Use Pandora to Build Your Audience

At the recent IBMA conference, streaming services were a popular subject; Anna Frick hosted a panel on leveraging streaming for audience development. Rachel Whitney of Pandora Media showed Leadership Bluegrass alumni how to interact with the service and get the greatest benefit of its features. Here’s Anna’s tutorial.

Pandora was founded in 2000, making it the elder among streaming music platforms. It developed a revolutionary music recommendation function, making it a particularly strong resource for music discovery. Pandora has a large free/ad-supported service and a smaller, ad-free subscription service. Today, Pandora Media, recently bought out by Sirius XM, claims over 72 million active listeners, over 5 million paying subscribers, and 36 million active monthly users. It trails Apple Music and Spotify in market share and leads all others including Soundcloud, Google, Amazon, and IHeartRadio. Streaming services such as these are great for use in businesses like retail to play music throughout their stores, however, there are some limits, but they can learn more about how to go about that by checking out helpful websites such as

All that is to say, it’s worthwhile for artists to master the audience engagement tools of Pandora to help propel their careers forward. Here’s a quick tutorial for any music creator seeking to use Pandora effectively to their advantage.

1. Be sure your music is available on Pandora.

If you used an aggregator such as CD Baby or TuneCore, your music was probably sent to Pandora, but it might not actually be available for fans (or potential fans) to hear. Why not? Pandora requires an artist to take an extra step to get their music up and running on their service. Don’t worry – it’s super easy!

  • Go to and sign in with your account (or create a free account).
  • Fill out the contact information and details about your submission.
  • Verify your account.

Why do they require a second step? Pandora is a curated collection, and this submission process prioritizes your music for review. Review puts it through the Music Genome analysis that describes the music to its recommendation algorithm, enabling your music’s placement on listeners’ playlists and in compatible curated Pandora “radio stations.”

2. Amplify your music to Pandora listeners.

Once your music is live on Pandora there are a number of ways you can help amplify it, all inside their AMP dashboard: The first step is to claim your artist profile: Once your artist profile is claimed, you can:

  • See insights and analytics using their Next Big Sound analytics tools that you can use to better engage with fans.
  • Create and curate your own artist Pandora radio station.
  • Engage, speak and connect directly with your fans using Artist Audio Messaging and AMPcast. Tell them about your new single, your next show near them or share a photo from the studio.
  • Feature a track. This will boost the spins the track gets across other (compatible) stations to reach new listeners and then provide feedback and evaluation.
  • Build a campaign. This feature allows an artist to use all of the tools in a coordinated, multi-layered and scheduled effort to engage with fans to sell tickets for a tour, sell merch, and/or promote an album, all while gaining powerful insights through the captured metrics

3. Get paid by Pandora.

A common complaint is about the poor royalty rates paid by all streaming services. Fair enough, but you deserve your share of those pennies, or fractions of pennies.

  • Register your compositions with Music Reports, Inc: Pandora is among the digital music services that use Music Reports, a rights administration organization, to pay publishing license fees. Their Songdex database is the world’s largest registry of music rights. These will most likely be paid to you through your aggregator (i.e. CD Baby, TuneCore, etc.). If you used an aggregator, it’s likely that they registered at Music Reports for you, but you should check with them to be sure.
  • Register your recordings with SoundExchange: This is where your artist royalty payments will come from for streaming via Pandora’s large ad-supported platform.

You can find more information about how you get paid from Pandora here:

4. Make sure your aggregator has your current payment information.

As you get started with the listener engagement tools, use Pandora’s artist support center – it’s really responsive. If you have any questions or run into issues, contact them. Go to and select “Talk to us” for a direct email link.