The Details About Music in Your Podcasts


During a panel on the Jacobs Media sponsored Broadcasters meet Podcasters track at Podcast Movement Thursday, the topic of music in podcasts was discussed. More details were revealed about the cost podcasters will have to pay to play music in their shows.

Podcasters that want to add a song to their show (as bumper music only) leading into their content will have to pay between $10 to $20 per episode for a license. If you record four episodes per month, it’ll cost you between $40 and $80 per month.

That license is only for podcasters with under 5,000 downloads per episode. If you have more than 5,000 downloads the cost will scale up at a price to be determined at a later date. 

Keep in mind, you are not allowed to use – or play – the entire song. That license allows you to use a clip of the song as bumper music only. The license does cover you if you carry your show over to YouTube. Your show on YouTube must be synchronized to your podcast. In other words, no clip sharing with that song over to social media. At least not yet. Everything is still in the early stages. Facebook Live was not mentioned by the panel so it’s unknown if that’s covered.

Doug Reed, who is the EVP of Music and Library Services for SourceAudio and said there will be announcements made every month through the NAB show in April 2020. The group is hoping to have between 5,000 and 10,000 songs available by the NAB Show in Las Vegas. 

When you purchase a license for a song you will have to go to the website and download the file from that site. You cannot simply use a song you have in your collection and play that version. The songs approved for use by the labels will be watermarked on the website. This also protects you if you get flagged for some reason. The watermark will prove you have a license to use the song.

Expect to see Christmas songs rolled out first. Reed says as this process rolls out songs from every music format will be included in the database.



  1. There are several issues with this licensing scheme, one of which is the price. First, $10 to $20 per episode? A lot of indie podcasters aren’t going to be able to afford that. Some of them balk at paying $10 a month for hosting, which is why they use free hosting services, so why would they willingly pay that much or more for a song license per episode? It’s not even an entire song, either. It’s just a clip for bumper music. What, 5, 10 or fifteen second stingers? That’s crazy. Plus, it’s watermarked? Really? I’d hum my own tune on a kazoo first before I would pay $10 for a watermarked clip of a pop song in my show. This doesn’t sound like such a big deal for podcasters now. It’s more like a big scam by big, greedy music labels.

  2. Rick….I was having that same conversation with someone today. Why would indie podcasters pay $10 – $20 for intro songs when there are free services out there? It’s not like indies are raking in the money.

    Ed Ryan

  3. I was also hearing talk about this, in generalities, from podcasts like The New Media Show, where comments were made like “game changer” pricing, and the potential to opening a brand podcast genre. Not really seeing that with this pricing model.


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