The Musician’s Guide to Pandora Promotion
While Spotify deserves kudos for its free Artist toolkit, no music service has provided more opportunities for artists to connect with fans than Pandora. Pandora AMP (Artist Marketing Platform) is an offering that its competitors can learn from.
By Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR
Pandora has been working hard to develop great self-serve programs to help artists more deeply connect with their fans on the platform. Here’s how to get in the game!
Pandora has over 70 million active users and those users have generated 70 Billion thumbs up and downs (according to DMR). This makes them a major player in the streaming game but many artists are not aware of how they can utilize Pandora to connect with fans that are already listening and gain new ones.
You probably already know that Pandora does not accept all the music that is submitted to them. It is worth submitting as you can not only use Pandora to get exposure to a wider audience but also, you can get paid royalties from SoundExchange if you are accepted.
The Music Genome Project is a team of musicologists responsible for analyzing and reviewing all tracks submitted for consideration. They have worked to develop an algorithm based on 450 attributes they found in songs to match with similar songs.
Here is what you should do in order to get established on the platform:
You Must Submit Your Music to Pandora (Even if Your Distributor Said They Handled This)
Most digital distributors will send your music to Pandora. However, submitting it again by going here will prioritize it for review.
When submitting your music, choose ONE track to highlight, whether it be from an album, EP, or single, that you feel best represents you as an artist. All music you submit must be sent to Pandora via one of their licensed partners. You can check the status of your music review here and don’t forget to sign into the account you submitted with to check the status. Once your track is approved, the rest of your music available through a licensed partner will be considered.
After you submit to Pandora, you will receive an email confirmation to your listener email account notifying you that it has been received for review. You can check up on your status here.
Register With SoundExchange
Also, make sure you register with SoundExchange so you can claim your digital performance royalties.
SoundExchange pays you royalties for streams through ad-supported services while your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) pays you royalties generated from the subscription service.
Update Your Artist Profile
It’s important for you to update your artist profile with your bio and lyrics to all your songs on Pandora.
Check Out Your Next Big Sound Data
Pandora bought Next Big Sound back in 2015 and they offer great reports that will show you user demographics, how many spins, interactive plays, thumbs ups, and downs plus how many fans are adding you to their stations. But there is another thing that is really cool – you can also add to the weekly email summary all other artists that you may want to track so you can compare and contrast how they are doing and glean marketing inspiration. Dan Wissinger, Sr. Product Manager, wrote this great blog post that puts into context why this is important and how to follow other artists.
Before diving into this new feature, there are a few steps you need to take if you haven’t already done so…
- Have you submitted your music to Pandora? Were you accepted? (check by logging in!)
- Did you claim your AMP profile? Read on for how to do this… or better yet watch!
There is a great webinar that Pandora put together that gives you a full overview in 14 minutes – click above
Pandora AMP is a suite of tools within Pandora that enable you to connect with fans, promote what is happening in your career, and make more money.
You must claim your AMP profile approx 2 months in advance of your next release as it can take a while for your AMP to activate.
Once you’ve set up your AMP profile, you can begin to create a promotions campaign.
What to promote with AMP
New singles you are dropping
EPs you are releasing
Shows you are promoting
Here are the tools that are available:
Artist Audio Messages – AAM
Artist Audio Messages (AAM) allow you to speak directly to your fans while they are listening to your music. You can also share these audio messages on your socials to increase your reach on Pandora by leading your fans to the platform and encouraging them to create stations featuring you!
Pandora has created a fabulous tool to help you called the AMP playbook of their tips for how to create effective AAMs you can read here.
- AMPcast is an extension of AAM’s so you can record short audio messages on-the-go using your phone rather than uploading a recording created outside of the platform. Again, these messages are not meant to be ads but rather a way for you to share a moment with your fans. It’s an extremely effective promotional tool you can use to alert fans of new songs, exclusive ticket offers, live events, or simply as a unique platform to share photos and personal messages.
Pandora suggests including a CTA (Call to Action) in your message to make the best use of this tool. Here are some ideas for your message:
- Thumbs Up: Record a call-to-action asking listeners to “thumbs up” your track if they like it
- Antidote: (These are performing very well on Pandora) tell a little story about the track why you wrote it / what inspired it / a story about the studio etc.
- Geo Target: You can also record multiple messages to target specific cities around tour dates – these will be played to listeners in the specific areas where you are touring.
- Selecting a Featured Track means your song will be spun more frequently and introduced to new listeners on more stations. Featured Tracks last for up to eight weeks so listeners can evaluate if they like the track. The Genome uses this data to ensure it reaches the right listeners. Tracks can be eligible to be featured if:
- It hasn’t been featured before
- It was first spun on Pandora within the last 365 days
- The track is receiving at least 10 spins a week
Pandora Stories – Playlists and Mixtapes
Pandora recently announced an addition to AMP called Pandora Stories. The feature allows musicians and other creators to share their music-driven stories through curating Playlists and Mixtapes from Pandora’s catalog. Creators can enhance the listener experience by recording and inserting Voice Tracks into the Program with their commentary. This new tool will take playlist curation to the next level by creating more personal connections between musicians and their audiences.
Create and Share a Playlist
Pandora has been working hard to stay competitive in the playlist game by adding features that offer a more personalized touch to the listening experience. In their attempt to compete with Spotify’s Discover Weekly, they launched a feature exclusive to Pandora Premium users that creates personalized playlists using The Music Genome Project.Create a playlist (and add your own music) and share it on socials.
Programs can be formatted as Mixtapes, Playlists, or a combination of both. Mixtapes function similarly to Radio stations in that tracklists are invisible and played in shuffle mode. Mixtapes have to include at least 80 tracks from at least 16 albums by at least 10 artists. These are available to all tiers of Pandora users while Playlists are available to all Pandora users. Those with the free subscription must watch a video advertisement before listening to a Playlist.
Playlists display the tracklist and creators can organize the tracklist around their Voice Tracks. Listeners also have the option to listen to the program in shuffle mode but Voice Tracks will not be played. Creators can choose to have their Program on their profile indefinitely or run for a set period of time.
When creating a Program, you can add appropriate tags to increase your Program discoverability. Pandora recommends not using more than 5 tags.
Find Your Unique Playlist POV Using a Contextual Playlist Strategy:
Ask yourself: What is your unique POV? Try curating a journey of how you put together playlists. Read this article for why and how.
Connect to Facebook & Twitter
You can connect to socials, so your updates so they happen automatically on your Facebook and Twitter.
Promote Your Pandora Channel
The next step is creating a Pandora Artist Channel and driving your personal network who use Pandora (or implore them to sign up) Include Your Pandora Station in Your Newsletter.
This is how our friend Cassandra Kubinski did it: