Hey Google! Where's The Love For Podcasting?

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of many Google products and services and I am also an Android user and a Chromebook owner. I love Gmail, Google Apps, Chrome, etc. But I have a gripe with the folks in Mountain View. Hey Google! Where's the love for podcasting?

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/users/DWilliams-720409/

In recent years Google has seemed to be severing any connection to podcasting and RSS feeds in general. The most notable instances of this departure are the killing of Google Listen (Google’s official Android app for podcasts), the shutting down of Google Reader, and the virtual abandonment of the Feedburner tool. Google purchased Feedburner in June of 2007 and for years Feedburner was an extremely valuable tool to the podcasting community. But Google has done nothing to keep Feedburner up-to-date with the latest specs nor has it updated the interface or features giving many folks in the podcast industry the impression that it will be the next service on the chopping block.

4 Options For Using Music In Your Podcast

When working with podcasting clients one of the most frequent issues that comes up is regarding the use of music in a podcast. There are several different questions, but they all revolve around the same issue. Where can I find music that I can use? Can I use [insert popular song title here] in my podcast? Is it illegal to use certain music? How do I obtain a license to use this song? Are there potential copyright infringement issues when using music in our podcasts?

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Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Before we tackle these questions, let me clarify a couple of points with the disclaimer that I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. Every piece of music that is composed is copyrighted by the person who created it regardless of whether or not it is included on a CD and distributed under contract with a major record label. So anytime you use any bit of music, you are using copyrighted music. It doesn't matter how long the piece of music is (the 30 second rule is balderdash); if you play it, you're infringing on their copyright. The issue is whether or not you have the permission, rights or license to use that music. In the case of a popular song that you might hear on the radio, it gets even more complicated since there are many different parties who have rights to that piece of music including, but not limited to, the record company and the songwriter. Crediting the artist is not sufficient to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.

The Four Options

There are 4 different approaches to using music as a theme or an intro/outro for your podcast. These also apply to using background/transition music in your show. The 4 options are songs from a popular recording artist, royalty free music, working with independent artists, and finally, custom composed music. Let's take a couple of minutes and break down each of these options and evaluate the pros and cons.

1. Music by Popular Recording Artists

This option is nice because there are many songs whose lyrics or music are familiar to many people and you might feel that the message of that song fits perfectly with the goals or topic of your podcast. But the cons are that it is very difficult to obtain a license to use a popular song in your podcast and it can also be very expensive. The record companies are still not sure how to handle this type of license and therefore it is often a very cumbersome process. If you're willing to sort out all the legalities to obtain all the necessary permissions then feel free to go for it. You may also choose to just accept the risk of a potential lawsuit for copyright infringement and use the song without permission. The choice is entirely up to you, but I'd strongly urge you not to do that.

2. Royalty Free Music

There are many different sources online for obtaining royalty free music to use in your show. Some have very affordable prices, others require a more substantial investment and still others offer great tracks completely free and only require some sort of attribution. Many audio editing software programs also contain royalty free music that you can use. With any of these choices the benefit is you get a cool intro tune for free or relatively low cost investment. The downside is that the chances are pretty good that another podcast is using the same music as you are.

3. Independent Bands & Musicians

This can be a really great option for many podcasts. There is an abundance of indie artists who would be happy to allow you to use their music in exchange for a link back to their website or a mention in your show credits. There really aren't any major drawbacks to going down this route.

4. Custom Composed Music 

This is my favorite option. All of my current podcasts have theme music that was custom written for that particular show. I work directly with a composer who writes the music based on specific instructions that I give him. You may have a friend or local musician that you can work with to create the perfect intro tune for your show. You can also use a service like giftysong.com, musicradiocreative.com, or a composer on a site like fiverr.com. The obvious benefit of this option is you have a unique sound for your show that no other show has and you can create something that fits your show's branding like a glove. The only negative is that this option can potentially be quite costly.

