Remember the theme song from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? Every time you hear that tune, you get reminded of the movie. That’s one of many things good intro music can do to your podcast brand.
Podcasts are a wonderful way for people to find value in listening to interesting stories, facts, advice, and more on topics of interest. That’s why your podcast should have a clearly defined audience, and content that enhances listeners’ experience with knowledge, skills, or enlightenment within your episodes.
However, people don’t decide to listen to podcasts based on the content by itself. Sometimes, other things like the sound quality and music can play a huge role within your episodes. And, of all the music that is used throughout, the intro music is probably the most important piece.
The intro is your very first impression to any new listener, and it can decide for some whether they will want to continue and tune into your show for the long haul. Just listening to that music could make someone leave within seconds, and seconds are all you have with a typical intro.
You only have one chance to hook them in, so you can’t blow it.
Why Your Podcast Intro Music Matters?
Ever noticed the music they play inside gyms? There’s a reason they play fast numbers and not opera compositions.
That’s because music has a way of setting moods and developing emotions within us. In podcasts, storytelling can be aided greatly with music. You can utilize the elements of music and sound to help pave the way for your stories and episodes. Podcast music can subtly indicate to your audience the kind of story or episode, and instill emotions that complement storytelling.
This is why being creative with your music choice is so crucial. If the mood doesn’t match the message in correlation with your brand upfront, then it won’t jive with your listeners. The result? You’ll lose more listeners than you’ll gain, and quickly.
Your goal is to pull in the audience as much as possible. Remember that the audience is most important in terms of growth. With an attention span of only about 10 seconds to listen, you have a big challenge ahead of you.
So, how do you go about setting the right mood?
It might take some practice to find the music that will create the essence you need. For starters, you can try locating certain words to associate with your podcast and applying that to songs with the same words. Examples could include: powerful, uplifting, energetic, happy – words of that nature.
A good place to start digging for gold is your podcast’s outline that you created right in the beginning. That, along with a good understanding of your podcast’s topic, can help you nail many aspects of your podcast music including – genre, tempo, theme, and more.
Finding Intro Music & Staying Legal
Have you tried Googling for “free podcast intro music”?
No, I didn’t hack into your computer to know this. But if you’ve read this far, I’m pretty sure you’ve done that!
It may be tempting to use free intro music on the internet, or mp3’s of music you already have. But you need to know that most of that music is most likely copyrighted. Whoever created and composed the music has the rights and needs to willingly give you permission to reproduce or reuse within your podcast.
However, licensing music for your podcast can be a fairly simple feat. Many of these music libraries contain royalty-free music or an easy way to secure and allow you to use your ideal songs and tracks with a simple, online contract giving permission from the owner(s).
There will, most likely, be fees involved of some kind for use of the music. Be as specific as you possibly can about how you plan to use the intro music. Most of the time podcasters find a great intro track and stick with the same theme for the duration of their show.
Keep in mind that if you end up changing your intro music, or using the same song or track in some other way, you may need to re-apply to license it for use. Once you understand the basics of copyright law and what is or isn’t copyrighted, you should be able to keep your podcast legal without any problems.
Whatever you do, if you have any questions or aren’t sure about the use of a certain song, it is probably best not to use it. The last thing you need when trying to grow your podcast is to find yourself slapped with a legal suit for improper use of your music.
How to Use Your Podcast Intro Music
Now, you have located the perfect track for your introduction and purchased the license for use. Next, you need to use it the right way and make that lasting impression.
But – how do you do that?
Some important tips here when creating your unique intro are to make sure to keep it short and simple. You don’t need something lasting more than maybe 20-30 seconds, tops. At the same time, you have to weave in something unique while providing your audience an overview of what the podcast is.
The music needs to relate directly to whatever it is that you’re doing on your show. For instance, let’s say your show is about helping entrepreneurs and business owners like The Distance. Then you might want to use music that feels uplifting, yet comforting at the same time. If your show is telling stories about the unknown and after-life experiences like The Message Podcast, your music might evoke more “X Files” sounding tunes.
For example, Serial is a podcast that deals with criminal matters. So the music used in the intro creates both a serious and suspenseful mood. There are sharp, high sounds from a piano and strings to give you that uneasy feeling, and it alerts the listener “this is important.”
Good Podcast Intro Segment
Some elements to what you should do when recording your intro segment over the music are to include things like:
- The podcast name & brand
- The title of the episode (if there is one)
- Who the host is (yourself & if you have a co-host)
- A very short explanation of the podcast – an overview of what to expect
Sometimes you can add in extra elements like where to leave feedback, or where they can find you and other hosts on social media. It’s also a good place to let your listeners know the link to show notes. You can also decide to start with the music, or start with just your voice and then go into the intro music for the breakdown before diving into the episode.
You might even be tempted to use your intro music as your outro music as well – and that is okay to do. It can tie everything back together and leave a lasting impression on your audience that way.
Having an impressive podcast intro music is one of the greatest ways you can grab your audiences’ attention. Be sure to provide the listeners with all the important details that they will find value within your show, and make it stand out even more with some creative and effective intro music.
If you’ve been binge-reading articles on podcasting but never started with the first step, read our complete guide on starting a podcast and get started today.