Reposted with permission. Originally posted by Chris Robley at the CD Baby DIY Musician blog.
I’ve just spent the morning checking out Pandora’s new promotion tools available to artists who are distributing music to Pandora via a licensed partner (like CD Baby). Without turning this post into a list of superlatives, let me just say that they’re great and you should be using them if your music is on Pandora.
What are the tools? We’ll get to that. But first…
Who can you reach with the new suite of tools in Artist Marketing Platform (or AMP)? Potentially, lots of people — and for free.
Because Pandora’s Music Genome maps similar artists and songs across a huge taxonomy of musical attributes, every time someone creates a station based on a a similar artist or song, your music has a chance of being served to that listener. This is what Pandora calls “The Pandora Effect.”
The more times listeners create a station based on YOUR music, the more often it gets played in other stations.
- On average, if you’re one of the top 10 artists on Pandora (you’re probably not reading this blog), 8 new people will hear your music for every one station seeded with your artist name or song title.
- If you’re in the “mainstream” — which Pandora defines as the top 1000 artists on the service — 22 new people will hear your music for every station created.
- And for “developing artists” — which is everyone else (more than 150,000 artists) — 45 new fans will hear your songs for each station created from your music.
Is your music on Pandora?
First thing’s first: none of these tools or discovery opportunities will do you any good if your music isn’t on Pandora. To find out if you’re already active on Pandora, login to your Pandora listener account and search for your artist name in the “Create Station” field. If you are able to create a station based on your artist name, you are active on Pandora. If you aren’t on Pandora yet, it’s a simple submissions process. Go HERE. It takes minutes at most.
Then wait with fingers crossed for a yes or no response. If they say no thanks, it’s a bummer for sure, and better luck on your next release — but a no thanks isn’t necessarily a reflection of the quality of your music. Pandora curates their catalog according to their current needs, and I imagine they have some genres where they’re already overstuffed on great new music.
If they DO want your music based on the few songs you submitted (congrats), they’ll acquire your whole release and enter it into their catalog (and Music Genome). How? CD Baby! We’ve entered into a partnership with Pandora, so if you’re distributing music through us and also get accepted by Pandora, we’ll deliver your songs to them AND make it easy for you to claim your profile on Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform so you can use all their promotion and analytics tools — some of which (Artist Audio Messages and Featured Tracks, for instance) are only available to artists whose music has been delivered to Pandora by a licensed partner such as CD Baby.
If your music is already on Pandora’s standard radio service, but you’d like CD Baby to make sure your songs are included in Pandora Plus (which gives users more options such as ad-free, offline listening, song replay, additional skips, and more), you’ll just have to make sure you’re opted in for distribution to streaming services within your CD Baby member account. This will also unlock the suite of promotion tools described below AND enable Pandora to include your music in whatever interactive streaming platform they may be dreaming up.
Here’s how to claim your profile on Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform
Once your music is active on Pandora:
- Go to amp.pandora.com/claim-artist
- Fill out the required information
- In the “Additional Information for Verification” section, write “I am a CD Baby artist”
- Please allow up to six weeks for the AMP Support team to create your account
- You will be notified directly when your account is ready
- Learn more about the marketing and analytics tools on AMP and Next Big Sound at AMPplaybook.com
If you’re already active on Pandora and have an existing AMP account, but you want to unlock all of these new promotion tools:
- Email email@example.com from the email address you use to log into AMP and include “CD Baby Artist Claim” in the subject line
- Please allow up to six weeks for the AMP Support team to activate the marketing tools for your account
- You will be notified directly when your account is ready
- You can log into the Pandora app on your iOS device using your AMP login credentials to start using AMPcast right away to record and publish short audio messages for your fans
- Learn more about AMPcast and the other marketing and analytics tools on AMP and Next Big Sound at AMPplaybook.com
How to use Pandora’s AMP tools
Okay, here’s the fun part. Pandora’s AMP tools allow you to get your messaging directly to fans WHILE they’re listening to your songs.
These tools include:
- AMPcast — Connect with fans at the moment they’re most engaged, while they’re actually listening to your music. With AMPcast, you can record a short audio message (15 seconds or less) for your fans, right from your phone. You can set the message to play before or after specific songs, or leave it defaulted to play alongside any one of your songs on Pandora. Use a call-to-action and include a link (that will appear inside the picture displayed during playback) so listeners can click right from Pandora to purchase concert tickets, buy merch, watch a music video, contribute to a crowdfunding effort, or almost anything else you can imagine. You can geographically target these adds too, so it’s a great way to promote a tour. You can also use AMPcast to share more casual, behind-the-scenes moments, and post photos from the road or studio.
- Artist Audio Messages —This tool is similar to AMPcast, but it lets you schedule a series of messages to air at different times throughout your album or single’s release cycle. For instance, start off with a message that introduces the lead single with an anecdote from the studio or about the origins of the song; then you follow up with messaging about pre-ordering the album; another that boosts viewership for a video premiere; news about a tour in support of the album; and so forth. Just like with AMPcast, all these messages can be geo-targeted. A typical audio message reaches about 10% of your active listeners within the first two weeks. That can be about 2-3 times greater than the organic reach you’d have on social media. Because of Pandora’s massive scale, they claim that Audio Messages will yield 2-8 times the amount of people clicking your links than with social media or even paid advertising.
- Featured Tracks — Select one of your songs to be the “featured track” for the next eight weeks. That song will get up to a 90% increase in spins on Pandora. The benefits are twofold: you give the song you think has the most potential the best chance to reach the most listeners AND you can test its performance and track results to see if you want to make a video for that song or put money behind its promotion.
- Campaigns —A campaign on Pandora allows you to use Audio Messages and Featured Tracks in conjunction, along with spontaneous messages via AMPcast, to craft a kind of big-picture marketing story for your music, while simultaneously seeing granular analytics about that campaign’s results.
- Next Big Sound — With Next Big Sound you can get a overview of your digital footprint across the Internet, including your presence on social. This is pretty cool, since it gives you a kind of summary of your activity and influence. You can see where you’re at in your career compared with other artists on Pandora, and use this information to set new goals and identify areas for improvement.
Pair all this with the analytics already offered by AMP and you’ve got a pretty powerful set of tools to drive additional merch and ticket sales, video views, and more among existing fans on Pandora. The more interaction you have with those listeners, the more they’ll create stations based on your music and give your songs thumbs up. Every time that happens, your music will be served to even more new listeners. And on, and on, and on, and on.