The Complete Guide to Enhancing Your Podcasts With Music
By Kevin Graham
While 2020 saw the growth of nearly every digital medium, few of those expanded as rapidly as the podcast. Defined as “an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can download to a personal device for easy listening”, podcasts of all genres have become wildly popular in recent years, so much so that 75% of the US population is now familiar with the term “podcast”, up from 70% in 2019. It is estimated that there are over 2 million podcasts worldwide, with a staggering number of episodes: over 43 million.
Listeners and marketers are allocating greater amounts of their respective time and budgets to podcasts. Podcasting tools, such as equipment and distribution options, are becoming more widely affordable and accessible. As a result, there has never been a better time than now to start a podcast!
What Music Does For Your Podcast
So, you’ve recorded your first episode, and it sounds great. The content is engaging, the guests are entertaining, and you can’t wait to share it with the world.
But there seems to be a missing piece: something to connect each segment and to hold it all together.
Well, that something is music.
All of your favorite podcasts have it. Whether it’s a full custom score for the intro, or a few simple guitar chords at each transition, music and sounds add depth and refinement to the scene that’s being audibly laid out for you. And a cohesive, familiar set of sounds in your podcast will give your viewers a sense of consistency, quality, and satisfaction every time they hit “play” on a new episode.
Types of Podcast Music
Music can become an integral part of your podcast’s brand, and help it stand out amongst the noise (remember, there are over 2 million podcasts worldwide).
In a podcast episode, music is typically used as a recurring intro theme, as a soundbed underneath particular points of interest in the conversation, as transitions between subjects, as accompaniments to sponsorship messages, and as an outro to wrap up the episode.
Podcast music can range from being unapologetically catchy, to under-the-radar subtle; it just depends on the type of content you have and which role you want music to play within it.
But in general, you should always keep in mind the fact that in a podcast, music serves to enhance and augment the content, rather than taking the spotlight entirely.
Many podcast intros, for example, will feature a combination of music, sound effects, voiceover, and memorable clips from previous episodes.
Where to Find Music For Your Podcast
Unfortunately, the world of music licensing, especially for widely-distributed mediums like podcasts, can be frustrating to navigate for creators. But fortunately for you, Filmpac has created a set of complete, ready-to-use Podcast Tracks that were built specifically with podcasters in mind.
Within each track, you’ll find a main intro theme, a couple alternate variations, an outro theme, and several transition sounds that were custom-created to match the music they come with. These tracks and sounds are concise, engaging, and relevant: everything that good podcast music should be!
And if you’re looking for longer-format music to play underneath your dialogue, the rest of our music library can be used in podcasts, too. Think of some keywords that could be used to describe your podcast, enter them in the search bar (or use the existing facet filters), and you’ll see anything and everything in our library that matches.
How to Add Music To Your Podcast
Simply license and download a track, separate the different sections on your editing timeline, and place them in the appropriate spots. You may only need one transition sound throughout the episode (or maybe even none at all), but with each Podcast Track, you’ll have several to choose from.
Sometimes, you’ll want to reduce the volume level of the track, such as during an intro that features VO, or during a segment in which people are still talking.
Podcasts are Here to Stay
After you’ve got all of your music and sounds added to your episode, give yourself a high-five! Because now not only is your content great, but you’ve added production value and polish to your podcast with the addition of top-notch music. Now, all you need to do is get your podcast out there and start building your audience!
In a fast-paced world driven by digital communication, podcasts give you a convenient, interesting, and personable way to deliver content to your listeners.
And the best part about this emerging giant of an industry?
The bar to entry remains low and available to everyone.
There’s nothing stopping you from joining the countless celebrities, news personalities, athletes, influencers, writers, and other creators in the podcast universe, and building a unique brand and audience with your very own podcast.
Kevin Graham is the Music Director and Lead Composer at Filmpac