We work with all kinds of artists here at our Nashville mastering studio, including many independent artists. Once the mastering is complete, the artists often have it pressed to a CD, vinyl and/or just ready the digital files for digital release, but there’s one question we often get:
“How do I get my music on Pandora?”
We recently reported that Pandora founder Tim Westergren’s blogged how much some of the artists played on the site make per year (i.e. Drake gets around $3 million!), so it’s no wonder artists want their music played on the station. Additionally, it’s also a great way to obtain exposure from listeners who enjoy similar music to yours.
Since Pandora’s process is a little different than other streaming music sites like Spotify, I thought I’d detail the process here, particularly for artists that aren’t signed to a record label that handles this sort of thing.
- You must have a physical CD of your work. This undoubtedly is a hindrance to many artists, since so much music is released in digital only forms these days.
- Your CD must contain a UPC code. This is on the barcode on the back of the CD, and can typically be added as an option with the company printing your albums.
- The CD must be available for sale on Amazon. This is another requirement many artists don’t meet – but fortunately it is fairly simple to put your record for sale on the site. Again, your CD must have scannable barcodes with UPC codes on the back cover, and you must pay a fee of $29.95 to list your CD. Additionally, Amazon takes a 55 percent commission on each sale.
- This seems like a no brainer, but you must own the legal rights to your music for it to be accepted for play on Pandora.
- You must set up a standard Pandora account (which is free).
- You must submit two tracks from your album in MP3 form.
It should be noted, however, that meeting all these requirements does not guarantee that your music will be added to the Pandora library. The site uses a selection process, and the company admits that most submitted music will not be played.
“We have a deep respect for artists and their work, and we take the responsibility of curating Pandora’s collection very seriously,” reads the website. “While we feel a great affection and respect for everyone who makes the choice to create, the reality is the majority of the music or comedy we receive does not get selected.”
A final element you’ll want to be sure your music has are ISRC codes. This stands for International Standard Recording Code, and are written into the data of songs and are used for distribution rights. For more in depth information about ISRC’s, click here.
Fortunately, Sage Audio offers sequencing services which include ISRC encoding for only $35. To find out exactly what our audio mastering can do to improve your final mix, head to our Artist Account page to get a free mastering sample of your work.