Starting and growing a podcast is hard work. One of the easiest ways to help boost the quality and professional appeal of your podcast is through the use of quality background music and sound effects for your intros, outros, transitions, and to signify key events.
The problem with this type of effort is often the difficulty in finding these quality audio components that don't fall under strict copyright restrictions. Fortunately, there is a way to bypass this and that is through royalty-free music licensing which is an easy and inexpensive way to get quality songs and sound effects that can be used in a podcast without any legal hassles or concerns.
In the remainder of this guide, we are going to touch on 7 of the top websites to find royalty-free music for podcasts. These recommendations will often crossover with our general royalty-free music guide, but we will cater to this article specifically to those which offer a great selection of audio tracks and sound effects that podcasters can utilize.
Best Royalty Free Podcasting Music
One of the leading subscriptions for filmmakers, podcasters and digital media professionals who require a vast library of high-quality audio elements to fit their various projects. There is a lot to like with Soundstripe's flat-rate subscription which ranges from $135/year annually ($19/monthly) up to $252/year for their premium plan (which includes sound effects).
Their user interface is updated with a sleek and clean appeal along with functional search and filtering potential. This makes finding the right music for your podcast episodes simple and doesn't take up too much of your time so you can publish that episode even faster.
From a podcaster's perspective, Soundstripe offers some of the best variety of royalty-free music covering nearly all genres, tempos or moods. Unlike some competing services, the song library within this service is hip and trendy and doesn't suffer from the bland, tacky “stock music” vibe to thus helping to give your podcast a more professional appeal to it.
One of the original royalty-free music subscriptions that gained momentum. AudioBlocks is a subsidy of StoryBlocks, which also offers stock photo and stock video subscriptions. The service has come a long way over the past 18 months as they used to suffer from an outdated interface and weaker collection of music tracks, although they have improved on both song selection and UI recently.
Similar to Soundstripe, AudioBlocks operates as a subscription-based royalty-free music service that offers three flexible pricing plans. These pricing plans range from $99 to $350 per month with different limitations and libraries included (highest plan provides access to royalty-free images, video, and music).
An advantage of AudioBlocks compared to Soundstripe is their ‘Unlimited' plan ($150/year) offers unlimited content usage per month does include sound effects that some creators may require for their podcasts. This is just $15 more than Soundstripe's base plan of $135, which is limited only to songs and more than $100 cheaper than Soundstripe's premium plan that includes sound effects.
A newcomer to the scene is Envato Elements, a longtimer in the industry running marketplace style sites like AudioJungle (mentioned below), CodeCanyon, VideoHive, GraphicRiver, and PhotoDune. However, this approach is entirely different as their royalty free marketplaces sell creative works on a per-file basis. In contrast, their Elements subscription includes unlimited access to over 1.6M digital assets including royalty free songs for one flat monthly rate.
Pricing is reasonable considering you are getting access to not just royalty free music, but graphics, video, photos, fonts, and more. Pricing starts at $199 a year or $33 when monthly, which is higher than our first two recommendations but also includes a lot more.
Given that podcasts are generally relying only on an audio presentation (though some create video podcasts and upload them to YouTube), the extra included creative elements might not necessary for a lot of you. Unfortunately, there isn't any way to purchase a cheaper subscription just for the royalty free music library at this time, although we will update this article should that change.
As mentioned earlier, AudioJungle is an online marketplace for creators to sell their digital assets to other creators, and acts as the middleman for distribution for royalty free digital goods. The beauty of this is you can purchase only the assets that you need without any long-term subscription and often for a low price per song or music track. Pricing starts at just $5/song, which isn't free yet it is ultra-affordable.
Designed to be easy to find and locate music throughout their marketplace, the internal content library spans a lot of styles, moods, and tempos suitable for virtually any podcast. Depending on what you need, they sell individual songs, music packs, sound effects, and logos/idents.
As a podcaster, if you are looking for catchy music clips to use as an intro or outro to your podcast episodes, then you'll want to check out the logos and idents section. These offer short little sound bites that only span a few seconds but are a great way to identify the listener with your brand and signify the start or end of your podcast.
Similar to AudioJungle, Pond5 is a content marketplace that allows composers and creators to sell their digital assets such as royalty free music. Pond5 sells more than just audio tracks offering video footage, sound effects, photos, illustrations, After Effects, and Photoshop files.
However, because it's a marketplace, you only buy what you want or need, thus saving you money on subscription costs if you only need a few music tracks or sound effects throughout the year. Pricing starts at $15+ for most music and $2+ for sound effects.
Depending on what type of audio needs you may have for your podcast episodes, Pond5 likely has you covered. However, given the increased royalty free licensing costs and comparable sound library to AudioJungle, we think it's a tougher sell for most podcasters. Due to this, we recommend that you shop around before blindly buying any royalty free music from Pond5 for your future podcast episodes.
A lesser-known provider of royalty-free music for podcasters is HookSounds. Creators designed the service for creators with curated lists of audio tracks that fit any need. One thing that we respect a lot about HookSounds is their dedication to adequately compensate their contributors, giving them 70% of the proceeds from all sales earned.
The downside of HookSounds is its costly membership, which is rather expensive. The annual plan costs $348 and gives you the ability to download and use an unlimited amount of royalty free music tracks within their library throughout the year. Switching to the monthly plan, the pricing jumps up to $69 per month. Worst of all, their monthly plan is limited to just ten songs downloads per month, thus lowering the overall value.
Their royalty free music library is not bad, but limited in depth and variety compared to some of the top picks within this guide. There are no sound effects included in the membership, so you won't be able to add any in your podcast episodes unless you can access them through another competing royalty free service provider.
A newcomer in the royalty-free audio subscription market, Artlist has done a lot right in a short amount of time. The interface is sleek, but a bit too busy for our taste and just not as clean as Soundstripe's UI. From a cost perspective, Artlist is on the higher end given what you are getting in return. They only offer one annual pricing plan for $199/year with no flexibility for monthly payments.
While this price isn't anything outrageous, we just think the lack of sound effects and comparable music library to SoundStripe or AudioBlocks makes it a tougher sell due to the competition. Overall, Artlist does offer a great deal of appropriate music for podcasts so be sure to check it out.
What About Using Copyrighted Music?
Using copyrighted music within your episodes can be a big mistake that a low of aspiring creators make when they first begin their podcasting journey.
Ending Summary: Best Royalty Free Podcast Songs
This ends our round up of the best royalty free music websites for use in podcasts. While none of these options are free to use, they all offer an affordable way to legally license and use copyrighted tracks within your future content.
If you need a further recommendation or have any questions regarding intro or background music that you'd like to incorporate into your podcast episodes, leave us a comment below. We will do our best to help you find the right royalty free music service provider for the best value on the dollar.
We hope you found this guide helpful for audio usage in your future podcasts!
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.