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Picking the Right Podcast Intro Music

Steven Howsley | September 29, 2020

Need music for your podcast?

If you’re making a podcast episode and it just hit you that you may need some music, you’re probably asking yourself a few questions like:

  • Where do I find licensed music?
  • Do I have to pay for music?
  • How long should the intro be?
  • What’s the right track for me?

If any of those ring true for you and your project, then you’re certainly not alone! There is a lot of confusion and hubbub in the podcast world about intros/music, and while there isn’t just one way to slice a pie we think there are a few fundamentals you should know before picking your perfect track.

Why music matters for podcasts

If you were to think about your favorite podcast, I’m sure music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, while music and emotion do play off each other hand in hand it is almost subconscious to the viewer/listener.

In our experience, music sets the tone for the listeners and brings them to a time and place. By playing the same track in your intro or transition over and over, you’re telling the user that their in a comfortable place and giving them a heads up on what’s to come next.

Music is perfect for transitions, storytelling, and queuing up your perfect story. In short, music is absolutely critical to the overall professional feel and tone of your production. We wrote a post on how music impacts emotion in filmmaking if you want to learn more.

Finding good intro songs for your podcast

As far as licensing music goes, there are tons of royalty-free music sites full of artists who are eager to license their tracks for your project. From subscription based to one-offs, you’ll find no shortage of stock music for podcasts online. So what’s the hard part? Actually finding something good. In our experience, most of the “free” websites out there for stock music don’t have the best quality of music. Shocked? I hope not.

As a side note, please be careful with free stock music websites as some of the licensing terms aren’t always “free” — check out our blog on music licensing basics if you’re new to the game.

Many paid stock music platforms (including our own) are trying their best to curate an archive for you to save the headache of hours of searching for that perfect track. With filters for duration, genre, mood, and more, modern websites make it easier than ever to browse archives of “safe to use” music.

Picking the “right” track

To be honest, there is not going to be the “perfect” track out there for you. Here’s our advice, write down a few things about your podcast and the feeling you want to convey. This could be things like uplifting, inspired, serious, scared, whimsical, etc.

Now when you’re browsing the web for your perfect track, don’t think about length or who the artist is or how much it costs. Just try to narrow down a few options that best fit your general vibe for “right” now. The reason we suggest going this route is because in a digital world, nothing is permanent! There is no need to put extreme pressure on this choice, just find the right track for you today and as your podcast evolves, simply let your sound evolve with it. Simple as that.

In summary, we recommend finding a high-quality track from a legitimate source that fits the personality of your show as it stands today. SongTub does offer a stock music subscription and we’ve gone ahead and curated a select few tracks for podcasts here if you want to take a look. On that note, happy hunting!


Written by Steven Howsley

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