How to build a profitable podcast.
Let's welcome our guest writer Idan Santhaus!
The podcast landscape has changed significantly in the past decade. Podcasts are no longer simply radio shows squeezed into a new trendy format - today anyone can get recording software and a microphone, and start a podcast on any topic imaginable.
It can even bring you revenue if you accumulate a substantial fanbase and find commercial sponsors. The big buzzword from 2004 went on to become a hobby to many and, to some, a full-time job.
While this means amazing new opportunities, it also brings along the increased competition. If you desire to get noticed and put yourself on the map, you need to start thinking of new ways to up your podcast game to make it even more unique and captivating to wide audiences.
How can you add music to your podcast? You can start simple. Merely incorporating more musical elements into your stories can make them more appealing to your listeners.
Let's learn how to use copyrighted music in a podcast so you can enhance your production and boost its overall value to the listener. Below, you’ll find our best tips and ways to add music to your podcast!
A memorable intro or opening music is everyone's favorite way to bring some life to their podcasts. However, it can be quite a task to choose an intro tune that both fits the general theme of your podcast and has the potential to stick in your listeners' heads.
What is your podcast about? Is it a humorous program featuring guest comedians? A sports podcast? Or perhaps you talk about the top crimes of the century?
When picking the intro tune for your podcast, make sure this track corresponds with the main mood and theme of your production.
Royalty-free music providers usually supply creators with entire collections dedicated to podcast theme tunes where you can find the best fit for your production. It’s the easiest way to learn start learning how to add music to your podcast.
Similar to the above, outro music can also give authenticity to your podcast. It’s actually a rather important part of any podcast episode as it rounds off the entire story and helps you sign off and say goodbye to your listeners in a genuine, direct way.
A well-made outro can also help you make a memorable impression on your audience and allow you to always sign out with a bang.
Perhaps you have a zinger that can complement your outro tune? If not, you can combine the ending melody with a call to action, a teaser for the next episode, or credits to your sponsors.
If your podcast revolves around humorous topics, you most definitely need some sound effects to spice up your show and take your punchlines to a new level.
Using cliché sound effects such as boing, boo, or applauding crowd has become a joke in itself and it can be very amusing to hear these sound effects when the timing is right!
Make sure to not overuse them though: we all know how easy it is to put off a contemporary podcast listener with tacky tricks and poor taste!
Podcast advertising is one of the latest marketing strategies which benefits businesses and provides podcasters with great monetization opportunities.
However, whenever placing an ad in your podcast, you should be considerate of your listeners' experience. Imagine listening to an immersive story that is suddenly interrupted by a commercial break. Sounds irritating, doesn't it?
This is where music comes into play: choose a mellow short tune to gently pull your audience's attention away from the story so you can play your sponsor's ad.
For that, you can use "logo" or "sting" tunes offered by royalty-free music providers. These are short, up to 10-second melodies that can serve as perfect intermission tunes. Commercial breaks can also be a great way for a beginner to learn how to add music to your podcast.
Music is a medium that often carries some sort of cultural imprint. Culturally-rich music can aid your podcast episodes too. Let's say you're hosting a show about your guests' travels and adventures around the world.
Wouldn't it be amazing to enhance their stories and take your audience's minds to faraway places with the help of ethnic music? Or perhaps you're covering a historic topic about the Middle Ages and Medieval music seems appropriate?
Delve deeper into your topic and see what kind of music could support your culture-themed stories.
Music can be a perfect way to transition through different topics or “scenes” within your podcast!
Just like in audiobooks, you can separate your podcast’s chapters by playing a short interlude after each segment and help the story along.
Maybe you’re introducing a new guest speaker in the next part of the show, or you need to segue to a new topic - a little transitional music can guide your listener smoothly without any awkward pauses.
To use transitional music truly creatively, try to pick tunes that resonate with your story. As mentioned above, you can emphasize the historical element of it and use music from a certain historical era or part of the world.
Have you realized by now that you could use an intro, outro, or transitional music in your podcast?
Virtually all royalty-music providers offer collections of tunes specifically for any of these uses, so that's not going to be a problem. What's more important, though, is that the music fits your show's mood and aesthetics.
To save any confusion to your listeners, opt for melodies that fit the genre, mood, and topics of your show. For example, soothing ambient music is great for psychology or meditation podcasts, while amusing, poppy jazz or swing could go well with entertainment or comedy shows.
The appropriate intro music will help you make sure that your listeners are intrigued rather than perplexed, and that they will stay tuned throughout the entire episode.
Once you choose the right tunes to incorporate into your podcast, it's critical that they play at the proper volume in relation to the mix and the speakers' voices.
As you may know, podcast audio editing can make or break your show. Not only must you make sure to record clean-sounding, high-resolution voices but also to provide the most enjoyable audio experience to your listeners.
That means the sound effects and musical elements should sit subtly in the mix so it doesn’t overwhelm your audience and divert them from your story.
If you insist on using background music to accompany your story, make sure it’s a mellow or slowly unfolding tune that flows unnoticeably underneath your voice.
On a similar note, it’s also important to use music that has no distracting lyrics in it. You can already imagine why it may be a bad idea.
Even with background music set to the lowest volume, the lyrics might sound chaotic and irritating when mixed with the speakers’ voices.
And even if it’s played separately from the speakers’ voices, it may still be distracting to your listeners as they want to stay immersed in your story and not the story of a song!
The same applies to music with an intense beat. Rhythmic electronic music is great for enjoyment and dancing but think twice before using it in your podcast (unless you’re hosting a show about some extreme topic and want to maintain the shocking element of it.)
Properly selected and applied music has the potential to transform your podcast into a vibrant and entertaining show. However, there are certain topics out there that should be presented with respect and moderation.
Recent tragic events and other serious topics rarely call for any musical background and such episodes should be treated lightly.
If your podcast revolves around significant or upsetting topics, it's recommended to use music in your podcast cautiously. Perhaps you could use subtle music for your intro but abstain from using optimistic transitional or commercial tunes.
While the 9 other ways how to add copyrighted music to your podcast can elevate your content, sometimes some silence will let the watcher reflect on what they’ve just watched.
Music has the power to evoke emotions and enrich various media productions, podcasts being one of them. It’s an amazing tool that can help you entertain your audience, keep them engaged in your stories and, most importantly, turn them into your dedicated listeners.
However, when learning how to use copyrighted music in a podcast, you should be aware of these two important factors:
Review the entire identity of your show. Does it need certain musical elements? Is it sufficient to only use an intro and outro music or do you feel you’d like to also use short intermission tunes? Once you analyze your music needs, you can start looking for the right tunes, incorporating them into your show, and telling your audience stories with more power than ever before.