If your film or podcast needs a little sprucing up with some music (perhaps an intro theme?), there’s an excellent resource out there to help.
Magnatune. Its purpose isn’t specifically for licensing music for home-made productions, but they have great terms that allow you to use music you find on the site for free, as long as it’s for a non-commercial work. And if you plan on making money from your project, their license prices are quite reasonable.
To use the music without paying for a license, you do have to “meet the legal requirement for “non-commercial use” as defined by the Creative Commons License which governs all Magnatune MP3 files.” (http://magnatune.com/info/licensing)
If you’re not crazy about sound quality, you can download the low quality mp3 files, but “each mp3 will end with a human voice that says ‘That was track __ from the album __ by the artist __’ You can easily trim off the speaking for use in your podcast.”
If you’re using them in a commercial work, or you want better quality files, you’ll need to buy the album first.
To license the music for use in a commercial work, you’ll have to select the type of project you’ll be using it in, and then answer a few questions about your intentions. To license for a podcast, here’s what it needs to know:
1) Are you using less than 45 seconds of the song, or the entire track?
2) Will it be a theme song?
3) Will it be in the foreground or background?
4) What is the budget of the entire production, including salaries and expenses?
5) What song will you be using from the album?
As an example, I filled out the information to license the song “The Order” by Roots of Rebellion. To use the entire song, as a theme song, in the foreground, for a project with a budget of less than $100, it would only cost $21. As the license is royalty free, no matter how popular the podcast might get, you don’t have to pay extra money based on your audience size.
Of course, as the budget of your project grows, so do the license fees. For all those same requirements, except that the budget would be over $100 but under $1000, the fee jumps to $218.
To license the same, entire song, in a “video, powerpoint, slide or film project which will not be shown in theaters, but may be sold,” as a theme song, available to the public (such as on the Internet), for a budget of less than $100, the license is $64.
That’s fairly reasonable, but it would certainly chew into your meager budget.
But you wouldn’t get prices this low, or license songs this easily, if you were trying to work with a major music label.
So if you want to put some good, independent music in your project, and you want to do it legally (which we recommend), check out Magnatune.
(We’ve covered previously how to import this music into your podcast file)