August 17, 2022

Great podcasts are built around great voices, whether it’s a funny monologue or an insightful interview. However, there’s another kind of audio that can elevate your show to another level: music.

Weaving music into your podcast can help your episodes flow smoother, reinforce your brand identity, and unlock all kinds of creative possibilities. A well-placed track can make the difference between “meh” and must-listen.

For creators, understanding what music you have permission to use might seem confusing. As an Anchor creator, you have the ability to include full-length songs from Spotify’s music catalog, plus other unique sounds to enhance your show. 

After all, you deserve to spend more time creating and less time navigating copyright laws (but if you’re planning to incorporate music not using Anchor’s Spotify integration, always double-check to make sure you have rights to the music!).

In this article, we’ll explore five ways to incorporate music into your podcast and how Anchor helps you put them into action.

5 ways to use music in your podcast

No matter what kind of podcast you have, chances are there’s an opportunity to incorporate music into some part of it. 

Of course, your content itself is the main attraction—but making music a consistent part of the show can add structure and a sense of familiarity for listeners. Plus it can help establish your podcast’s brand.

1. Podcast intro music

Your podcast intro music is what you play at the beginning of an episode. It sets the tone for the show and hints at what type of energy people can expect when they tune in. For example, a comedy podcaster’s intro music might be whimsical, while a true-crime podcaster might use something dark or somber.

It can be helpful to keep your intro music consistent across all episodes to foster a sense of familiarity for listeners, much like the theme songs for TV shows.

If you want to address your audience in your podcast intro, you may want to opt for an instrumental track instead of a song with words to minimize distractions. Or you can open with a welcome message that leads into a signature song that plays before the episode begins. 

Have a friend who’s a musician? Consider having them compose your intro music.

Either way, podcast intros usually last 10-30 seconds, so you’ll only need a small snippet of music for this segment.

2. Podcast background music

Have you ever watched a movie where a character’s monologue really grabbed your attention? Whether it was sad, exhilarating, or somewhere in between, there’s a good chance the director added background music to enhance the moment.

You can produce a similar effect with podcast background music. This is a track you add to emphasize a specific moment or topic during an episode.

(Just a heads up for Anchor creators: background music and Music + Talk are separate features. In other words, you can play songs from Spotify during episodes, but you won’t be able to talk over them as background music).

Let’s say you’re narrating a heartwarming story about adopting a puppy. You could overlay some light piano or string music to help listeners really feel the emotions.

3. Transition music

Podcast transition music is used to punctuate different parts of an episode. It’s a useful way to add structure to a show, especially if it consists of multiple segments such as interviews or listener questions.

Think of it as the audio equivalent of marking new chapters in a book.

If you interview guests on your podcast, you might spend a minute or two introducing them to your listeners to add context to the episode. But rather than jumping straight into the Q&A, a short bit of music can build anticipation and smooth out the transition.

4. Music as content

If you’re a podcaster who also happens to be a music lover, you might want to make music the focal point of your show instead of a complementary feature. Beyond listening to songs, fans often enjoy stories and commentary about them. You can meet that demand with a music-themed podcast.

For example, you could create a hip-hop music podcast where you unpack the origin stories of the genre’s greatest hits.

With Anchor’s Music + Talk feature, you can add full-length tracks from Spotify directly into your episodes so you can comment on the tunes you love (more on this later). 

5. Podcast outro music

Podcast outro music is what you play when your episodes come to an end. Rather than ending the show abruptly, outro music keeps your content polished and eases listeners out of the episode.

Much like intro music, you should consider keeping your outro music consistent across all episodes to maintain a cohesive identity. Think of it like the music that plays during the credits after your favorite TV show or movie.

Whether your outro music is a song snippet or an instrumental, make sure it complements your brand aesthetic. You wouldn’t want to throw off your listeners with an aggressive song after a mellow conversation.

Anchor tools to bring music into the mix

Now that we’ve covered the different ways you can leverage the power of music in your podcast, you might be wondering: How do I actually put those ideas into action?

All Anchor users get access to two features that make it a breeze to bring music into your show. You don’t need fancy editing software or a degree in audio engineering to create a masterpiece. 

In fact, you can produce your podcast—music and all—from your smartphone.

Smart background music

Anchor’s background music features simplifies the process of adding background music to your podcast episodes. You can choose from our collection of 100+ royalty-free tracks, but that’s just the beginning.

Anchor’s smart background music feature detects when your voice enters the mix and automatically fades the music to a lower volume. Then, it fades back in when you stop speaking. It’s like having your own personal audio engineer!

Smart background music is ideal when you’re recording the intro or outro for your show and ensures your content sounds seamless and professional. Here’s a quick tutorial:

Sounds and Interludes

Want to inject some extra personality into your podcast? Use Anchor to add fun sound effects or musical interludes at key moments within your episodes. 

Whether you choose from Anchor’s catalog or import your own tunes, these sound bites are great for punctuating stories and switching gears during conversations. You can even favorite your most-used tracks for easy access.

​​Many of Anchor’s interludes are short clips that match the background tracks. So you could use a background track for your intro, then add a few short interludes from the same piece of music when you transition from one segment to another during the show.

Music + Talk

Anchor’s Music + Talk feature lets you pair your perspective with the music you love. Browse 60+ million full-length songs from Spotify’s catalog, and combine them with your own conversation to create a reimagined audio experience.

Once your episode is live on Spotify, people can tune in and even favorite or add songs to their playlist directly from your episode.

Make it a must-listen with music

The days of podcasts being a digital version of AM radio are long gone. From music to video to Q&A and Polls, there are endless opportunities to expand your show beyond audio.

Podcasts are an outlet for your personality to shine, but that doesn’t mean your voice always has to carry the show. As you’ve seen, music can add structure, nuance, and energy to elevate your podcast from good to great.