Podcast Music Licensing – A Comparison of Royalty-Free Music Sites for Podcasters

Podcast Music LicensingThis is a question we get asked frequently: I’m a podcaster and would like some music to use on my podcast intro and outro. What are the licensing restrictions?

We’ve done the research for you so that you can know exactly where you stand when deciding what music you’d like to use when creating the audio branding for your own podcast. This research was conducted during February 2015, and music licensing is something that changes frequently, so please use our findings only as a guide and be sure to conduct your own investigations when making a decision about who to buy from.

Responses from Royalty-Free Music Companies

At the end of this article, you’ll find a handy comparison table. Now, here is a compilation of the questions we asked and replies we received from the biggest royalty-free online music providers:

audiojungleAudioJungle

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

If you purchase the Music Standard license, there will be a restriction of 10,000 downloads; with a Music Mass Reproduction License, the number is unlimited.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

If the end product is the same, or part of the same series, a single license will be fine, however, if the item is being used for a different end product or purpose, you will require another license.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

It’s okay if your podcast and/or youtube videos are monetized. :)

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

As you are using the item in a series, you would only require a single license. However, because of this, there is a 1 year, or 52 episode, restriction for using an item in a series, in which case you will simply have to purchase a new license upon reaching either mark. I encourage you to review this FAQ on using items in a series: http://audiojungle.net/licenses/faq#what-constitutes-series-a

beatsuiteBeatsuite

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

When you license a track you can use it again and again forever so you’ll never have to re-license it.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Our standard license which is $80.00 covers pretty much any online use, whether as a Podcast or on YouTube. When you license a track you can use it again and again forever so you’ll never have to re-license it.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

If your Podcast is pay-to-download, then you will need a different license. This is then classed as Mass Production, similar to DVD production etc where you need a license to cover the number of sales of your Podcast, as if it were a physical CD or DVD. The standard license permits up to 1,000 copies/sales, so if you plan to exceed this number you will need a separate license.

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

When you license a track you can use it again and again forever so you’ll never have to re-license it.

dig.ccmixterdig.ccmixter

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

There is no limit as long as you Attribute and use the right kind of license. (commercial vs. noncommercial) – you’ll need the Attribution to be part of the audio, so the Attribution follows.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Yes. As long as you properly Attribute and use the right kind of license.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

If you use CC BY tracks or buy ccPlus license you can make money. You cannot use tracks with CC BY NC licenses to make money.
http://dig.ccmixter.org/free
http://dig.ccmixter.org/ccplus

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

Forever with proper Attribution.

Finally, are there any other licensing restrictions I should be aware of as a podcaster?

Here’s some detail on how to Attribute — you should Attribute in the podcast itself and also the webpages/video descriptions so you can provide a clickable link to the Artist’s track on ccMixter.
http://ccmixter.org/how-to-attribute-ccmixter-tracks

fiverrFiverr

The response from Fiverr:

According to our terms of service: “Unless clearly stated otherwise on the sellers Gig page/description, when the work is delivered, and subject to payment, the buyer is granted all intellectual property rights, including but not limited to, copyrights for the work delivered from the seller, and the seller waives any and all moral rights therein. The delivered work shall be considered work-for-hire under the U.S. Copyright Act.”

You can read more about this in the Ownership section at the bottom of our Terms of Service (just before the section in all caps): https://www.fiverr.com/terms_of_service

May I recommend that you contact several sellers before placing your order, and ask them the questions that you have asked us? This will help you to select a seller from which you would like to order.

Sellers can be contacted from their Gig pages or from their profile page.

JewelBeatJewelBeat

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

If you are intending to use our music and may have more than 1 million views or plays, you may want to upgrade to the extended license which gives you unlimited views/downloads etc. Our license has no renewal and does not expire.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Our music works perfectly for podcast and YouTube and yes you can use our music for commercial productions (ie podcast that makes money) with our standard license.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

Yes you can use our music for commercial productions (ie podcast that makes money) with our standard license.

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

If you are intending to use our music and may have more than 1 million views or plays, you may want to upgrade to the extended license which gives you unlimited views/downloads etc. You can do so later if needed or upgrade immediately – it’s really up to you.

The Music BakeryThe Music Bakery

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

No.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Yes.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

Yes, it is OK.

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

There are no time restrictions. After you purchase and download our music, you may use it, with no license renewals, forever.

Music Radio CreativeMusic Radio Creative

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

All audio you buy from us is provided on a royalty free basis – so there are no restrictions whatsoever on the number of downloads your podcast reaches.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Yes that’s perfectly fine. Projects don’t have to be related (you could start a new podcast and use the same music for it).

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

When ordering music or podcast branding elements we don’t restrict the license based on the revenue your podcast brings.

