Music Licensing For Podcasts: Latest Facts You Need To Know

by | Podcast Editing Software, Start a Podcast

Are you creating a podcast and starting to think about the music you want to include? Music can be an integral part of your podcast audio, but it’s essential to understand the laws and regulations around using other people’s music.

This blog post will cover what you need to know about music licensing for podcasts so that everyone involved is respected and protected under the law. Read on to find out more!

Need for Podcast Music to Be Licensed

When using music- from intro and background music to outro tracks and sound effects, in podcasts, you need permission from the artist or copyright holder before using their music.

This permission is called a license. Only commercial music needs licenses. Music licenses are typically negotiated between the podcast publisher and the music publishers or copyright owners.

Copyright Laws

  • Intellectual Property: If your podcast music isn’t adequately licensed, you may violate copyright law and be sued. Music, and the copyrights that protect it, are intellectual property.
  • Compliance: The licensing ensures compliance with copyright laws which will help safeguard your business and investments.

Types of Music Licenses

image of a musical instrument

There are two main types of music licenses for podcasts:

  • Synchronization Licenses (Sync Licenses): A synchronization license permits synchronizing the music with your podcast. It also covers the rights to reproduce, distribute and publicly perform the work through digital transmission.
  • Master Use License (MUL): This type of license is required when you need access to the actual master recording of a song.

In addition to these two license types, you may also need public performance licenses to use certain music in your podcast.

Types of Music Licenses

It’s important to note that different platforms and services have their own rules for music licensing rights. You’ll need to check with the forum or service you use for your podcast to determine what music licenses are required.


  • Apple Music and Spotify: They require synchronization and master-use licenses.
  • YouTube: It requires synchronization and a mechanical permit to include cover songs in your podcast.
  • SoundCloud: It requires synchronization licenses.

Creating podcasts involves a lot of work, and your chosen music is crucial. But make sure to get permission before using other people’s music.

Cost of Music Licensing for Podcasts

The cost of music licenses for podcasts will vary depending on the type of usage you plan to make. Generally, synchronization and master-use licenses are negotiated between the podcast publisher and the copyright holder.

Range of Cost

Podcasting a popular song may cost anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500. However, that figure is subject to change depending on the record label’s fee; this could be as low as $1,500 or even extend up to a staggering ten thousand dollars! A less-known song from a music royalty-free platform may provide a license for under $100.


The cost of licensing music depends upon several factors:

  • Type of license
  • Duration
  • Geographic area
  • Medium
  • The size of your audience
  • Length of music usage
  • Number of downloads or plays
  • Amount of royalties that need to be paid
  • The popularity of the song

How to License Your Podcast Music?

You need to follow this simple procedure to license music for your podcast:

  1. Research: Research the music you want to use in your podcast and identify the copyright holder for that song.
  2. Negotiate: Negotiate the license terms and fees with the copyright holder.
  3. Get Permission: Once you’ve reached an agreement, get written permission from the copyright holder to use the music in your podcast.
  4. Sign Agreement: Sign an agreement with the copyright holder that outlines all the details of your licensing arrangement.
  5. Pay Royalties: Pay the royalties as agreed upon with the copyright holder.

When creating podcasts, it is crucial to understand the legalities of music licensing and ensure you have all the required licenses before using any third-party music. Music licensing experts can also help you with the process.

Note that royalty-free music platforms have simplified the above steps into a single step where the license is automatically granted on receipt of payment.

Types Of Music Used In Allowed Podcasts

The type of music you choose for your podcast will depend on the show’s topic, format, and overall theme. For instance, if your podcast is about a specific genre like rock or hip hop, you’ll want to choose music that fits that particular style.

Moreover, the type of music allowed to be used in a podcast are the following:

  • Music You Own Outright: If you own the rights to a piece of your own music, you can use it in your podcast.
  • Public Domain Music: Music with no copyright attached to it is free to use and includes a variety of genres.
  • Royalty-Free Music: These music tracks can be used in a podcast without paying royalty fees or signing any licensing agreement. These production music libraries with unlimited music are available on the internet.
  • Paid Music Licenses: Popular music from a major record label can be used in a podcast but requires a paid license. Sony Music Entertainment is one of the most popular record labels or record companies.

