We often talk about how sound effects and music are central concerns for film editing—or even theatrical stage productions like “The Lion King” or J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”—but what about podcasts? If sound design is important in TV and film, then it’s even more paramount when the only tool for a story is audio.
Every podcaster needs a repertoire of royalty-free music and sound effects to pull from in order to produce a professional product. With the right audio editing savvy and this audio toolkit, you’ll be able to greenlight your podcast in no time.
Podcast Intro and Outro Music
Well-suited theme intro music for your program can be essential for both branding your podcast and for setting the scene. A fitting intro song provides the emotional grip or levity needed for developing a rapport with your listeners, while a strong outro track will round out the program and give your listeners narrative closure. Below are some of our favorite options for royalty-free intro music for your podcast–but of course there are many more in our music library.
Equally important are the subtler uses of sound and music that drive narratives forward and provide the viewers with subconscious emotional cues. A rhythmic beat can build tension as your story’s plot thickens, or a gentle musical ambiance can segue cleanly between new segments in your podcast.
Soundscapes and Environmental Ambience
For stronger and more immersive storytelling, use ambient environmental tracks and soundscapes in your program’s sound mix. These distinct aural cues will engage your listeners as they build whole environments, from loud and crowded bars remote and wild destinations.
Podcast Sound Effects
There’s a long and storied history of using audio effects in radio and broadcast programs, from the earliest “Lone Ranger” episodes to the continuing stunt-like spectacle of Foley sounds in “Prairie Home Companion” segments. Podcasters, too, are now harnessing the power of sound effects to enhance their projects, from the automated voice of a prison phone system in Sarah Koenig’s “Serial” to the technological buzzes and zaps of “Radiolab.” Check out some of our favorite sound effects for podcasts below.