Almost free is good, right? Totally free is even better, am I right or what? Totally copyright free is da bomb, yes? While my expressions show my age, I'm fairly hip to the idea of podcasting and the perilous misuse of Intellectual Property.
New to the podcasting world? Sorry, you can't just use Queen's "Bicycle Race" for your under-the-radar podcast on the Tour de Whatever. Freddie's ghost is entitled to his cut every time you play his I.P. Bots make it almost impossible to just get away with it. Try putting something copyrighted on YouTube and see how fast the sound gets turned off and you get a nasty finger wag from the powers that be.
My large commercial podcasting clients can afford to either pay for copyrighted stuff or, even better, have music especially composed for their shows. Most of us need to find ways to get around having excellent audio soundscapes while not being lawyered out of existence.
For good, albeit very commercial-sounding advice, The Buzzcast, a 5-minute short podcast made by the podcast hosting company Buzzsprout, has this brief introduction to the world of Copyright Free Music.
The Buzzcast guys are talking mostly inexpensive but paid services, one should always remember the almost always totally free Free Music Archive. Remember, you always need to check the license. Nine times out of ten the artist is only asking for attribution, mean just give credit where credit is due somewhere in your show. There are a lot of weeds on FMA and it will take you while before you spot your golden musical nugget, but it's worth it.
Need sound effects? Soundbible.com has Creative Commons has community recorded sounds from church bells, to trains and crowds, all the for the price of mere attribution and zero currency. How they afford to pay their bills is a total mystery to me. Are they mere enthusiasts who get off on hearing their ship foghorn recording turn up in someone's podcast package? I honestly don't know. I do know new sounds turn up all the site all the time, downloadable as an mp3 or .wav file. I do know they take donations.
CC audio is the saving grace of the low-budget podcaster, so consider a donation to the site that hosts them. Until my next post, enjoy this sound of water being poured into a glass.