Hence, it’s essential to research and finds the best music for your podcasts.

Types Of Music Not Allowed In Podcasts

Just as there are types of music allowed to be used in podcasts, there are also types of music not allowed. Music that is not properly licensed or copyrighted and songs that contain explicit lyrics are also not authorized to be used in podcasts.

This includes:

  • Music Broadcasted from Radio: To ensure your podcast remains within the boundaries of legality, you must refrain from playing radio music in the background or using it as part of your intro and outro. Recording such songs is also prohibited, so remember to avoid any usage!
  • Music from a Streaming Service: To use music from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music in your podcasts, you must obtain the rights to do so. Merely paying a monthly subscription fee does not grant you permission to incorporate the tunes into your podcast or employ them for commercial purposes. As with radio songs, this needs careful consideration before utilizing music in content creation endeavors.
  • Music You’ve Purchased: Regardless of whether you purchase a CD, digital download, or physical album, the music included remains subject to copyright laws and cannot be used in your podcast without explicit permission.

Music licensing for podcasts can be a tricky process. It requires research, negotiation, and understanding of the available music licenses. However, with proper knowledge and research, you can easily license your podcast music and create content without legal worries.

Royalty-Free Music Platform Providers

Here are some of the best free music platforms you can use on your podcasts:

  • AudioJungle: AudioJungle offers a wide variety of royalty-free music tracks for use in videos, podcasts, and other multimedia projects.
  • MusicBed: MusicBed provides a curated collection of high-quality, royalty-free music tracks for use in film, video, and other multimedia projects.
  • Epidemic Sound: Epidemic Sound offers a large collection of royalty-free music tracks and sound effects for video production, podcasting, and other media projects.
  • Artlist: Artlist offers a wide variety of royalty-free music tracks, sound effects, and loops for video production, podcasting, and other media projects.
  • Audio Network: Audio Network provides high-quality, royalty-free music tracks for use in film, video, and other multimedia projects.

How to Choose the Right Music for Your Podcasts

Here are some simple tips that you need to follow in choosing the right music for your podcasts:

  • Consider Your Budget: Music licensing is (generally) not free. Depending on the type of license you obtain, you will be required to pay fees or royalties for using the music in your podcast.
  • Research Music Licensing: Understand the various music licensing options to choose the best one for your podcast.
  • Listen to Sample Tracks: Take some time to listen to sample tracks before deciding which type of music will best fit your podcast and its theme.
  • Hire a Music Supervisor: If you need clarification on the legality involved in music licensing, consider hiring a professional to help with the process.

By heeding their experienced advice, you can avoid any legal hassles in the future.

Related: How to Create An Engaging Podcast Intro

Types of Podcast Music

When designing a podcast, music can be utilized in multiple ways – you might need to acquire licenses for more than one song, depending on your specific requirements.

  • Intro Music: This is the music you’ll hear at the start of a show, and it can be used to set the tone for what’s to come. Ensure your introduction is concise and distinctive, so it will remain etched in your audience’s mind.
  • Background Music:  This type sets the mood and adds ambiance to a podcast episode. It’s essential to keep this kind of music as unobtrusive as possible so that the focus remains on the spoken word.
  • Outro Music: This is the music you’ll hear at the end of an episode. Outro tracks are typically pleasant, calming pieces that leave listeners in a good mood. Music should work in harmony with the overall atmosphere of your podcast, helping to connect and enhance moments of conversation.

No matter what type of music you use for your podcasts, it’s essential to ensure that you have the correct licensing. With the right music, you’ll be able to create an engaging and memorable experience for your listeners.

Related: PODCAST INTROS: How do the top podcasts do their intros?

Importance Of Using The Right Music For Podcasts

Music is an important element of podcasting.

