Having access to free recording software like Garage Band (Mac) and Audacity (PC) has opened up an endless world of possibilities for our students. With this software, they’ve learned how to create impressive current events newscasts, audio narratives, and digital book reviews. But once they’ve mastered the software, students usually start looking for ways to make their podcasts feel more authentic.
Adding sounds and background music to podcasts can not only help with the pacing, but make them more engaging for listeners. For that reason, we thought it might be useful to highlight five of our favorite websites where your students can find royalty-free sound effects and music to help spice up their podcasts.
Freesound is always our first stop. Browse audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, screams and instrument samples all released under Creative Commons licenses. You never know what you’ll find, but if you’re looking for something specific, you can use a customizable keyword search and narrow down your choices. On the rare occasion that you can’t find what you’re looking for, hit the Freesound forum and throw down a request.
While you won’t find straight samples or sounds on Incompetech, you will find royalty-free music. We’ve found lots of useful tracks in the “silent film,” “soundtrack,” and “unclassifiable” categories.
Royalty-Free Samples & Field Recordings is a Sound Cloud group for people who are willing to share their own royalty free samples and field recordings to be used in others' music.
The folks who run Public Domain 4 U describe what they do perfectly and succinctly: “Great historical music recordings, free to download, play and share.” All of the tracks you’ll find on Public Domain 4 U were recorded before 1922, so get ready to time travel.
Sound Clips houses over 10,000 sounds, songs and strange audio effects. The interface isn’t as user-friendly as the one you’ll find on Freesound, but that doesn’t keep us from using this site.
If you’re new to podcasting and looking for creative ways to introduce students to it, check out this article by Erin Macpherson.