Submitting Music to Pandora

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
headphones and CD on tabletop

If you're an independent artist, you'll want to check into getting your music on Pandora Internet Radio, a popular music streaming service that offers an excellent opportunity to grow your audience and win new fans. Pandora makes use of the Music Genome Project, a comprehensive database that uses musical analysis to deliver recommendations to listeners based on their tastes.

Pandora Services

People often describe Pandora as a music discovery service. You can use Pandora to create stations that are personalized to your taste by selecting music from artists whose work you already love. Based on music from those artists, Pandora suggests new music which has sonic qualities in common with the music you already enjoy. Pandora has 78 million listeners and offers three levels of streaming services.

Pandora's Curation Process

Pandora employs a curation team composed of people who listen to each track that's submitted, whether through the online portal or through a distributor, to determine whether it can be accepted onto the platform. If a track is accepted by Pandora's curation team, then it will be passed on to music analysts who will analyze it by using over 400 descriptors to assess its musical qualities. The track is added to the Music Genome Project so Pandora can begin matching it to artists whose music is similar.

Pandora's Preferences

Pandora considers all styles and genres of music, but the service prefers you work with an approved distributor like CDBaby, Tunecore, AWAL, or Symphonic before you submit your work. Once you've opted in with a distributor to make your music available to Pandora, you can then use Pandora's online submission portal to offer your best track for review. If Pandora accepts the track, they will obtain the rest of your content through your distributor, and your music will be played on all three levels of Pandora's streaming services: Ad-Supported Pandora, Pandora Plus, and Pandora Premium.

Submit Your Music

The best method of catching Pandora's attention with your music is twofold. First, use a distributor that makes your music available to Pandora. Second, submit your best track through Pandora's online portal. This method will increase your chances of your music being reviewed and accepted by the curators for inclusion on all Pandora's services. If you prefer not to use a distributor, you can still submit a music track through Pandora's online portal, but any music accepted for inclusion through the online portal that is not made available through a distributor will be played on Pandora's ad-supported service only.

Prove Rights to Your Music

To get paid royalties for your tracks, you need to prove you own the rights to the music before you submit it to Pandora. You must have written the music, and you must register it with a performing rights organization such as Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) or the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Release Your Music

man wearing headphones

Go ahead and release your music so it will be available to listeners should it be accepted on Pandora. Make your music available on platforms like Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon so people will be able to access and purchase your material when they run across it on Pandora and like what they hear.

Access Online Submission Portal

To initiate the process of submitting your music, you'll need to go to Pandora's online portal. If you don't already have an account on the portal, you'll need to create one by providing an email address and a password. If you already have an account, then log in with your email and your password.

Fill Out Your Information

Once you've logged in to Pandora's online portal, you'll need to provide information about yourself and your music. You must provide your name, your phone number, and whether you're an artist, a manager, or a person affiliated with a record label. You will also need to provide your artist or band name. Then you'll need to give the UPC code for your work, a purchase link, and a link to where your best track can be streamed online so Pandora's curation team can review it.

Wait for Review

Pandora assures independent artists they work as quickly as possible to review tracks, but the process takes time since more and more people are submitting music to the platform. While you are waiting, you can access the online portal to view the status of your submission, whether it is still in review, if it is accepted, and when it goes live after acceptance.

Increase Your Chances of Acceptance

Whether Pandora accepts your music is out of your hands, but there are a few things you can do to enhance your chances. If you're a serious independent artist, you need to make sure your effort reflects your commitment to putting out nothing less than top quality work.

  • Make sure the music you submit is produced, mixed, and mastered on a professional level, and your audio is of top-notch quality. Even if your music itself is excellent, a subpar presentation will result in rejection.
  • When you submit your music on the online portal, you'll find a section in which you can tell the curation team something about the track you're submitting. You could use this opportunity to share your thoughts on which established artists have music you feel is similar to your own.
  • Make sure the streaming link you offer through the online portal is to a complete track and not just to an excerpt.
  • Whether you're submitting a song or an instrumental piece, your track should be a well-developed composition that showcases an outstanding performance.

Worth the Effort

Independent musicians will find it is well worth their time and effort to submit their music to Pandora. The streaming service thrives on music discoverability and quality control, so acceptance by Pandora isn't just a badge of merit but carries tangible benefits. If your music gets accepted, the platform will give you a solid footing to get your work out to a wider audience, thereby increasing both your fan base and your sales.

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Submitting Music to Pandora