Ways to Spice Up Your Podcast with Music

discover great podcast music and sound effects

Music can make or break your podcast. Do it right, and music provides a great way to kick off your show while gently guiding your audience through your entire episode. It’s the glue that holds the whole thing together. Do it wrong, or fail to use music at all, and your audience may feel like something is off- even if they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. Personally, I believe music is a must for your podcast. So, let’s talk about ways you can spice things up.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode…

  • Ways you can use music in your podcast
  • How sound effects can impact your show
  • Ways to easily add music and sound effects to your episodes
  • Common mistakes podcasters make with music

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Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

The music can make or break your podcast, do it right. And music provides a great way to kick off your show and gently guide your audience through your entire episode. It’s the glue that holds the whole thing together, do it wrong, or failed to use music at all. And your audience may feel like something is a little bit off, even if they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. Personally, I believe music is a must for your podcast. So let’s talk about ways you can spice things up. Take it away, radio man! Podcast Your Business.

Hey, everybody, and happy November. How did that happen? Welcome to Podcast Your Business. I’m Sunny Gault. I am a podcast coach and mentor. And I’ve been podcasting for over 17 years. I’m also the founder and CEO of Independent Podcast Network. And I’m here to help you create amazing podcasts for your business. I believe this is a great way entrepreneurs and small businesses can connect with people and get to know people a little bit better tell them about their products and services in a way that’s more intimate and personal and creates long lasting relationships. So that’s my focus here. And to create amazing podcast, we do this by mastering the Five P’s of podcasting. So let’s review the Five Ps of podcasting. If you guys have listened to the show for a while you guys should be able to recite these. So let’s go through it pretty quickly. Prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. And I talk about these five P’s in my online podcast course. It’s called “How to launch your profitable podcast in 30 days”, there’s a link in the description if you want more information on that. And then each of these episodes, we take a look at a different P. And we kind of dive into that a little bit more. So radio man, what are we talking about today? Produce.

Yeah, we’re talking about producing your show, specifically, the role that music plays and your podcast, I want you to think about that for a second. Think about your show. For those of you who have already launched a show, or if you’re planning to launch a show, what kind of role will music have for your podcast? Now music is pretty magical. When you think about it, it is made up of frequencies and vibrations that can literally impact a person’s mood. It’s why you think of your sweetheart every time you hear a beautiful love song, or why you naturally start headbanging when you hear heavy metal. And in podcasting, you’re primarily focused on your sense of hearing, at least if you have an audio podcast, right? So you’re really relying on people’s hearing to bring the story to life communicate the information clearly, which makes using music. And I’m also going to throw in sound effects here, even more important. So let’s talk about what we’re going to learn today, we’re gonna go over ways you can use music and your podcast, because you want your podcast to flow really well, right, you don’t want any awkward spots. And music can be a really great way to fill in the gaps and really enhance what you’re trying to say. So I’ve learned a few things over the years about where to put music and maybe where not to put music. So I’m going to share those with you today. And we’re also going to talk about sound effects. Because when I say music, I’m kind of combining music and sound effects together. Depending on the format for your podcast, sound effects can be really, really cool. We’ll talk about adding music and sound effects to your show. So do you do this at the end? Is there any way to do this as you’re recording content? Wink wink. And this is a big one common mistakes podcasters make with music. There are a few that I see in a bunch of different shows. You know, I’ve been podcasting for a long time editing, a lot of podcasts coaching a lot of podcasters. These are just simple things that can be fixed really easily. And so I’m going to share this with you today. And I’m also going to give you my favorite resource for finding the best podcast music ever. And yes, I know that is a huge claim. But if I didn’t have this resource, you guys, I don’t know what I would do. It has dramatically simplified how I find music and sound effects for my podcast. The whole process is just super easy now and it’s not expensive. It’s extremely affordable. And if that isn’t a good tease, I don’t know what is. So we’ll be right back after this quick break.

