FAQ For Podcast
Podcast (podsafe) music
Welcome to the FMA music section for podcasters.
We hope that you reached this page before you launched your amazing podcast series with music from a popular act signed to a major label. The world of podcasting has become professional. And we are here to help you make educated decisions about which songs/licences you can or cannot use.
If you have specific questions about licences, check our Licence Guide.
What does Free Music Archive mean with podsafe?
Podsafe is a term created in the podcasting community to refer to any work which, through its licensing, specifically allows the use of the work in podcasting, regardless of restrictions the same work might have in other realms. For example, a song may be legal to use in podcasts but may need to be purchased or have royalties paid for over-the-air radio use or television use.
Can’t I just use popular copyrighted songs in my podcast?
For many years, podcasters added popular songs to their podcasts under a “Fair use” policy. Fair use is an exception to copyright protection (or, more accurately, a defence to a copyright infringement claim) that allows limited use of a copyrighted work without the copyright holder's permission.
However, new copyright laws around the world created a new reality, resulting in platforms having to step up their game. Your podcast will most likely be booted from major platforms like YouTube, Apple, or Spotify with algorithms detecting the use of licensed copyrighted music in the content.
Is there a difference between royalty-free music and copyright free?
Yes. Royalty-free generally means that you pay a one-time fee in exchange for the right to use a song according to agreed-upon terms, with no ongoing licence fees due for further use. It does not mean that the work is copyright free.
Most recorded music is copyrighted. That’s why Creative Commons licences are so helpful—they serve to allow some uses of a work without further written permission from an artist.
Should I focus on copyright-free music for my podcasts?
The quick answer: No. Works that aren't subject to any copyright restrictions are said to be copyright free or in the public domain, which means you're free to do pretty much whatever you want with them. We actually do have music in the FMA where rights-holders have waived all their rights using a CC0 dedication.
However, the really nice thing about the FMA and free to use music:
- Next to CC0, you will find many great, original songs licensed under specific Creative Commons licences suitable for podcasting (podsafe) and 100% cost-free. Check our Licence Guide to learn more.
- If you need guaranteed, certified high-quality music for your podcast series on any of the major platforms, we recommend checking out Tribe of Noise PRO. Their budget-friendly ‘Bronze’ licence will cover your needs.
Are Creative Commons licences legal?
Yes. In more than 80 jurisdictions around the world, Creative Commons licences have been cleared for use and have been applied to more than 2 billion works worldwide.
I found an amazing song on FMA. How can I tell which licence is being used for this specific track?
First, click on the song title. This can be done from our search page, from a mix, album, or on the homepage. After you click the song title, you will find more info in the left column. You can click on the Creative Commons link to find detailed information in human-readable text.
Can I use Creative Commons licensed songs for podcast intros and outros?
As you might have seen by now, some Creative Commons licences allow you to modify the song any way you like. Only Creative Commons licences labelled as “ND” (NonDerivative) are not suitable for this purpose. More information can be found in our Licence Guide.
And again, if you’re releasing your podcast episodes on major platforms, you want to consider the certified catalog on Tribe of Noise PRO. Specifically for podcasters: One Bronze licence covers one song per unique project, except when used for intros/outros. In this case you can reuse the song in all episodes of your podcast series without additional licences. The Bronze licence on Tribe of Noise PRO is non-exclusive and perpetual, meaning the song in the podcast episode is covered forever.
How should I give attribution in a project?
Every Creative Commons licence (except for CC0) on the FMA requires giving appropriate credit; they all include, at the very least, “Attribution,” which means giving credit to the creator of the work.
This basically means you need to list the Title, Author, Source & Licence associated with the work (or TASL, if you are fond of acronyms). Here’s an example:
- Music: "Tra-la-la" by Podington Bear
- From the Free Music Archive, CC BY-NC 3.0
You can put this information in the credits of your podcast, on a webpage, or read/mention the credit information verbally.
The FAQ provides general information about legal topics; it does not provide individual legal advice. The FMA provides this information on an “as-is” basis. Use of this FAQ does not create an attorney-client relationship between the FMA and the user, and the FMA disclaims liability for damages resulting from its use.