Podcasting Music and Getting Permission

Patricia writes, How do I find out the terms of the particular musician to show whether or not I am required to give credit?
Do you know where I can purchase royalty free music tracks that I don’t have to give verbal credit to? I found some sites where I can purchase royalty, but I still have to give verbal credit in my podcasts to the ones I found.
How can I find music with some of the more open Creative Commons licensing options so I won’t need to give credit to the musician?

In general, it’s a good thing to give credit to a musician when you use their works, whether you are required to or not. This can be as simple as mentioning the use of the work as part of the credits at the end of your show or providing a specific shout out when the song is played during the course of your show. My theory behind giving credit is the artist was generous enough to make their work available for your use; you should return the favor and do what you can to cultivate enough interest in the artist so they remain motivated to provide you with free access to their works. In other words, it’s unfair to expect something for nothing.
Of course there are exceptions to everything and certain Creative Commons licensing options will afford you the option to not mention the creator of a song out loud, as well as a number of royalty free music sites where you can pay for tracks without needing to attribute the creator as part of the audio.
Creative Commons logo If you’re not familiar with Creative Commons, it’s a non-profit organization that established a number of simplified copyright licensing options for creative people to make sharing their works easier without giving up copyright in the process. These licensing options range from restrictive in requiring attribution while forbidding commercial use and alteration of your work aka Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. To the much more open ended Attribution only or Public Domain dedication.
I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that you can provide attribution in both the ID3 metadata of the file you redistribute and/or on the Website where you host your files. This gets around providing a verbal shout out for using the track while still making sure the artist gets his or her due. Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer before doing anything that might involve a legal infringement.
Creative Commons does provide a search of music with Creative Commons licensing although it can be time consuming to find anything you actually care to use.
Royalty free music, which is generally easier to use without attribution because you are paying a one-time fee for access to the music. One of my favorite sources of royalty free music, Shockwave-Sound.com offers decent sounding tracks at affordable prices with no attribution requirements. The only thing you can’t do with their music is try to pass it off as your own. Another potential source of royalty free sounds, Partners In Rhyme offers fairly clear licensing as well, making the stipulation that you can’t offer their files as a standalone download or re-bundled for sale in a collection of royalty free tracks. It gets more confusing at places like SoundDogs.com, which wants a cue sheet of every place music appears in a production.
Another alternative is to find a musician you like and see if they’ll compose some music you can use. This likely won’t be free, but you might be able to negotiate something where you can use the music without attributing it in the audio file, opting instead for attribution on your site or in the ID3 tags. For The Chris Pirillo Show, we got some help from a guy named Dave Ryder, who I believe also did music for a handful of other podcasters.