All right, guys, I want you to think about your favorite scary movie because as of today’s recording, it was just a couple of days ago we had Halloween, and it seemed like everyone was playing scary music, you know is walking up and down the streets in my neighborhood with my kiddos and they were playing the music from the movie Halloween, you know with Michael Myers and it’s really creepy music. If you Don’t know what it sounds like, maybe pause this podcast, do a quick Google search and just listen to the music for a second because it is a little freaky. Now, I want you to picture yourself watching your favorite scary movie. Maybe it’s the one from Halloween, but the movie is muted. You know, you had to go take a phone call and you forgot to turn it back on. Suddenly, that movie is not so scary anymore, right? Do you guys remember the movie Jaws? You knew the shark was coming to attack every time you heard Dun, dun, dun and right and then your palms got all sweaty. So I am explaining all this because music is extremely powerful. It can literally make or break your podcast. So let’s talk about some ways that you can include music within your podcast. One of the first things that I think about is having music in your intro. Sometimes people call this a theme song. I do know some people that have created theme songs. Maybe you guys subscribe to podcasts where there’s legitimate theme songs. But you don’t really need that, right. And you don’t really need to use the same song over and over again. For example, for podcast your business, if you haven’t noticed, I use a different song in the intro every time. I don’t really have a quote unquote theme song for that. That’s not what this show is all about. If I was really trying to build a huge brand, just around podcast, your business, maybe I would do something similar, you know, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. Now I do something different with my parenting show. So you guys know, in addition to doing this podcast, I really got started in podcasting by doing pregnancy and parenting shows. And those shows are still around and I’m still producing episodes for them. And in that case, I do use the same song. And I combine it with a voiceover to create kind of a pre recorded show intro. So that’s another option. So it can be your voice. You can hire voiceover artists to do it. I’m not a huge fan of that. I really think it should be your voice just so people aren’t thrown off. Like there was this big fancy intro right? And then you come on in, you’re like, Hi, welcome to my podcast. Now that your voice would sound like that. I’m just saying I have heard that on other podcasts. So since we’re talking about this, let me just play a quick example. So this is the intro from one of my podcast, Preggie Pals. Again, we use the same music and we kind of created our own little intro. Take a listen…. (Preggie Pals intro plays).

Okay, so that’s how I do it for the show, Preggie Pals and you could hear my voice and their right. So they’re kind of getting an idea. Oh, that’s Sunny’s voice. So it’s not gonna seem so strange when Sunny gets on the microphone later. But I had a bunch of people. So you know, for that show. I have guests on the show. And then as I recorded my podcast, I would just say hey, do you mind voicing a few lines? You know, I had a bunch of like, funny pregnancy one liners. And I would just say, hey, you know, can you voice some of this for me when we record I’m creating a new intro for the show. And they were happy to do it. So that’s how I got the other voices. I didn’t pay for it. These were just guests on my show. And you know, it’s kind of a funny little intro. And I’ve done this with multiple shows that way. So that’s just one example. Now I would try to keep your show intros. If you’re going to have something like that, keep it short and sweet. What we are seeing now in podcasting is kind of a shift to having a shorter intro and getting into the content right away. When I originally created these podcasts, it was about 12. Let’s see 2012. So less, what is that 10 years, maybe 11, almost 11 years ago, because I had to do the pre-production on the show. So it’s been a while. But now when I coach clients, I tell them to keep their intro short and sweet. I would say 15 to 20 seconds max and get right into your content. So that’s the first point having some sort of show intro and theme song that people recognize your show. Right? That’s the whole point of having a theme song.

