How To Get Your Music on Pandora
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to get your music on Pandora as an artist, including technical requirements you should be aware of. We’ll also share key facts about the music streaming platform and tell you how to earn royalties, and get paid on Pandora.
Facts About Pandora
With around 50 million active users and billions of customized radio stations created by users and moderators, Pandora is one of the leading music discovery platforms in the United States providing personalized music experiences via customized radio stations based on a users favorite artists and preferred genres.
Pandora offers three models for its users:
Free model: Pandora users can listen to music for free with audio advertisements and a limited amount of skips (ability to skip to the next track),
Pandora Plus: With Pandora Plus, users can pay $4.99/month and enjoy unlimited skips and some offline listening, or
Pandora Premium: For $9.99/month, users can upgrade to Pandora Premium and receive unlimited offline listening, the ability to create playlists with unlimited skips and replays, and search through Pandora's 50+ million song catalog to play or download anything they want to their device.
Pandora is only available in the United States
After previously being available in Australia and New Zealand, Pandora is now only available in the United States. Global radio operation laws have prevented Pandora from launching its radio service in any countries other than Australia, New Zealand, and the US in the past. If this is one of your key markets, you will definitely want to get your music on the music streaming platform.
Pandora uses musical traits to deliver music
The heart of Pandora is the underlying Pandora Music Genome Project database. It creates the music streaming playlists that users hear by first choosing a random song from the selected artist and then defining its characteristics to find the next song. These characteristics include the arrangement, beat, form, harmony, lyrics, melody, orchestration, rhythm, syncopation, tempo, and the song’s voice.
Spotify vs. Pandora
Although Spotify and Pandora are both music streaming platforms, they operate on two different philosophies. Spotify lets users choose the songs they want and when they want to hear them. In contrast, Pandora users only create radio stations based on their preferred music style or artist.
However, with the launch of Pandora Premium in 2017, Pandora became a more direct competitor to Spotify as Pandora Premium users have the same freedom to listen to artists and songs of their choosing as well as create their own playlists. And although it’s not number one in terms of the number of users, Pandora gets a lot of praise for the rich music discovery features of its radio stations — which makes it a great place for you to get your music discovered by new fans.
Not sure how to get your music on Pandora? Curious how the platform works for artists? What’s the deal with rights? It can look complicated but don’t worry, it can be done easily enough. In the next section, we’ll walk you through getting your music on Pandora.
How to Upload Music to Pandora
Follow these 5 easy steps to get your music on Pandora
Create your release and select Pandora in the shop selection.
Be sure to upload your music files in WAV format, and your artwork with the dimensions 3000 x 3000 pixels.
Our QA team will contact you directly if anything needs to be corrected.
Now, How to Put Your Music on Pandora
For unsigned artists, there are two different ways you can submit your music to Pandora
You can either use a distributor, such as iMusician, or choose not to.
If you decide not to use an online digital distribution service to distribute to Pandora, you must submit your content for consideration by Pandora via their independent artist submissions portal: amp.pandora.com/submit. However, if you decide to go this route, an important thing to note is that your music will not be available on Pandora Plus or Pandora Premium.
In order to have your music included in the interactive streaming service Pandora Premium, or to be eligible for the interactive features of Pandora Plus, you must use a licensed distributor, such as iMusician (see our pricing), to get your music on Pandora. However, just because your music is distributed to Pandora Premium does not mean it will automatically be available in Pandora Radio, which is why we recommend you still submit your music to Pandora Radio via their artist submissions portal along with distribution through your digital music distributor.
For artists signed by a label
Just ask your label to distribute you on Pandora. Your label’s partner certainly has an agreement with Pandora and will be able to deliver directly. If not, your label will have to contact Pandora.
Note: iMusician has special digital music distribution offers for independent labels.
iMusician makes it easy to get your music on all of the popular streaming services and digital stores around the world, including Pandora. Simply choose one of our budget-friendly digital music distribution plans and select Pandora when finishing up your release.
Pandora for Artists
Similar to platforms like Spotify, Pandora provides tools within its platform for artists to reach both their existing audience and potential new listeners. For Pandora, this is their Artist Marketing Platform, Pandora AMP. In order to utilize AMP, you have to first claim your Pandora profile, which you can do here. Be aware that this process takes up to 60 days, so plan your releases accordingly.
Once you’ve claimed your artist profile and signed on, you’re given access to a suite of tools that allows you to promote singles, albums, shows, and just about anything else going on in your musical world. These features include:
- Artist Audio Messages (AAM) - These are simple voice-overs that you can add to your profile that will play before or after a track. You can use these to explain the creation, the context, or anything you'd like to add to promote the song. You can also direct your listeners to tap the screen to take an action such as listening to your album, watching your music video, or buying your merch.
- AMPcast - record messages similar to AAM directly from your phone to upload to your profile rather than uploading a prerecorded file.
- Featured Tracks - If you would like to feature a specific track or release of yours, you can mark a track as "Featured" within your profile. This means the song will receive up to 90% more streams than your other songs on Pandora for the next 8 weeks while it’s being featured. Pandora's algorithm will make sure that the people who are most likely to enjoy your music are receiving your featured track when discovering you.
- Pandora Stories - These allow artists to share their stories through curating their own Playlists and Mixtapes from Pandora’s catalog. Artists can insert audio messages introducing each song and its significance. These Mixtapes differ from your common playlists on other platforms in that they are more like radio stations - songs of the playlist are invisible and are constantly shuffled.
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How Can We Help You?
Yes, you can submit your content for consideration by Pandora via their independent artist submissions portal: amp.pandora.com/submit. However, if you are interested in taking full advantage of Pandora by having your music featured on Pandora Premium and Pandora Plus, you will need to use a digital music distributor like iMusician.
You can either upload your music independently to Pandora's independent artist submissions portal: amp.pandora.com/submit or distribute your music to Pandora via a digital music distributor like iMusician.
The three different Pandora services - Pandora Radio, Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium - generate different kinds of royalties for artists. Not only do each of these services generate different royalties, but those royalties are paid to you differently depending on how your music was added to Pandora’s catalog. For a full breakdown on Pandora royalties and payouts head over to Pandora's help portal.
Yes, Pandora is a good music app and can play a key role in your discovery as an independent artist. Since Pandora is at its core a music discovery platform, it differs slightly from other streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, but with 64+ million active listeners it remains a legitimate competitor.