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How To Stay Legal and Keep Your Listeners Hooked: The Ultimate Guide to Using Music In Your Podcast

May 23, 2024 Deciphr AI
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So, you’re looking to add some sizzle to your show. Music is the way to go. But I get it. Those copyright laws got you tip-toeing over eggshells. Well, my friend, you're in luck!  Because in this ultimate guide, I'm gonna show you how to legally use music in your podcast and keep your audience hooked from start to finish. 

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and get ready to learn some killer tips that will take your podcast to the next level.

This is what we’ll cover in a nutshell:

  • How to captivate the audience with sound
  • Understanding copyright laws and fair use
  • The Dos and Don'ts of using music in your podcast
  • The hassle-free solution to your audio needs
  • Tips to using music in your podcast


Captivating Your Audience with Music

Picture this—you're in your car, stuck in traffic, and you turn on your favorite podcast. Suddenly, a catchy tune starts playing in the background, and you feel yourself tapping your foot along to the beat. That's the power of music. It can enhance any experience, including your podcast.

Music can create an emotional connection with your audience, set the tone for your show, and make your content more memorable. But before you hit that play button, it's essential to understand the legalities surrounding the use of music in your podcast.

Using copyrighted music without permission can result in hefty fines and legal consequences.

So, how can you safely incorporate music into your podcast? Well, you simply have to understand copyright law and fair use. But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you think. 

Copyright laws and fair use are two key concepts that podcasters need to understand when using music in their podcast. Copyright laws give the creator of the music exclusive rights to use and distribute their work. As a podcaster, you need to obtain permission from the copyright owner or use royalty-free music when using copyrighted music in your podcast.

Fair use allows for limited use of copyrighted material without permission under certain circumstances. These include using music for commentary, criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. However, it's important to note that fair use can be a complex legal area and it's best to seek legal advice if you're unsure about whether your use of the music falls under fair use.

It's important to understand the difference between fair use and permission. While fair use allows for limited use of copyrighted material, it doesn't provide permission to use the music in your podcast. Permission from the copyright owner is always the safest route to take when using copyrighted music in your podcast. If you're unable to obtain permission or use royalty-free music, it's best to avoid using copyrighted music altogether to avoid any potential legal issues.

As a podcaster, it's crucial to respect the rights of musicians and music creators by obtaining permission or using royalty-free music.

By doing so, you can avoid any potential legal issues and also support the music industry.

Copyright law can be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to music. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when using music in your podcast.

  • Obtain Permission: The easiest and most straightforward way to use copyrighted music in your podcast is to obtain permission from the owner of the copyright. This can usually be done by contacting the music publisher or record label directly.
  • Use Royalty-Free Music: Another option is to use royalty-free music. Royalty-free music is music that can be used without the need for permission from the copyright owner. This type of music is often available for purchase from music libraries or online marketplaces.
  • Use Creative Commons Licensed Music: Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers free legal tools to creators to allow them to share their work with others. Creative Commons licenses allow creators to share their work with specific conditions, such as requiring attribution or prohibiting commercial use. Using music with a Creative Commons license can be a great way to legally use music in your podcast.
  • Use Music That is in the Public Domain: Music that is in the public domain is not protected by copyright law and can be used freely. This includes music that was created before 1925 or music that has had its copyright expire.
  • Use Short Clips of Music: Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows for limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the owner. Using short clips of music in your podcast may fall under fair use, but it's important to consult with a legal expert to determine if your use is legal.

Royalty-Free Music: The Hassle-Free Solution to Your Audio Needs

If you want to use music in your podcast without worrying about obtaining permission or facing legal issues, royalty-free music might be the perfect solution for you.

Royalty-free music is a type of music that can be used without the need for permission from the copyright owner.

You can find royalty-free music from various sources, including music libraries and online marketplaces. These platforms offer a wide range of high-quality tracks that can fit the style and tone of your podcast. 

One of the most popular sources for royalty-free music is Epidemic Sound. This platform has a vast library of music tracks that can be easily searched and filtered by genre, mood, and other categories.

AudioJungle is another great source of royalty-free music. It's a marketplace where you can purchase individual tracks or entire music packs at affordable prices. AudioJungle also offers a wide variety of music genres, making it easy to find the perfect track for your podcast.

PremiumBeat is another option for finding royalty-free music. This platform offers a curated selection of high-quality tracks, with new music added regularly. PremiumBeat also provides a range of search filters and categories to help you find the perfect track for your podcast.

When using royalty-free music, it's important to make sure the tracks you choose fit the style and tone of your podcast. It's also a good idea to use high-quality tracks to ensure your podcast sounds professional and polished. With royalty-free music, you can add a musical element to your podcast without the hassle of obtaining permission or worrying about legal issues.

Tips for Using Music in Your Podcast

Using music in your podcast can enhance the listening experience and add to the overall atmosphere of your show. However, it's important to use it sparingly and thoughtfully. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use music sparingly

While music can be a great addition to your podcast, it's important not to overdo it. Too much music can be distracting and take away from the content of your show. It's best to use music to bookend segments or to introduce and close out the show.

Match the music to the mood

Make sure the music you choose fits the tone and style of your podcast. For example, if you're producing a light-hearted comedy podcast, you may want to choose upbeat, energetic music. On the other hand, if you're producing a true crime podcast, you may want to choose darker, more ominous music to set the mood.

Consider the length of the music

When using music in your podcast, it's important to make sure it doesn't overpower your content.

Consider using shorter music clips or fading out the music when you're ready to move on to the next segment of your show. This ensures that the focus remains on the content of your podcast, rather than the music.

As mentioned earlier, it's important to make sure you have the rights to use the music in your podcast. You don't want to face legal issues down the road. It's best to either create your own music or use royalty-free music that's available for use.

Create a playlist

Consider creating a playlist of songs that fit the theme of your podcast. This makes it easier to choose music for each episode and ensures that the music fits the overall vibe of your show.

Be consistent

If you choose to use music in your podcast, try to be consistent with when and how you use it. This helps establish a rhythm for your show and makes it easier for listeners to follow along.


Using music in your podcast can add depth, emotion, and interest to your content. However, it’s essential to understand the legal implications of using copyrighted music and to follow best practices to avoid any legal issues.

By using royalty-free music, Creative Commons music, or obtaining permission from the copyright owner, you can legally incorporate music into your podcast.

Remember to always credit the artist or the website where you obtained the music and to use small portions of copyrighted music in a transformative way.

By following these guidelines and being mindful of fair use and copyright law, you can create a podcast that stands out and captures your audience’s attention.