Next, let’s talk about transitions. There are a couple different ways to use music to go from one thing to the next. Because remember, again, people are if you’ve got an audio podcast, people are listening to your show. So they’re focused on you know, the auditory senses, right and listening. So they can’t see a visual transition. So you need to do that through music, right. And the most common ways to do that are through commercial breaks. And I can give you some examples of that too. I do that all the time with the parenting shows. Actually even here in podcast your business. There’s that little sound. That sound you just heard that indicate So we’re going into a commercial break. And if people listen to the podcast long enough, when they hear that they’re going to instantly know, okay, we’re transitioning, we’re going into something else. And I also do that with little bits and pieces of music as well. So that was more of an example of a sound effect. But you can do that with music, and then also in between segments. So if you set up your podcast so that, you know, it’s not just one interview, but maybe you’ve got a segment off the top where you read mail, or you know, emails from your listeners, and then you want to transition into something else, having some music having a sound effect is a great way to do that. Also, think about music as a background, to your podcast to your episode. When I record Podcast Your Business, I record just the information, right, the tracks what I’m saying right now, and then I will go back and I will add music. So I’ll go to my favorite sight, which I’m going to tell you about in just a little bit. And I download the music, and then I figure out where I want it to start playing in the show, I just kind of space it out a little bit. I just think it helps with the flow of the podcast. You don’t have to do it. I mean, sometimes the conversation is lively enough. But when you just have one person talking, sometimes you need a little bit of music in the background. And now you’re going to be listening right now to listen to all the music I’m playing in the show. And you should, because that’s a great way to learn about what you like and don’t like for your own podcast. So if it’s in the background, maybe you’re building up to a more emotional time in the show, you know, maybe someone’s sharing a very personal story and you want to enhance that, you know, it’s not tricking the audience or anything, you’re building up a part of the show. It’s part of putting a podcast together, right? This is part entertainment, we have to be entertaining you are you’re not going to listen to the podcast, right? We’re giving you good information, but it’s also entertainment. So build into that use music to help you with that.

And then of course we have our outro. So when we’re wrapping up our show, we want to leave people on a high note at least I like to on my shows. So it’s more upbeat music and then you may have other things that you want to promote at the end. So maybe you’re talking about your website, there may be disclaimers and things that you have to give for my parenting shows I have a medical disclaimer that I run and, you know, disclaimers can be super duper boring. So what I did for my show, since this is focused on parents, I had a little kid read the medical disclaimer at the end. So that makes it a little bit more interesting. And then I also add music. So take a listen to this… (plays Preggie Pals Disclaimer). Okay, so she is super duper cute. But even a little girl reading a medical disclaimer can get boring. So I’m gonna cut that off for you guys. I’m just trying to give you some ideas of ways that you can take things that need to be included in your show that may not be the most exciting, and liven them up a bit. So adding music to your outro whatever you’re going to say at the end of your show is a great way to round out your podcast episode. So those are some ways you can use music and your podcast.

Let’s talk a little bit about sound effects. Do you guys like sound effects? I’m a big fan. If you guys listen to the radio in the morning, a lot of times radio DJs will use sound effects. You can do the same thing in your podcast. In fact, I think Mr. radio man, I treat him like a sound effect. Right? It was a voiceover actor that I hired on Fiverr. And I’m happy to give you guys as information if you want to use Mr. radio man in your show totally fine just mentioned he’s from podcast, your business and we’re all good. These are just ways to help your show flow a little bit better, guys. Okay. And this is great for narrative podcasts. If you think about some of your favorite shows where they’re telling a story. Maybe it’s a scary story and you hear footsteps creaking up to the haunted house, right? Or maybe you have a little bit more fun on your show. And every time you introduce a guest you hear something like this, or you and your co host are chatting it up and they don’t have an answer to your question. And you hear this (cricket sound effect). It’s crickets get it. So as you can tell, I like to have fun with sound effects. And it could be really great for your show too. So consider using that. I also lump in jingles with this. I have hired people again through Fiverr to create different jingles for segments that I’m working on, you know, and they voice it and they put music behind it. So there’s just so much you can do.

