Thursday, February 28, 2008

Locating podsafe music

For the heritage walk project I needed a short piece of music for the introduction and ending of the audio file. this resulted in many hours being spent looking for possibilities. There is lots of music available online but finding appropriate pieces of music that can used legally is a little more difficult and time consuming. A lot of the music available that could be used is directed at an audience that would probably not listen to a heritage walk.

A search on Google for Podsafe Music was the starting point.

Wikipedia contains a useful introductory article about Podsafe music.

An article that discusses the problems in locating podsafe music is by Keith Robertson How to find podsafe music. He provides a list of sites that provide Creative Commons licensed music. Robertson is looking for full tracks to play on regular podcast programs while I just require a few bars to use. One of the sites he listed was CCMixter, - "a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want" - CCMixter website. On the Samples page a number of sites are listed including Magnatune samples which contains a section of loops available for remixing. The music is arranged by genre so I looked for something jazz oriented.

Another website that contains music mp3 files available for downloading for no charge is The audio files are often sample songs to showcase a performer or group and the full album can then be purchased. Being able to download music free of charge and then reusing it are two different issues. Often from such sites material can be used for non commercial use provided due acknowledgement is given. It is necessary to check the fine print which may not necessarily provide a clear explanation.

Much of the music online made available for podcasts is provided to be played in full to promote the recordings and the artists. What I require is a loop.

Back to Google (searched for - podcasts introduction music loops) where I found a number of possible websites including Flash Kit which includes a section containing loops that can be used in multimedia projects. The loops are predominantly labelled as shareware (there may be a charge) or freeware. The information on the use of freeware loops downloaded from the Flash Kit website states - " If you download a freeware loop, you may use it in your presentations as you see fit. As a courtesy it's nice to thank the creator of the loop, and include a link to them."

In the Search Sound Loops box I typed - Jazz freeeware - and from the list randomly chose a 15 second loop entitled Cool Jazz presented by Jie Ma. Description of the piece - "A smooth jazz type loop. A simple bass line, drums and synth strings. On top of that a beautiful jazz melody played on piano". I downloaded the loop to edit into the audio files for the walk.

It took may hours of trial and error searching to locate something that I could use - discovering what was available, determining what I really needed, investigating the legal aspects and using the correct terms to locate possible items was all part of the learning curve involved with this podcasting project.

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