Including audio samples, whether by way of songs or sound effects, can give rhythm and sonic depth to your show but can also help you create your own "touch" and stand out from the pack.
The only obstacle you may face is a legal issue: you don’t want to infringe the copyright laws, do you? Fortunately, there are a lot of solutions to add audio samples to your podcasts while respecting the work of your peers. Take the Creative Commons licenses for instance.
Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization which offers a legal solution to those who wish to free their work from the intellectual property rights in force in their countries. In fact, since 2002, many creations have been ruled by CC licenses: the authors then allow the audience to copy, share and use their content, at least for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are explicitly credited. Some of these licenses even allow the audience to alter the work or not fully transcribe it.
Creative Commons licenses are ideal for podcasters, as they protect them from legal proceedings or from coming under fire for using these samples. So you can either find CC-approved or copyright-free products, or follow the below tips:
- Many YouTube channels, such as Audio Library, have plenty of high-quality audio samples that aren’t protected by copyright. However, make sure you read the description for each of these samples, as some of the authors open their rights for specific use only (YouTube videos for instance).
- The Free Sound Project is definitely the most popular sound database. It is quite simple: all users can upload their own creations under the Creative Commons license of their choice. They may not all be suitable for your intended end, but you can filter the licenses and keep only those you are interested in. As for the quality, it might differ from one sample to the other, so take your time to choose the right one.
- There are other similar databases available, such as FreeMusicArchive, which is more about music, or AudioBlocks, which is great for sound effects; you also have French platforms, such as Jamendo and AuBoutDuFil, among others.
- Finally, here is a gold mine: the BBC opened its archives in late 2018; it offers more than 16,000 audio samples. From sound effects to live recordings, from air raids to zebra packs: all files are subject to the BBC copyrights but can be downloaded in WAV format and used for non-commercial purposes. They are 100% free and their quality is perfect!
If you don’t mind paying for a wider choice and better quality, you can of course turn to commercial platforms. They are perfect for sound fiction creators or informative podcasters, as well as for those who don’t want to check the conditions of use any time they want to use a three-second sample:
- BenSound offers unlimited access to a large catalogue for annual subscription.
- AudioJungle is more traditional, as you pay for individual samples. It is paradise for jingle hunters and it features many parameters for research; you can find whatever you want in just a few clicks.
- AsoundEffect sells individual sound effects whereas EpidemicSound mainly sells music and works on a monthly-subscription basis. For a customized choice, Music Radio Creative is the best; here you can supervise the creation process from start to finish and get customized samples that match your expectations. Of course, you’ll have to wait for a few days before your jingles are ready but we couldn’t find a better platform for customized tracks!