Podcasting is really gaining a lot of ground these days. With traditional radio becoming less and less popular, many people are enjoying the pleasures of truly unique and niche podcasts that can be streamed from anywhere, at any time.
Think about it… audio podcasts offer the listener the opportunity to learn more about often obscure topics from experts in those fields. But, in addition to this, there are also plenty of more mainstream audio podcasts hosted by celebrities, top-notch academics and celebrated athletes. There are also tons of indie podcasts on more obscure topics. Whatever you wanted to delve deep into during your free time, podcasts are a great way to explore those topics.
But how does one find a particular podcast, start their own podcast or syndicate a podcast they’ve been working on and are now ready to share with the world? The fact is, there are tons of different things to learn about podcasts themselves -- maybe there should be a podcast about podcasts?
With all of this in mind, let’s take some time to discuss the world of podcasting and how it relates to music licensing. You must remember, the music included in podcasts has to come from somewhere. Many podcasts are backed by advertisements, or at least have some type of production budget. In order for a podcast to make money and not lose it, the creator needs to have their ducks in a row. This means that any music, or soundFX, utilized in their podcast must be properly licensed.
Ready to take a look at all the nitty gritty details? We are!
How to Start a Podcast
There are many steps involved in starting your own podcast. While there are definitely more in-depth ways to educate yourself on the process of how to podcast, we’re going to keep it to the basic steps to get you started and on the right path. Be sure to read and research the topic via various sources as much, as as often as possible, to experience the most success in launching a new, original podcast.
Identify your topic and target audience
This should be simple. If you are starting a podcast, then you likely consider yourself either an expert in or extreme enthusiast of a particular subject. Make sure you are clear on what you want to talk about. The most successful podcasts are less broad and more centered around something specific (Think, instead of “food” as your topic, try “backyard cooking for families.”)
Once you are clear on the topic, be sure to do a ton of research to find out exactly who wants to listen to this type of podcast. If you’re doing a podcast about 70s horror movies, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to put a lot of time marketing your podcast to elementary school children, right? A lot of this will seem like common sense, but finding the right target audience often takes quite a bit of workshopping.
Chose a podcast name
Make sure you set this up from the get go. Create something unique that expresses the topic and draws in the target audience. You’ll want something both catchy and informative if possible.
Plan out the first few episodes.
One good episode deserves another right? Unless you plan to be a one and done broadcast, try to storyboard out at least 3-5 potential episodes. This way you’ll be able to deliver new episodes to your audience in a timely manner. If you plan to release a new episode every Tuesday, but by Monday night you still have writer’s block, you’re going to be in trouble. Take the initiative to have a few ideas lined up. You can always swap these out as you go along.
Choose your podcast format.
Are you doing a solo show? Interviews only? Will you have a co-host? Figure out who will be joining you (or not joining you) on your podcasting adventures.
Secure the necessary equipment
You do not need a sophisticated studio to record your podcast. However, it is necessary to have a computer with the appropriate software installed. It’s also good practice to invest in a microphone that will give your show good sound quality. No one wants to listen to a show recorded through your cell phone microphone while you’re riding in your car with the windows down. Remember your audience. You’ll also need music for podcasts, so make sure you have the right editing software to incorporate this.
Decide when and where you’ll be publishing your podcast
Set up a reasonable schedule for sending out new episodes of your podcast. If you think you can rise to the occasion of daily podcast episodes, then go for it! Just know this is a big commitment. It might be best to start out with weekly episodes and go from there. Also, find a publishing platform, like iTunes. There are many options out there, but this is one of the most popular and will likely bring your show to a wider audience.
Create a marketing plan of attack
Most people that create a podcast do it so that other people will listen. It’s important that you market your podcast appropriately and to the right target audience. A great place to start is via social media and online communities dedicated to the topic you’ve chosen for your podcast. These avenues are typically free, unless you run a paid promotion for your podcast. While paid promotions are not necessary, you’ll definitely reach a larger, as well as more targeted audience with some budget dollars behind your posts.
So, these are the basic steps for creating a podcast and getting it up and running. Next would be casting a wider net to grow your audience and a good place to start is podcast syndication.
Podcasts and Syndication
Syndication is a tricky business in any industry, but it can get pretty dicey when it comes to podcasts. You really need to dig deep to get your podcast link sent out to the right audience. A good practice is utilizing RSS feeds. This allows for you to market your podcast, and also, keep you in touch with other similar podcasts. It’s always good to know your competition!
Since this is such a tricky topic, we suggest reading about it in-depth via these resources:
Podcasts and Music Licensing
So, you’ve done all your research and your first few podcast episodes are ready to be edited and sent out over the digital airwaves. It’s important that you have the right music licensing to support the different segments within your show.
Many podcasts will have various recurring segments, as well as intro podcast music. It’s likely that these segments will be identified by some intro or background music. If you choose some music that you do not have the proper licensing for, it could get pulled from your show down the road. This means you’ll have to change that music and confuse your listeners. In addition, if you had it on various prior episodes, you’ll have to back track and edit all of those shows again.
This is one of the main reasons why you need a music licensing contract in place for all of the tunes you utilize for your podcast. If you use free music licensing, then you might run into some bigger issues down the line. The licensing rights may change on that particular track. In addition, someone else may use that music for a purpose that is directly contradictory to your own.
Best advice? Keep things simple and just get music licensing put in place for your podcast from the beginning.
The best podcasts for top niches
So, now you’re ready to get your podcast off the ground. How about some inspiration from the greats that have come before you? Check out some of these top podcasts for very popular topics
Sports - Sports podcasts can get more granular and talk about specific sports like baseball, hockey, football and soccer. You can also look for podcasts that discuss sports in general, or highlights from the past week/day.
Musicians - Musicians take their craft very seriously, so it’s important to keep in touch with the most recent goings on in the industry. Check out podcasts that offer interviews, breaking news and in-depth discussions on what matters most to musicians. Music industry podcasts are very popular.
Movies - Movies are a popular topic so there are no shortage of podcasts discussing the latests releases and reviewing them. But you can also search for more granular topics like 80s movies, film noir and film history.
News - There’s so much going on in the world these days, especially in politics, that it’s important to keep informed. Whatever your desire is in regard to keeping up with the news, there is likely a podcast to scratch that itch.
Fashion - Fashionistas and budding designers will always want to be in the know to keep their craft strong. A good podcast about fashion is the perfect way to learn more during your daily commute.
So, there ya go! Some great tips on making a podcast, how to stay inspired and how to outfit your podcast with the proper music licensing. Be sure to share your podcasts with us when you’re ready, and contact us for help with your music licensing contract!