Allison is desperate to get moving on her podcast so the blog posts on starting a podcast are going to be coming as quickly as possible to help her get her new podcast up and running and (perhaps more importantly) get it NOTICED!
I’m not going to go into detail on how to record your podcast as I’ve discussed the basics here recently (What Podcasting Equipment do I Need?) and have covered a lot of the recording and editing process in my Audacity tutorial videos.
One thing I will cover again is theme music.
You can set your podcast apart from others and give it a strong identity by the simple use of a piece of music to play in and out of the podcast (and maybe even distinguish between segments). It’s something I suggest you take some time over in order to find just the right piece.
Where can I find good podcast theme music?
One company I highly recommend and have used myself a lot over the years is ProductionTrax. I suggest you revisit my posts What is Royalty Free Music? and Finding Royalty Free Music. You can visit the ProductionTrax site and listen to endless tracks of music to find the one you think will suit you. Take the time to listen to a variety but narrow it down by using the right keywords or the relevant category. If you don’t like the idea of doing much editing then consider buying a piece from their 30 second spots or 60 second spots section.
Another great site, which I found through Twitter, is Shockwave Sound. They have a large number of good ready-made collections. If you are anticipating needing production music for more than one project then, economically, it can be worthwhile buying a collection of music with a variety of tracks rather than just one track. The collections on Shockwave Sound have different versions for each track as well so, for example, you may receive a full length version, 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and various loops.
Want the Really Easy Version?
I discovered Front and Back Music a while back from Mike Stewart (it was still available last time I looked although it has been around for a few years) who is famous for audio and video products in the Internet Marketing world. His product offers 50+ cuts of music that are ready-made to add to the front and back of your podcast. More importantly, he offers some software, with easy to follow tutorials that will show you exactly how to mix your audio.
Two things that I really like about this product and made me recommend it to you:
- Mike has found a way to make it as simple as possible to create your podcast (and other production) intros and outros regardless of your technical expertise (or lack of)
- All the cuts of music are yours to use whenever and wherever you choose. Once you have paid your $97 (or $179) for Mike’s product you have unlimited use of all the music and don’t have to pay for a new licence. That is incredibly cost effective if you want to start using music for other productions.
- (I know I said 2 but I just thought of another one) Mike’s music is good quality and professional sounding. Sometimes you can find a package of music tracks that require just one payment for unlimited use, but when you buy them they all sound like they have been created on a 1980s Casio keyboard.
What does all the jargon mean?
Some of the words you may come across when it comes to production music are:
Loop – this is a short piece of music that is edited in a certain way so that it can be played over and over again (looped) without any obvious edits.
Ident (or audio logo) – a short piece of music usually combined with a voiceover and/or sound effects to identify a product, service or show. Radio stations use them all the time, but so do many companies to identify their products. I was trying to think of an example that anyone in the world could relate to so I picked the Columbia Pictures audio and visual logo that appears on all their films:
Sting (or Stinger or bumper) – a short clip of music (usually no more than 10 – 15 seconds) that can be used to introduce or link sections of your production. In podcasting this might be used to punctuate different elements of the podcast, such as when you move from an introduction to an interview, or to distinguish when you are moving onto a different topic.
Cuts – exactly what it sounds like, a cut is simply a short piece of music that has been cut out of a longer piece.
Royalty Free can be Misleading
As I’ve mentioned previously, Royalty Free does not mean free. Each piece of royalty free music will have different licence restrictions and prices. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of that licence carefully and buy the licence that is relevant to you.
OK, you have your concept, your theme and your podcast all mixed and ready to publish. In the next post I’ll cover something you may not even have thought or heard of before that you must tackle before finding hosting and publishing your podcast.