Intros, outros, and in-episode breaks – oh my! Music is an easy way to make your podcast more engaging, but it can also be pricey for the podcaster on a budget.
That’s why were here to tell you about the best free options for podcast music.
5 Places to Get Free Podcast Music
1. CC Mixter
CC Mixter is best defined as a community made up of more than 45,000 musicians from all over the globe.
What you’ll find here are samples, remixes, and acapella sound bytes that you can use in your show.
If you choose to use the music on this website, you’ll need to provide attribution to the artist.
2. Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive has an open-source approach to music. As the website explains, “All songs on FMA are free to access and download.”
Be sure to check out their licensing terms and conditions before downloading any music as some of the music is not approved for commercial use, and can’t be used on a podcast that is monetized.
There is some grey area as to whether or not a podcast is considered commercialized when it’s not directly responsible for a business’s revenue.
We’d recommend erring on the side of caution and sticking with music for commercial use or music in the public domain if your podcast will yield income indirectly or directly.
Musopen is an open source, not for profit organization that provides “free music recordings, sheet music, apps, and educational materials.”
You can download up to five songs per day on their free plan.
Incompetech offer multiple categories of royalty-free music to help you find something that works with your show.
There are multiple licenses for the music on this website, so make sure to read the fine print.
Any music downloaded for free from this website requires attribution. You can also purchase a one-time license to use the music for commercial purposes.
Known widely for their free stock photos, not everyone realizes that Pixabay also has free music, videos, illustrations, and vectors.
They state that their music is all royalty-free, and that it’s available for both commercial and non-commercial use.
You don’t need an account to download music clips, and according to their licensing page, content does not require attribution.
FYI - Using Royalty Free Music For Podcasts
Before we get to the best places to download music for your podcast for free, we need to cover some important tips to ensure you’re using the music legally.
When you first start searching for free podcast music, there are a few key phrases you need to be on the lookout for.
This is intellectual property that can be used without paying royalties.
Some royalty-free music requires an up front fee. Others allow you to use it for free or for one fee until you hit a certain number of downloads.
If you’re using royalty-free music, be sure to read the terms and conditions before using it.
- With this license you must give credit to the original creator (you can include your attribution in your podcast episode description)
This content allows commercial use – meaning if your podcast makes money, you’re still safe to use the content. You can also remix, distribute, build upon, and adapt the material.
- Again you can remix, distribute, build upon, and adapt the material. However, in this case, you must share the content under the same license
This content also allows for commercial use, and requires attribution to the original content creator.
- The content allows for commercial use, and requires attribution. However, you may not adapt, remix, build upon, or alter the sound in any way. It must be used explicitly as it was created.
Your best bet if you want free podcast music without restrictions is to find some that says CCO (also referred to as CC Zero).
CCO content is considered the holy grail because you can do pretty much whatever you want with this content with no conditions.
Music with a CCO designation is safe for commercial use and can be distributed, remixed, adapted, cut, altered, etc.
And, because this content is considered “in the public domain,” you also don’t have to attribute it to anyone, anywhere.
Don’t Sample Licensed Music Without Permission
We should also mention that there is a myth that has been going around for years that you can use any sound byte or musical track in your podcast as long as it’s seven seconds or less.
Some people state the number is 10 seconds or less. Both of these statements are false!
It doesn’t matter how many seconds you use of any song – if you don’t have permission to use it in your podcast, you can face:
- Copyright strikes
- Plagiarism disputes
- Removal from podcast directories, and
- In the worst cases, all of the above