Twitter was launched because of a failed podcasting company. Crazy, right? Although Twitter is huge now, that was not the first thought. One of the key aspects of podcasts is music. Music is a fantastic addition to any podcast.
It changes the mood, sets the tone, and elevates the podcast. Your podcast is likely to fail if it is too plain and boring. To make sure that doesn’t happen, I have you covered. Here is my list of the top 10 best royalty-free music for upping your podcast-game in 2021.
Jamendo: Best for Music Used in Advertisements
Jamendo has a vast library of music, especially for advertisers and marketers. It lets you search by project type like video games, advertising, etc.
You can even choose the platform you want to feature the track on like Facebook, youtube, twitch, etc. You can select from more than 240,000 tracks. To further refine my search results, I browsed by themes and mood, genres, duration, speed, and instruments.
Jamendo isn’t the cheapest, but you have two types of license options: Single Track and Subscription. A singletrack license starts from $9.99. The subscription begins at $49.00.
Purple Planet: Best for Small Youtube Projects
Purple Planet gets its music from Chris Martin and Geoff Harvey. The interface gives a planetarium feel. Don’t expect the same filters seen on other sites.
Purple Planet has divided the genres into how the music feels or sounds like. For eg, instead of rock, pop, country, etc, you have creepy, cute, emotional, hope, and more. But it does not have additional filters like duration, Bmp, speed, instrument, and the like.
It has limited options for free music. What differentiates it from other royalty-free music sites is its relaxation and therapy music. The music eases the nerves. It is free to use and edit for credit. You can also buy a standard license at $8, and broadcast at $40.
Audioblocks: For Professional Commercial or Personal Projects
Offers over 100,000 royalty-free stock audio including music, sound effects, and loops. You can also filter out music according to duration which saves editing time. There is no download cap, so you can download unlimited songs right after your subscription.
Their mood filter is interesting with evocative topics like playful, sad, etc. You can’t download it for free. However, you can pay $149 for a year and download unlimited tracks or bespoke enterprise subscriptions.
Navigation can be a bit tricky, but you will find your way if you invest a little time.
ccMixter: For Original Background Music
This royalty-free music site is a global music community of artists’ work. It has an open-source approach to music. You can browse through remixes, acapella, editor’s picks, and highest-rated music
You need to accredit the artist to use their music. It has a people’s section where you can discover music using the artist’s name. In its Beta version, you can explore the library of pells and stems. You can also read reviews by other users/musicians and connect with them.
Since users can upload music on this site, you are sure to find the original tracks. Don’t get overwhelmed by the interface. The navigation can be tricky, but you could find some unique music tracks.
Incompetech: Best for Drama/cinematic Podcast Series
Incompetch lets you search by keyword, speed, key, feels, tempo, length, and genres such as Disco or Rock. Kevin MacLeod predominantly creates all music tracks available on Incompetech. You can find music from all around the world, such as Brazil and Africa.
The themes are quite impressive and unique to this software, such as Noir, Horror, Mystery, etc.
You can also search for music offered by 27 other artists like Lilo Sound, Rafael Krux, Sascha Ende, etc.
It is free from attribution, or you can pay 20 Euro/ track and buy a lifetime license. You can also get personalized license documents, songs in more formats like Wav, Hq, etc. Songs for videos, youtube, movies, cinema, and any audio project.
Free Music Archive: For All Types of Podcasts
FMA has a plethora of music tracks. The interface is a bit clunky which makes navigation complicated. You can sift through the songs by genre, feeling, energy, time, BPM, duration, non-vocals. The non-vocals’ section has some of the most unique instrumental tracks.
You can also filter out search results by license. There were limited tracks under the public domain, but multiple audio stocks are available under different licenses.
Tribe of Pro took over the Free Music Archive and has three types of licenses: Bronze, Gold, Silver, and Platinum. While bronze and silver have limited features, Platinum lets you customize your license.
Pond5: Best for Sound Effects and Film Music
Pond5 is a renowned royalty-free site for videos, footage, and music. It is trusted by companies like Facebook, Disney, etc. Pond5 has a wide range of sound effects for every keyword.