If you purchase commercial adverts for your podcast with both production elements and voice over where you are selling a specific product or service – again the purchase would not be restricted to whether you make money or not – we would simply class it as a commercial and license it for a specific use (example: online adverts or online and local radio etc). Basic online usage license is usually granted for unlimited online usage and with no time restrictions.

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

No restrictions and you can continue using your audio for however long you would like.

Neo SoundsNEO Sounds

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

There are 2 types of licenses available – standard and mass market. The standard license covers up to 10000 copies/downloads. The mass market license covers unlimited number of copies/downloads. All prices on the website represent the cost of the standard license. The cost of the mass market license is calculated as the cost of the standard license x 2.5

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Yes, you can use the same music in as many of your own projects as you want and you do not need to purchase a separate license for each of your projects. However, as I mentioned, the standard license cover up to 10000 copies/downloads in total (for all of your projects). You can start with the standard license and upgrade to the mass market if necessary.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

Yes it’s ok. However, as I mentioned, the standard license cover up to 10000 copies/downloads in total (for all of your projects)

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

Our licenses are perpetual.

PremiumBeatPremiumBeat

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

If your podcast is paid or has advertising, the Standard License will cover you for up to 1,000 downloads. After 1,000 downloads, you would need to upgrade to our Mass Duplication License (more information on our licenses is available at http://www.premiumbeat.com/license).

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Our Standard Licenses are valid for an unlimited number of projects provided the projects fall within the terms of the license. This license also covers YouTube and other online use so, you are most definitely able to use it on your YouTube channel.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

Yes. However, the Standard License will cover you for only up to 1,000 downloads. After 1,000 downloads, you would need to upgrade to our Mass Duplication License (more information on our licenses is available at http://www.premiumbeat.com/license).

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

The majority of our licenses are valid in perpetuity.

Shockwave SoundShockwave-Sound

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

No restrictions when your purchase the “Extended License” type.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Yes. You can do all of the things you mention in your email, under one single, one-time license from our website, so long as that one license you purchase is the “Extended License” type.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

Yes. You can use it in your Podcast that is sold for money, as well as on your YouTube channel, and in all other types of uses that is connected to the same main project.

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

The “Extended License” is a one-time license purchase that lasts forever.

Shutterstock MusicShutterstock Music

Is there a license restriction on the number of downloads my podcast may have?

No, there is no restriction on downloads. Our licenses offer unlimited audiences for productions distributed via the internet, or in radio/podcasts.

May I use the music and/or production in more than one online project (for instance on my YouTube channel in addition to my podcast) to keep my branding consistent?

Our licenses are project specific, so you will be able to use the music on a podcast (across different episodes). You could use it on YouTube as long as the channel is directly related to your podcast (ie. the video feed of your podcast’s episode recording). If it was for a different project then you would need to re-license the piece.

Is it OK if my podcast makes money or will that require a different license?

It is okay if your podcast makes money. (In fact, we hope it makes a lot of money :))

Are there any time usage restrictions or can I use the audio for free, with no license renewals, forever?

Our licenses are royalty-free, world-wide, and in-perpetuity, which means you can use the music forever.

Finally, are there any other licensing restrictions I should be aware of as a podcaster?

While you can use the music on your podcast as transition music between subjects, etc., it cannot be used “as a musical theme in connection with a …web production.” The reason behind this restriction is that using it as a theme (as the opening or closing music) would connect your branding directly to the piece thereby diminishing others’ ability to use it.

A solution I can offer you is exclusive licensing that would give you the necessary rights to use it as your theme music. If this is something that you are interested in, please let me know and I could give you more information about it.

Other Royalty-Free Music Providers

We also reached out to Incompetech, royaltyfreemusic.com, Freeplay Music and AudioBlocks with the above questions but, as of yet, have not received any response. We’ll make sure to update this article as and when new information becomes available.

Royalty-Free Music Licensing Comparison Table

Royalty Free Music Licensing Comparison

Provider
Download Restriction
Multiple Projects
Making Money
Time Restrictions
Response Time
AudioJungle
10,000 (standard license) or unlimited (mass reproduction license)
Partial
Yes
Yes
52 episodes or 1 year
1 day
Beatsuite
Unlimited
Yes

No
(requires mass production license)
None
1 hour
dig.ccmixter
Unlimited (must attribute work)
Yes
(must attribute work)
Varies
None
(must attribute work)
1 day
Fiverr
Varies
Varies
Varies
Varies
4 days
JewelBeat
1,000,000 (standard license) or unlimited (extended license)
Yes
Yes
None
1 day
The Music Bakery
Unlimited
Yes
Yes
None
2 hours
Music Radio Creative
Unlimited
Yes
Yes
None

n/a
NEO Sounds
10,000 (standard license) or unlimited (mass market license)
Yes
Yes
None
1 day
Premium Beat
1,000 (standard license) or unlimited (mass duplication license)
Yes
Yes
None
(in most cases)
2 hours
Shockwave Sound

Unlimited
(extended license only)
Yes
(extended license only)

Yes
(extended license only)

None
(extened license only)
5 hours
Shutterstock Music
Unlimited (may not be used as intro or outro theme music)
Varies
Yes
None
1 day

Music Licensing Conclusion

This is a subject that is not always black and white, and it is essential that you do your own research on any vendor before making a purchase.

