Cut and use tops, bottoms, and bumpers to give your podcasts a professional feel.
You can use copyrighted material [Hack #68] from your favorite band to add music to your podcast, but the licensing issues can cost you time, money, and frustration. With today’s music tools, you can create the top, bottom, and bumper music for your podcast very easily, and own the rights to the material.
Tops, bottoms, bumpers, and stingers are music segments placed at the beginning, ending, and middle of your show. In the commercial radio world, bumpers bring you in and out of commercials. Stingers sit in between segments in a news show to delineate between stories.
Whether these short music segments have vocals is up to you. For a mellower, more thoughtful show, you might go with only acoustic material and for a music show with a hard edge you might pick up something with vocals for the top and bottom. Generally the bumpers and stingers, because they are shorter, will not contain vocals.
From a music standpoint, you want something that makes its presence felt and presents its theme in about four bars. If you are going to use a song, you should look at the beginning segments of a song for the tops, and the ends of songs for the bumpers. In any case, you should prefade the start and end portions of these segments to ease the transition from spoken word to music.
Apple’s GarageBand and Sony’s ACID [Hack #50] make it very easy to construct songs ...