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Audacity is commonly used to import music into your project, convert different audio files from one format to another, bring in multiple files and convert them, and more. In this article, we will learn how to add background music into your podcast, overdub and fade in and out. We will also discuss some additional information about importing music from CDs, cassette tapes, and vinyl records.

This Audacity tutorial has been taken from Getting Started with Audacity 1.3. Read more here.

Importing digital music into Audacity

Before you can add background music to any Audacity project, you’ll first have to import a digital music file into to the project itself.

Importing WAV, AIFF, MP3, and MP4/M4A files

Audacity can import a number of music file formats. WAV, AIFF, MP3 are most common, but it can also import MP4/M4A files, as long as they are not rights-managed or copy-protected (like some songs purchased through stores such as iTunes). To import a song into Audacity:

  1. Open your sample project.
  2. From the main menu, select File, Import, and then Audio.

    Importing and Adding Background Music with Audacity 1.3

    The audio selection window is displayed.

    Importing and Adding Background Music with Audacity 1.3

  3. Choose the music file from your computer, and then click on Open. A new track is added to your project at the very bottom of the project window.

    Importing and Adding Background Music with Audacity 1.3

Importing music from iTunes

Your iTunes library can contain protected and unprotected music files. The main difference is that the protected files were typically purchased from the iTunes store and can’t be played outside of that software. There is no easy way to determine visually which music tracks are protected or unprotected, so you can try both methods outlined next to import into Audacity. However, remember there are copyright laws for songs written and recorded by popular artists, so you need to investigate how to use music legally for your own use or for distribution through a podcast.

Unprotected files from iTunes

If the songs that you want to import from iTunes aren’t copy-protected, importing them is easy. Click-and-drag the song from the iTunes window and drop it into your Audacity project window (with your project open, of course).

Importing and Adding Background Music with Audacity 1.3

Within a few moments, the music track is shown at the bottom of your project window.

The music track is now ready to be edited in, as an introduction or however you desire, in the main podcast file.


  1. I try to click and drag my mp3 files into the project and I either get around 4 seconds of static, or no sound at all- the file is blank. Any advice for Audacity 2.3.0 on Mac?


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