Let’s talk about how to get music and sound effects into your show. Can you edit it into your show later? Yes, absolutely. For those of you who don’t want to do a lot of editing though, there are a couple recommend stations that I have. And I talked about one of these options, I believe it was last week when we’re talking about editing. So there is a podcast recording platform, it’s called Zencastr, I’ve done some work for them in the past, I know them really well. And they do have a way to incorporate sound effects into your recording as you’re recording it. So it saves it as a separate track. If you want more information on that, you can go to https://zencastr.com. And research that a little bit more. And there may be other services that do it, but that’s the one that I’m aware of. And for those of you who can invest a little bit more in equipment, look up Rodecaster Pro, or Rodecaster Pro II, it’s their latest version. I have one sitting here right in front of me. Now, this does a bunch of cool things. But one of the functionalities of this is it has this beautiful light-up keypad. And you can pre-program any kind of sound effects, you could record something on your own, or you can bring in other sound effects. And I don’t even remember what’s programmed here, I’m just going to push some buttons and see what happens. What does this do? Oh, okay, what about this. It’s just fun with buttons today, guys. So you can program this however you want, it does cost a little bit of money, I would say $700ish, depending on where you get it. But if you’re in it to win it, and podcasting, and you know, you want to have some fun, this does a bunch of different things. So check that out.

Now, here are some of the common mistakes that a lot of podcasters make when it comes to music and sound effects. First of all, they make it way too loud. Now, I know this is a little bit of a challenge in general, because sometimes you download a sound effect or music and it’s not at the right level. So um, this can be kind of a nightmare thing in general. But you want to make sure that your music is something that people can still hear. But they can also clearly hear the people that are talking over it. So listen to the music that’s underneath this track right now. You can still hear me fine. But the music is there to support what I’m saying. And to help with the continuity of the show. That’s the way it should sound. You also want to make sure your music is a good fit. Believe it or not, I have seen people use wackadoodle music that I’m like, Why in the world would you have that you also want to make sure that it’s not distracting. You know, you don’t want to have music that’s too loud if it’s more of a somber moment in your show, or if suddenly the music breaks out with a drum beat. And you can barely hear what the person is saying Keep in mind, tracks vary, okay, so something may start out slower and crescendo, right, it gets louder at a certain point. So you want to make sure that you listen all the way through to make sure it doesn’t get too loud and distracting at any point in your show. I also find that people can spend a little too much time trying to find the perfect piece of music. Because when you subscribe to the sites, there’s a ton of music to go through. So here is my lesson. And what I do when I’m looking for music, the moment I find a piece of music that could work that I like, that’s what I use, that’s what I download. Otherwise, you’re going to be there for 10 hours downloading music. And a really big mistake I see people making is that they’re just not following the rules on how to use music legally. Guys, this is not something I would try to test. Don’t include music in your show if you don’t have the rights to it. It used to be really, really difficult to get rights to music to be able to use in podcasts. It’s not anymore. Nobody has an excuse for illegally using music in their podcast. So don’t do it.

So how do I make all of this work? Right? How do I find something that’s affordable, has really good music and sound effects. Well guys, I’m so glad you asked. Because here’s the big reveal, my secret weapon that I use for all the music so everything that you’ve heard in today’s show, the sound effects the music at the beginning, everything is through Soundstripe. It’s https://soundstripe.com This is the best service that I have ever found. I have their pro yearly account which is $149 a year. And I get access to thousands of songs, amazing artists, some even have lyrics if you’re looking for that you get the stems for all the songs. So let’s say you just really want the drum beat from that particular piece of music. Just download the drum beat. You also get unlimited commercial and client use and get clearance on up to five YouTube channels. So this is the answer my friends I constantly get compliments on the music that I use in all of my projects. And this is the secret sauce. This is it guys. And I also am an affiliate of Soundstripe because I love them so much, and I use them every single day. So if you sign up and you use the promo code PODCAST, you’re gonna save an additional 10%. You can’t beat it, I’m telling you.

You guys are awesome. I know this episode went a little bit long, but I really wanted to show you those examples of sound within the show. So I hope you found this helpful. If you want to learn more about how you can incorporate music into your podcast or… Hey, perhaps you have other podcasting questions. I offer video podcast coaching calls, and you can be located anywhere within the world. We’re going to sit down we’ll have a zoom call, talk about your show and how we can make it better. If you’re interested in having me as your coach. There is a link in the description and we can get started today. Until next week, remember…. you should start up podcast!

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