to introduce your podcast
  • Music on the outro to conclude and end your podcast
  • Musical idents or short sounds between sections to break up topics or discussion points. 
  • Background music as a musical bed for certain topics.

The most common places to place music in a podcast are in the intro and outro. This creates a beginning and an end to your podcast, giving it a clear starting and finishing point. 

In addition, it is a great idea to keep your musical intro and outro music the same. Make this a standard tune that you use repeatedly. 

By using the same intro music for each podcast episode, this music will become very familiar with your audience and this music will become part of your podcast brand. 

Using good quality intro and outro music on your podcast will set the tone of your podcast, add professionalism and create familiarity with your audience.

What Level Should Background Music Be?

Background music is a great tool to add emotion and tell a story, but choosing suitable music to use with speech to ensure your message can still be heard clearly is critical. 

As a podcast producer, if you use background music in your podcast over speaking sections ensure that you select background music that does not conflict with the speech. 

For example, avoid background music with high-frequency instruments such as flutes when mixing with a female narration as the high frequency of the flutes can conflict with the frequency of some female narrators – in other words,  the flutes and voice will be competing for the same audio space.

A good rule of thumb when mixing background music and narration is to make your background music 20dB lower than the audio volume of your narration.

For example, if your narration is at a level of -1dB, then turn your background music down to -21dB. In this example, the background music is 20dB lower than the narration.

No one will ever complain if your background music is too low, but they will switch off instantly if your background music is too loud and impedes the clarity of the narration.

For a podcast, the golden rule is to ensure that your speech can be heard clearly and music will always take a back seat to this. 

What Is Good Intro Music For A Podcast?

When it comes to choosing the perfect music for your podcast, you want something that will set the tone and atmosphere of your episode.

It should be catchy enough to grab listeners’ attention, yet subtle enough not to overpower any conversations or sound bites that may be included in the episode.

Finally, it should be short. The golden rule of intro music is to make it short and memorable. 

A good target intro music length for a podcast is around 15 seconds.  Typically 30 seconds or less works well as it is short enough to engage your audience without creating boredom. 

What Type Of Music Should I Use For A Podcast?

The type of music that you should use for your podcast will depend on the tone and atmosphere that you wish to create.

Uplifting music such as pop, rock, or jazz can set a fun and lighthearted mood, while slower genres such as classical or ambient can evoke feelings of nostalgia or romance.

Alternatively, if you have any keywords or phrases in your podcast that could be used as inspiration for musical themes, consider using those to select the right music.

It is easy to find music for a podcast. What is more difficult is sifting through the large variety of online music libraries to make a decision on which library to choose.

Royalty-free music is one of the best music types to use when looking for music for a broadcast.

Royalty-free music is a music license type that grants you permission to use the music in your content without any future payments required or hidden fees.

Typically a royalty-free music license is the most straightforward and simple music license available, hence why royalty-free music is very popular with podcast producers.

Check out the Coya Music Library for free background music for podcasts.

How Do I Add Background Music To My Podcast?

The easiest and cheapest way to add music to a podcast is to download free audio editing software such as Audacity.

This is a free audio editing package into which you can record your podcast, add any effects and audio processing and sync your music and speech.

In addition, you can set the audio levels of any background music in Audacity to be at the correct level, which is -20dB lower than the speech. This level will ensure that your speech can still be heard.

For intro music, set your intro music audio level at a point where it sounds like it is at the same volume as your speech recording and then add a fade out as you merge into the speech.

This way your intro music tells your audience that this is the audio level of the podcast and they do not need to turn up or down their volume settings when the speech starts.

How To Get Free Music For A Podcast

You can download free music for your podcast from Coya Music, which comes with a full music license and music download options in high-quality MP3 file format. 

In return for free music, please ensure you add a music credit to the composer by adding the following to your podcast descriptions:

Music by:

When downloading free music, ensure you check the terms of use as every composer and music library will have its own requirements. The Coya Music license terms can be found here.

Final Thoughts

Background music can be an effective way to enhance your podcasts and give them an extra sparkle.

From choosing what type of music fits best with each episode’s theme, to adding it seamlessly into the mix—there are a few things that content creators should keep in mind when deciding whether or not they want to incorporate background music into their podcasts.

By using short sections of music, set at the right audio level that does not impact the clarity of the speech recording, podcast producers can take their content to the next level and create a professional product that their audience will love.

Happy producing!

Coya Music

Coya Music is a website where you can find free music to use in your content. We also share information about how to make your content sound better and how to make music yourself.

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