Background music loops and songs in audio or video podcasts certainly make the show more interesting for listeners but the real problem for Podcast producer comes when they have to find good music on the web which can be be plugged into the podcasts.
Agree, you can just Google and find tons of MP3 files from famous bands but there are serious legal issues involved - embedding pirated music content in your podcast can be disastrous if the recording company discovers you or your podcast. He will have ample proofs to support his claim in the courts.
The other good option is buy a professional audio software like Adobe Audition, Fruity Loops Studio, Apple Garageband or AcidPro from Sony Vegas and produce the music loops yourself. But until you have interest in music, understand the jargon like sampling, envelopes or waveforms, skip it and move to the next stop.
What you really need is music that's free to download, doesn't require a permission from the artist or involve any kind of royalty fees or license copyright issues. And believe me, there are lot of upcoming music artists who are willing to give away their work in return of little credit and recognition.
This kind of royalt free music is known "Podsafe Music" which Podcasters can safely mix in their podcasts without the fear of receiving a "cease & dessist" notice from the RIAA.
Podsafe Music Content is generally distributed under the Creative Commons licenses that allows podcasters to freely use the music as long as they give credit to the original author of the soundtrack.
Here's a link to some of my favorite sites for finding free but legal podsafe musik in high quality mp3 format:
» GarageBand - First, don't confuse Garageband.com with Apple's iLife Music Loop Software which also has the same name. Garageband is my favority destination to find free MP3 for podcasts. The songs are neatly categories and rated by editors and the music community.
If you are in a hurry, head over to GarageBand Charts where you'll only see top rated content sorted by genre. The site claims to have 100,000's of podcast-ready mp3 downloads. The songs hosted on Yahoo Launch cast are also sourced from GarageBand.
» Podsafe Audio - This site hosts tons of Podsafe Music MP3 files under the Creative Commons license for Podcasting. If you are over 40, you will enjoy using PodSafe Audio more than GarageBand as the font is larger and more readable. The site has daily popularity charts as well as weekly charts.
» Flashkit Loops - This is probably the largest collection of royalty free music loops and sound effects in mp3 or wav formats. You can listen to the sound track inside the embedded flash player before downloading the file. Need some good music quickly ? There's a listing Top Rated Loops for you.
» Music Podshow - Adam Curry, MTV VJ and the godfather of Podcasting, recently revamped the Podshow Podsafe Music site.
While the content and layout is amazing, the drawback with Podshow Music is that it requires site registration and you have to prove that you are a real podcaster before using the podsafe music as the site reports usage about who is using the artist's content. The music is made available only in streaming form to casual listeners.
Remember, the music can be included in any form of broadcast like PPT presentations, webcasts, screencasts or even photocasts. Looking for additional resources ? Try some of the links below:
» audacity.sourceforge.net/ » freesound.iua.upf.edu/ » hype.non-standard.net/ » magnatune.com/ » music.download.com/ » odeo.com/ » podcasts.yahoo.com/ » www.3hive.com/ » www.allmusic.com/ » www.audioscrobbler.com/ » www.epitonic.com/ » www.last.fm/ » www.magnatune.com/ » www.ourmedia.org/ » www.pandora.com/ » www.podcast.net/ » www.podcastalley.com/ » www.podshow.com/ » www.purevolume.com/