Ultimately, there's not really a right or wrong choice. There's not even one option that is better than the rest, generally speaking. It all comes down to personal preference and which option fits best with the goals that you have for your podcast.


Google + discussion on the topic of music in podcasts 
Attorney Gordon Firemark's book for new media creators

Music Radio Creative - Custom Podcast Music
Gifty Song - Custom Music & Lyric Podcast Themes
Incompetech - Royalty Free Music
FreePlay Music - Royalty Free Music
YouTube Audio Library - Royalty Free Music
AudioJungle - Royalty Free Music
JewelBeat - Royalty Free Music
Partners In Rhyme - Royalty Free Music
The Music Bakery - Royalty Free Music

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The Top Podcasts About Podcasting That Will Help You To Up Your Game And Stand Out From The Crowd

There are numerous podcasts about podcasting that address the various methods for and means to start podcasting. Most of us are familiar with the top shows by Dave Jackson, Cliff Ravenscraft, Ray Ortega, Daniel J. Lewis and Mike Dell, to name a few. While they are great shows, I'm not talking about those podcasts today. What I'd like to focus on are the shows that go beyond the how-tos and the gear, and dive into the business aspects of podcasting. The ones that talk about the strategies, industry trends, alternate ways of thinking, and generally just provide the information, insight, and inspiration to improve and expand your approach to all facets of your podcasting efforts.

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My Mobile Podcasting Setup

Mobile Podcasting

There has been a lot of conversation in the podcasting world lately about podcasting outside of the studio. Mobile podcasting has become easier in recent years because of advances in smartphone/tablet computer technology. Professional podcaster, Ray Ortega's Podcasters' Roundtable devoted an entire episode to this topic and at NMX 2014, Rob Walch of popular media host, Libsyn, presented a talk about podcasting entirely with iOS devices.

What's The Big Deal with New and Noteworthy? - CCM006

It seems like over the last several months there has been a huge focus on iTunes New and Noteworthy. I've even heard several podcasting coaches and consultants talking about it an awful lot lately. Can I be little controversial here? I can't stand hearing about iTunes New and Noteworthy. To get your podcast into New and Noteworthy is not the be-all end-all of podcasting. I don't understand why so many people spend so much time and energy focusing on this one thing. And let me just say one thing here as a sidebar; it is not new and notable. It is New and Noteworthy. I've heard several people use the wrong terminology too.

What Can I Do For National Podcast Day? - CCM005

You may have already heard that September 30th has been named as National Podcast Day. Steve Lee from netcaststudio.com and a team of other great folks are heading up this initiative. The goal behind this project is to bring more awareness to this medium. But you may be thinking, "What can I do for National Podcast Day?"

Should a podcast cover art design be more like a logo? - CCM004

If you've been podcasting for very long, you've probably realized that you need several different variations of your cover art for different purposes. You need various sizes for your iTunes image, your .mp3 metadata, your website, social media accounts, etc. But have you ever considered podcast branded items for your show as a means of monetization? You know, coffee mugs, t-shirts and the like. If so, then carefully examine your artwork before just slapping it on any old product in Zazzle or CafePress. Not all podcast artwork looks great when used in this manner.

Do you follow other creators in your niche? - CCM003

Are you familiar with the term "market research"? It's a pretty common phrase in the business world. It refers to the practice of checking out the target demographic for your product or service. This is an over simplification of the concept, of course, but it'll do for now. There is another component of market research that I want to hone in on today and that is competitor analysis.

Microphone Stand Adapter for the Roland R-05 Digital Audio Recorder

I would have never believed that one small piece of gear would make such a big difference in my podcasting studio. But the Roland OP-MSA1 has made a huge positive impact on my podcasting workflow. What is the OP-MSA1, you ask? It is a microphone stand adapter (or adaptor, as the box says); a simple little device made by Roland especially for the R-05 Digital Audio Recorder. It allows me to connect my digital recorder to any standard microphone stand. In my case I have it attached to a regular three-legged floor boom stand.