You can browse results by genre, keyword, tempo, mood, popularity, and time.
The featured categories include background music, trailers, epic, classical, and documentary. It gives one a full cinematic experience.
They have a whole page dedicated to sound effects, which is much more than any other site, mentioned in this article, can offer.
You can choose free music from the Public domain or get licensing rights starting at $15.
PremiumBeat By Shutterstock: For Professional and High-Quality Soundtracks
You can browse audio through Genre, BMP, duration, mood, and even collections like a holiday party, documentary moods, pride music, etc. None of the other royalty-free music sites offer vast and trendy collections.
You can also search by artists, instruments, and advanced options like free tracks, Public domain, and CC. Sifting music through so many filters is bound to match you with your choice of music.
To enhance the search experience PremiumBeat has keyboard shortcuts like favorite artists, go to checkout, add to playlist, etc.
You can get a standard license for $49 or a Premium one for $199.
Musopen: Best for Classical Music
Musopen allows you to browse royalty-free music by composer, performer, instrument, tag, form, period, and license. You can further enhance your search through quality, and ratings given by people. The different periods take you back to the traditional, medieval, renaissance times.
The interface gives you a classical feel as well. It is simple yet sophisticated.
Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, all are present here.
If you are a true lover of classical music, this is the perfect site for you. The licenses include various types of creative commons and public domain. License icons are present against the songs so it becomes easier to identify.
Artlist: For Indie Music
Artlist has the best and most extensive collection of indie music. The interface is professional and slick.
The navigation lets you find your music through filters like mood, video theme, instrument, and genre. The aesthetic makes it exciting to look for the perfect track.
Moreover, you can see the artist and albums that are currently in their spotlight. You can further search by tempo and duration of the track.
They have a free trial sign up. The prices for the music + SFX plan is $299/year or $25/month. If you don’t need SFX you can pay $199/year. Both the categories have unlimited downloads and universal license along with a lifetime use for any project and more features.
TeknoAXE: For Niche Music
Not the prettiest site for royalty-free music, TeknoAXE is straightforward and easy to navigate. It offers limited but quality music. If you overlook its interface aesthetics, it has the biggest advantage.
All songs in TecnoAXE are covered by Creative Common License. You can use the tracks for a credit. It is the best for dance tracks.
You have options like dubstep, electro, breakbeats, etc. You can find some Step Up style music. TeknoAXE is all about niche sounds, from grunge to metal, it features all.
Youtube Audio Library: For Short Video Podcasts
Youtube’s audio library is well known and could be a bit underrated for the same reason. It offers plenty of sound effects and music tracks for free.
Being free does not devalue its quality of music. It is the best site for royalty-free music when you are on a tight budget and need good quality tracks.
The interface is modern. You can refine your search by using groups like track title, genre, mood, artist, duration, and license type.
You can further select the period from the recently added section. The issue is that it takes you back to 2013. You cannot manually select the year. The audios can be quite common, but you need to spend more time to find unique tracks.
When And Where Should You Add Music…
Your podcast music must never be a distraction. Be sure of the kind of music you are adding and keep an eye on the segment that needs music. So which parts need music tracks?
Intro and Outro
You should open and close each of your podcast episodes with a jingle or a soundtrack. It sets the tone for your show and also adds a professional touch.
Your ads should be around 30 seconds, and you can introduce music to keep it engaging and fresh. That said, don’t overwhelm the listener with heavy metal, and a loud soundtrack unless your podcast is about that theme.
Some podcasts require background music. A part of the pleasure comes from good background music. It is ideal for a storytelling or interview podcast. Keep the background music mellow and soft for a well-rounded podcast and an impeccable experience for the listener.
Along with the above-mentioned royalty-free music sites, we also reviewed others that didn’t make it to the list. Here’s why:
1) Amazon: Limited number of tracks, clunky and complicated navigation.
2) Music Vine: Limited tracks
3) Amazing Music Tracks: Hefty subscription plans (starting at $199.95/month for 5 tracks) without any unique advantage.
4) Bensound: Busy site, jarring navigation.
As much as finding good music is important, you should also know when and where to use it. Let’s foolproof your podcast channel.