  • Engaging Audience: It can set the mood, create a more engaging experience for listeners, provide structure and break up topics into more easily digestible pieces.
  • Tone Establishment: Music can completely transform your podcast, from creating an alluring intro and outro that will keep listeners intrigued for future episodes to establishing a tone that resonates with your audience.
  • First Impression: Your podcast’s introduction is the first thing a new listener will hear and can be one of their primary influences in forming an opinion about your show.

However, to ensure that your podcast is legally compliant, you’ll need to access music licenses for the music used in any podcast episode.

Music licensing allows creators to use copyrighted songs without facing legal repercussions. This ensures that all intellectual property rights are respected and royalties paid.

Importance of Music Licensing for Podcasts

Regarding podcasting, music licensing is an essential part of the process. Music adds a unique touch that can make your podcast stand out from the rest. Having access to licensed music also keeps you safe from legal ramifications.

  • Legal Ramifications: If you’re not careful, using unlicensed music in your podcast can get you into serious legal hot water. Music copyright holders are legally entitled to take action against people or entities who use their material without obtaining proper authorization–which could include seeking damages for infringement of copyright law.
  • Financial Loss: Not only is this a potential financial black hole that nobody wants to stumble into, but it would also consume an immense amount of time and energy trying to defend yourself from the suit. So be sure to do your due diligence by getting permission whenever possible!
  • Public Scrutiny: Not only can utilizing unlicensed music in a podcast have expensive financial repercussions, but it may also lead to public scrutiny and a damaged reputation.
  • Work Integrity: It is essential to understand that music copyright holders highly value their rights and often take action if they believe someone infringed them. Protecting the integrity of their work is paramount to its success.

Consequently, obtaining a suitable music license is critical before including music in your podcast. Neglecting this step can result in legal and financial repercussions that could be difficult to recover from or an endless struggle you don’t have time for.

Tracking Music Licensing for Podcasts

Acquiring the license for music you want to use in your podcast is only half of the work; being mindful of how you manage those licenses is essential. Here are some best practices to keep track of them:

  • Keeping a Record of All Music Licenses: Keeping a record of all the music licenses you have obtained for your podcast is essential. This will help you stay organized and remember whose music you have used.
  • Staying Updated on License Agreement Details: Ensure that your licenses are up-to-date and that you understand everything in the agreement. It’s essential to make sure you stay updated on any changes that might occur in the contract.
  • Renewing Licenses: Make sure you continue your licenses if they expire. This will help ensure that you don’t use music that is out of compliance with the copyright holder’s wishes and regulations.
  • Keeping Track of All License Agreements: Keep a record of all your agreements so you can easily access them if necessary. This will help you stay organized and quickly reference any agreements you’ve made in the past.
  • Metadata for Music Usage:  Use tags and other metadata indices to track which music you’ve used in your podcasts. This will make it easier for you to recall which piece you used in which episodes.
  • Music Licensing Services: Take advantage of music licensing services that specialize in providing licenses for podcasts. These services help simplify the process and ensure you are always legally compliant.

Future of Podcast Music Licensing

As the podcast industry continues to grow, so does the need for adequately licensed music. Music licensing is a complex process, and it cannot be easy to handle the details yourself.

Fortunately, some services specialize in music licensing for podcasts to help you navigate the process quickly and keep your podcast compliant.

As the podcast and music industry evolves, there will likely be new solutions to streamline the process and make it simple for podcasters to access the music they need.

Related: Start a Podcast People Will Listen To


When using copyrighted music in podcasts, having the proper licenses is essential. Neglecting to do so can lead to costly legal troubles or a damaged reputation.

It is necessary to keep track of all the licenses obtained and stay updated on any changes made. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your podcast remains compliant with copyright laws without issues!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can you play music on a podcast legally?

You can legally play music on a podcast, but only if you obtain the proper licenses before including it in your episode. It is essential to ensure that you have permission from the copyright holder and stay updated on any changes made to the license agreements.

Q: Can I use free royalty-free music on a podcast?

Yes, you can use free royalty-free music on a podcast if you include the necessary credits or attributions in your episode. It is important to note that some royalty-free music may require a license, so double-check before using it.

Related: Best Podcast Editing Software For a Perfect Show

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments