A vintage record with music note on top over grey background

10 Best Places to Get Free Music for Your Podcast [2022]

Adding music and effects is a great way to polish you podcast, but using illegal music can quickly get you booted off major directories.

In this blog, we share the best podcast music resources, and debunk common about using copyrighted content.

What kind of podcast music can you use?

The vast majority of music is subject to copyright. Artists want to protect their music and get paid when it's used.

Record companies utilize teams of lawyers to find people who violate copyright laws and can have your podcast taken down, or even sue you for violation.

Here are the three kinds of podsafe music.

#1 Creative Commons Music

Creative Commons music allows artists to share their compositions with the world for free.

Creative Commons licenses vary, but they usually let you use a piece of music without getting permission, as long as you give credit to the artist.

Pro tip: Some CC licenses allow for commercial use, but not all do. Be sure to read terms of use carefully before using a track.

#2 Royalty-Free Music

Royalty-free music includes any song you need to make a one-time payment for or have a subscription to use.

Royalty-free podcast music can come with a lifetime license or one that remains active as long as you have an active subscription from the music service where you purchased it.

#3 Public Domain Music

Copyright on a song eventually expires. When it does, the track enters the public domain where you can use it however you see fit.

In the U.S., any music work published in 1926 or before is public domain.

Top 10 podsafe music resources

All the resources on this list are safe to use for your podcast. Still, make sure to read the terms of service for each song as every license varies.

#1. Pixabay

Pixabay hompage

Pixabay is a completely free resource with some of the best royalty-free music, images, and even video.

The platform lets you browse music based on genre and mood and offers a wide variety of sound effects perfect for audio dramas and narration.

All content on the site is copyright-free and released under Pixabay's license, so you don't have to give the artist credit or pay a fee.

#2. Youtube Audio Library

Many creators aren't aware that Youtube has an extensive selection of royalty-free music available for free use and unlimited downloads. You can search the music library by mood, track name, artist, or genre.

If you upload your podcast to Youtube, you can overlay the downloaded track on top of your footage directly on the site.

All you need is a YouTube account to get started.

#3. Incompetech.com

This resource is one of the older, more well-known royalty-free music sites.

All of the music on Incompetech comes from a single artist named Kevin MacLeod. You might recognize some of his songs from other podcasts or Youtube videos.

There are hundreds of songs to choose from in a wide variety of genres, but remember, you do have to give credit to the artist to use a track for free.

#4. 909 Music on Soundcloud

909 Music on Soundcloud

909 Music offers a small but quality library of royalty-free music from a few different artists.

Their music tends to be more modern and cutting-edge, perfect for contemporary intro music, outro music, or theme songs.

You can download unlimited music from the site and don't need to worry about attribution. Just find the track you need, download the file, and incorporate it into your podcast.

#5. Musopen.org

This nonprofit organization offers a wide variety of royalty-free music, with a focus on mostly instrumental music.

You can search based on instrument, composer, or time period (i.e., Renaissance, Baroque, or the 21st century.)

Musopen's search function is intuitive and their rating system makes it easy to spot a good song. You don't even have to make an account to download tracks!

#6. CCMixter.org

CCMixter

CCMixter is a global music community of over 45,000 musicians around the world. The site has encourages users to download, cut up, sample, and share the music.

Since users can upload their own music to CCMixter, it's a less curated experience and might take some time to find your diamond in the rough. But if you need your music for free, we think it's worth checking out.

#7. Freemusicarchive.org

Free Music Archive has an "open source" approach to music, just like CC Mixter.

The archive has a library full of high-quality songs you can safely use for podcasting (be sure to read their FAQ to understand exactly how you can use each song.)

You can also access their library of songs on Android or iOS devices through the FMA app.

#8. Freebeats.io

Freebeats lets content creators use their tracks for free as long as you follow them on social media and give them credit.

This is one of best royalty free music libraries for hip hop, EDM, and electronic music, but doesn’t have a lot of options outside those genres.

#9. Audionautix

Audionautix has a library of background music that is free to use as long as you give appropriate credit.

You can search major categories like cinematic or acoustic or narrow your search by tempo, keyword, or subcategories like “silly” or “suspenseful.”

#10. Purple Planet

Purple Planet homepage

Purple Planet Music is written and performed by creators Chris Martyn and Geoff Harvey.

You can download a free MP3 and give credit to the creators, or purchase a higher quality WAV with a commercial license.

Best paid resources for podcast music

Free music sites are an excellent option for most creators, but some want to use original music listeners won’t hear anywhere else.

These paid resources are a great alternative if you want a more extensive selection of higher-quality jingles and theme songs!

Musicbed

Price: Custom quotes available

Musicbed was created for filmmakers, but has plenty of tracks for podcasters, too. The library has 100+ filters so you can find exactly what you need.

All their songs are curated by vetted musicians and composers to ensure the highest quality.

StockMusic.com

Price: $19.99 a month or $39.95 per track

When you pay for a track on StockMusic, you get a lifetime "synchronization" license that lets you use the song on your podcast indefinitely.

You can browse StockMusic's database by album, track, genre, or even keywords like "relaxed" or "somber."

Once you make a StockMusic account, you can create a cue sheet to help with production. You can also curate a full playlist where you can download and pay for all your tracks at once.

AudioJungle

Price: Starts at $5 per track

AudioJungle

Audiojungle is part of Envato Market and has over 35,000 professional creators and thousands of royalty-free tracks starting at $5 per song.

You can search through the corporate-sounding stock music tracks or find more unique songs composed by indie artists.

Epidemic Sound

Price: $12 a month

Epidemic Sound is a great resource for music and sound effects, especially if you want to use the track on other platforms.

A personal subscription gets you unlimited downloads and can be used on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, and podcasts.

Soundstripe

Price: $19 a month

Soundstripe

If you use a lot of new music on your podcast and don't want to worry about each license's limitations, Soundstripe could be the perfect option for you.

Run by professional musicians, Soundstripe's sound engineers only accept the most exceptional music and sound effects.

The site has 24/7 customer support and unlimited access to thousands of premium songs.

PremiumBeat

Price: $64.95 a month or a single purchase of $49

PremiumBeat by Shutterstock has a large library broken down into 26 genres.

You can search the catalog by genre, mood, instrument, or keyword. A PremiumBeat license lets you use the track for podcasts and video services like YouTube and Vimeo.

Misconceptions about using copyrighted music

At this point, you might be thinking there's a way to get around copyright law so you can use your favorite songs under the radar.

These are the most common internet myths concerning music copyright.

Myth #1: I can use any music if I'm not making money off it.

You're subject to copyright law even if you have a small podcast with only a few downloads and no plans to monetize.

Myth #2: It's okay if I play less than 10 seconds of the song.

The amount of music that you play has no bearing on whether it's legal. Artists can get into plagiarism disputes even if their melody sounds too similar to an existing song!

Myth #3: I can use any music under "fair use."

While fair use is a legitimate defense for using copyrighted material in some cases, you can't use a copyrighted song with the intent to claim fair use.

Myth #4: As long as I give attribution, the artist will understand.

Giving credit to the artist doesn't exempt you from copyright law.

Myth #5: It's okay to use music if I review it on my podcast.

Playing a song you don't have the rights to is a copyright violation, even if you only play a short clip of the track with the purpose of reviewing it.

Final thoughts

To summarize, you cannot use copyrighted music unless you obtain the rights or get explicit written permission, regardless of length, intent, or monetization.

Obtaining the rights to popular songs is too expensive for most podcasters, making other music services the best option for content creators.

Alban Brooke

Alban Brooke

Alban Brooke is the Head of Marketing at Buzzsprout and the co-host of Buzzcast. Have any questions about this guide? Reach out on Twitter.