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Best (Royalty-Free) Music & Sound Effects For Podcasts

One of the first things you’ll often need when you’re starting a podcast is good quality background music, jingles or sound effects. Unless you know a generous musician you’re not going to get it for free, or someone like me is taking care of it all for you. There are plenty of affordable subscription options and also sites that sell rights to single tracks.

Shutterstock

They’re not just for images anymore. Incidentally, if you’re looking for a site for images Unsplash is a great resource. They are free if you credit them and the photographer.

Shutterstock just announced an unlimited music subscription for $199/year. They also have single track licenses for $49.

They specifically say you can use it for podcasting, business, and social media. So you don’t have to worry about an audiogram being taken down. Which is nice.

Incompetech

Incompetech is home to thousands of Creative Commons tracks that are free to use for a link. It’s basically the same idea as Unsplash but for audio. You can also get a paid license if you don’t want to give credit.

You will no doubt have heard many of these as the site is one of the most popular for free music.

PremiumBeat

PremiumBeat features a built-in player with tons of options to play different lengths, save playlists, and more. They are a great source for intro music, outro music, segment transactions, background music.

They have standard and premium license options depending on your needs and just how much money you want to spend.

Free Music Archive

I might have buried the lede on this one, especially if you’re on a budget. Free Music Archive is free (Hence the name) and collects music from hundreds of artists around the world.

If you’re looking for free podcast intro music, and backgroud music there are thousands of tracks to wade through.

Amazon Music Adds Hosting & Monetization Platform Art19

Amazon Music (Not the be confused with Audible) is taking things up a notch in the Podcasting Wars. The company acquired the platform Art19 for an undisclosed amount.

This means Amazon will be involved in hosting podcasters’ shows as well as selling ads. Art19 operates an ad marketplace that targets and inserts ads into their podcasts.

Amazon Music only started offering podcasts in September of 2020, Audible started last October. It’s a little confusing. In the mean time, Amazon Music has acquired Wondery.

Now Amazon can host their own podcasts, as well as third parties’ shows, and sell ads for both. Which is good, because Jeff Bezos desperately needs more money. Amazon will also have even more data about what’s happening with their in house podcasts and other platforms.

Begun, the Podcast Wars have

Amazon Music already sells its own ads, so Art19 might just add to it. That may seem a little redundant, but then so do Audible and Amazon Music.

For the record, Audible is focused on on-demand audio while Amazon Music is in the traditional podcast game. But I digress.

Of course I have worked in radio for years, and their strategy is usually to say they’re going to work together with the new employees. Then a few months later they “consolidate” positions. Not that I ever saw a broadcasting company do such a thing. Or that I’m still bitter about it years later.

You may remember Spotify has been doing the same thing lately. They started picking up content companies like Gimlet Media and Parcast. Then they acquired Megaphone.

It’s not just Spotify either. Other podcasting companies have also been busy acquiring like there’s no tomorrow. iHeartMedia acquired Triton Digital and SXM Media acquired Midroll.

So basically, now that they have all added a ton of new content all of the companies are tripping over each other to come up with new was to monetize it.

Will The New App Moonbeam Help Your Podcast Get Discovered?

Image Credit: Moonbeam
(Image Credit: Moonbeam)

Now that everybody seems in agreement that audio content is here to stay for a while, people are starting to work on the discoverability problem.

I’ve heard from clients who lament over the fact that there are well over two million active podcasts out there. So many in fact it’s virtually impossible to get any traction.

Of course, there are about 31 million active YouTube channels, and that doesn’t stop any of them. So the volume of podcasts isn’t the problem, it’s discoverablity. YouTube is basically the only game in town if you’re looking for video content. You can spend an entire day going down a rabbit hole. (Somehow I ended up with furniture flipping videos showing up all the time. When I randomly clicked on one I found it to be a world that was surprisingly interesting and also an epic time suck)

Podcasts don’t have that. At this point most of the professional content is divided between Spotify and Amazon. Apple is obviously still in the game as well but in the mode of playing catch up at the moment.

That’s where Kayak co-founder Paul English and his new app Moonbeam are supposed to come in.

You could think of Moonbeam as sort an audio version of TikTok. Listeners can scroll through samples of podcasts and decide if they like what they are hearing enough to give the whole episode a shot. It’s not a bad idea, and they let creators pretty easily feature the content they want.

It’s a great resource to have, but it seems you’re still depending on listeners coming to this new platform specifically to find new podcasts hoping they land on yours. The percentage of potential listeners who would do that still seems pretty low to me. I don’t think you’ll ever have one platform rule them all the way YouTube has. What podcasters need is for the existing platforms to improve their searching and discoverability. You can’t expect a mass migration to another platform.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely still useful. We’ve already seen lots of TikTok users frustrated over the creator fund turn their account into a funnel for their YouTube channel. Moonbeam could do the same thing. That would definitely be useful for creators.

They aren’t even the first game in town in the podcast discovery game. There are sites like Podchaser and Goodpods, but I think they are less resources for listeners looking for content and more trying to be an IMDB for the podcast world. Last week Spotify acquired Podz, which is an app with a pretty similar idea, but not quite as many doodads and geegaws for creators.

Facebook Adds Audio to Take On Clubhouse And Spotify

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
(Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)

Clubhouse had a monopoly on the “Rich Entreprenuer Who Likes To Hear Themselves Talk” market for the past few months. That is about the change.

Also, any rich entreprenuers who like to hear themselves talk please reach out about starting a podcast.

Facebook’s Clubhouse competitor, Live Audio Rooms, is finally a thing.

Right now it’s limited to some US-based public figures and certain groups. They can start hosting rooms through the main Facebook iOS app. (Hosting is limited to iOS but people can join from iOS and Android.) Anyone can be a speaker with up to 50 people able to speak at once. That won’t be confusing at all.

Also, what’s with Facebook giving Android users the cold shoulder? Clubhouse did the same thing.

Facebook is also making podcasts available.

People can listen to podcasts through either a mini-player or a full-screen player. Users will have playback controls and can listen while the screen is off. If you had to actually stay on the page to listen, it would be pretty useless.

It only seems to be available through the mobile app. At least that was the case on the podcast episode I posted on Thursday. Listeners will be able to find shows on podcast creators’ Pages and the News Feed. Users will be able to react to, comment, bookmark, and share their favorites.

Clubhouse is still new enough I think they’ll be able to make a pretty good dent. This gives people another option where they already are. They might have a little bit of trouble replacing Spotify and other podcastins platforms. It might actually be pretty helpful for discoverability though.