The Top Mistakes Podcasters Make Using Music
Have you ever been at a bar or party where the music is really loud and it’s a struggle to have a conversation? It’s annoying but part of the party experience. When it’s part of a podcast experience it’s just annoying.
Music can be a really important part of your podcast. But let me be clear. Nobody, I mean nobody, showed up for the music. Unless your podcast is about music, your music should be used only as a background or to set the tone (quickly) so you can get to the good stuff.
Yes. Even when your music is awesome.
I’ve had people email me and tell me that they literally have a little dance they do to my theme music. Which is fantastic. It’s exactly what you want.
But, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there are some people who hate my music. Luckily, they never have to sit through much of it before I get to the content they actually tuned in for.
In this episode, I cover what your music should be and what it should not be.
Your music should NOT be:
- The first entire minute of your show (I’ve heard this more than once. Yes, I can skip but is that really what you want people doing at the beginning of your show?) Keep it to 10-15 seconds just to set the tone.
- So loud that your listener is straining to hear what you’re saying. You know, that whole party listening vibe – it does not belong in your podcast. Mix that shit down!
- Used as a random cover up. I called a client out on this recently. He confessed that he’d thrown some music in to cover up the fact that there was a lot of background noise. Boooo! Re-record. Your listeners will be confused and you’re just being lazy. I said it.
- Played for the duration of your podcast. This may just be me but I can’t stand when I faintly hear music in the background constantly fighting for my attention. Unless you are doing a guided meditation of something, the music is not helping to set the tone – it is just distracting.
Don’t let this scare you off from using music in your podcast. Music can play an important role. It can set the mood off the top and be a bit of musical branding. I like to think that love it or hate it, when you hear those first few beats of my theme music, you know where you are and that you’re about to be served a quick podcast tip with a side of smartass.
I also recommend music to close out your podcast, kind of musical bookends, but be careful about this because it may trigger your listener to turn your show off prematurely. Don’t put any important info after your end-of-show music.
And, don’t be afraid to get creative. Use music to punctuate a point, to signify a change in topic or to reset your interview.
In short, you want music but you want to manage your music. You want that music to enhance not distract.
Remember, your show is not for you, it’s for your listener. Think of them (and the fact that they may not have the same musical tastes as you) when you are carefully peppering in the tunes.
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