Your results may vary and remember that just because other providers have certain restrictions and usage limitations in place, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a perfectly good piece of music that fits your podcast’s unique needs from any of the above providers.

What’s Your Experience with Podcast Music Licensing?

Now it’s over to you! What challenges have you come up against when searching for the perfect track to use on your podcast audio branding? Let us know in the comments.

4 Reasons to Outsource Your Audio Production

Audio Production

Audio Production

Well produced audio can be a great method of promoting a marketing campaign, adding an identity to your radio station or podcast. However, they need capture the listener’s attention within a very limited time window, so it’s important to get audio sounding right. You could create outstanding audio yourself by learning advanced audio production techniques but have you considered outsourcing audio production?

Here are four reasons to outsource your radio jingles:

1. You Gain Audio Expertise

When you outsource, you gain the expertise of the audio production company as well as the final product such as the produced radio jingles or audio commercials. It’s important to understand the different styles of audio production, and their suitability for different target markets depending on who your target listener or customer is.

2. Help Understanding Your Target Audience

Who is my ideal listener? What kind of music will appeal to your target audience? These are all very important questions – the type of music that would appeal to a younger generation is very different to that which would appeal to an older generation. Understanding the target market is necessary and once you outsource you’ll gain input and help with tricky processes, such as script writing, from audio production experts.

3. You’ll Get The Sound You Want

You might have a good idea of what you want from a jingle but don’t have the production skills necessary to create it. Is there a cool audio production effect you’ve heard somewhere else? When you outsource, you’ll be able to communicate your exact requirements to audio producers and have confidence they’ll have the necessary skills and professional equipment to deliver.

4. It’ll Save You Time and Money

How much is your own time worth? When you outsource, you can guarantee that the finished product will sound great and impress others without the need to spend hours producing it yourself. The production of a radio jingle is a demanding and time consuming process, especially when you don’t have the expertise needed to produce outstanding jingles. Your time could be better spent doing what you enjoy doing which means that, unless you love learning audio production, it’s often more cost-effective to outsource.

Using Audio to Make Your Podcast Outstanding

Podcast Branding

Podcast Branding

Podcasts are primarily designed to inform and advise their listeners, but we must keep in mind that nobody wants to listen to a robot. Similarly, audiences don’t want to hear the same sounds and voices time and time again – meaning that to keep those listeners coming, a unique sound is always the right choice.

That’s why popular free music libraries like those available inside GarageBand or the YouTube Audio Library, while high in quality, will not help your podcast to stand out from the crowd.

Why Should My Podcast Be Different?

It’s important to remember that podcasts are another branch of social media for any business or individual; just like Twitter or Facebook, a podcast can be used to attract new consumers and establish a close connection with current customers as well. Therefore, when considering how to inject a little vitality into your podcast, you must also consider what effect you want your podcast to have upon your client base, and how you want to present your brand to those clients. Here are some helpful hints and tips to consider when making your podcast personal.

Selecting a Podcast Jingle or Intro

First impressions are always important to an audience, and more often than not they’ll establish their thoughts on your podcast based on its introduction. It’s important to research what users would expect from your industry’s podcasts in general, but also remember that you’re trying to establish something original. You can use a custom jingle or intro to give your podcast personality, to make it stand out from others in the same niche.

Your Voice Choice Is Your Brand Voice

General voiceovers for a podcast needs to be informative yet entertaining at the same time – an ability to engage with your client base across the air waves is essential when it comes to selecting a voiceover. Imagine you are a new listener to your podcast and ask yourself some questions. What do I expect when I listen to this show? What sort of voice is the best fit for the material? Consider the answers to these questions as you develop the brand voice for your podcast, making sure that the voiceover artist you choose fits the bill.

Substance over Style for Your Podcast

It’s all very well giving your podcast a little bit of shine, but you can never ignore a podcast with strong content. No amount of polish and elegance can mask a poorly planned episode with little value to it. If you can offer a unique and interesting take on your industry – perhaps because of your speciality, or your experiences as an individual – then do so! Work hard on the content of your podcast and ensure that it’s offering your audience exactly what it asks for – that alone will give your podcast an injection of personality it needs to stand out!

Check out some examples of podcast intros we’ve created at Music Radio Creative.