Pandora was born 17 years ago this month. That makes it one of the oldest players in the digital game. And with almost 80 million active users… Pandora is also the largest music streaming service in the world. Which begs the question, why aren’t more artists talking about Pandora?
Perhaps — like the old adage reminds us — it’s that we never get a second chance to make a first impression. Like most things in existence on the internet, at the turn of the millennium, Pandora was clunky and hard to use. It also relied on the user having a great connection, which was in short supply. This initial impression has made it easier for newer, spunkier, not-your-dads-digital-service-providers to receive a better first impression.
Your impression of Pandora needs a firmware upgrade. Pandora has grown by leaps and bounds. Especially over this last year. Here is a list of reasons why you should pay attention… if you’re not already:
Pandora is the largest music streaming service in the world. If for nothing else, mo’ listeners are mo’ money. Of course, there are other great reasons besides money, but at the end of the day, your tour van is thirsty, and your merch table is looking bare. Also, since the last quarter of 2016, Pandora is paying most content-providers direct. This means the payout is faster — and higher.
Pandora’s artist marketing platform (AMP) is incredible. Most of the data provided by a digital service provider go to the distributor, which shares it with the label. This data is generally compiled over time and may not make it back to the artist, depending on the deal. AMP is available to everyone on your team. When it’s time to set up a tour, you can see which cities play your music the most. If you are trying to decide which is a better single, put all the choices up and see which one does better. If your music is already on Pandora, you can claim your AMP profile here. If your music isn’t on Pandora yet, you can submit it here.
AMPcast is an app for your smartphone that allows you to record short messages which will play before your song(s). You can announce a new single. You can target your messages to folks near an upcoming show. You can even include a call-to-action which increases click-through rates 2-8 times over social media. In addition to that tool, if you’ve already claimed your profile, you can connect your social profiles within Pandora so you’ll be tagged when someone shares that they’re playing your song. This both notifies and promotes you. The world is yours. Geography, technology, and gatekeepers are no longer in between you and your listeners.
Everything on the internet is being tracked and measured. Though it’s just further evidence of my point, I’m not talking about the PRISM surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden. Every time someone searches for you, plays a song, or clicks like, it’s measured and stored indefinitely. The more it happens, the higher you will land in searches, and the more your content will be offered. This applies to all digital service providers. As a strategy, why not send people where that would have the maximum impact? In other words, where everybody is at.
For most, trying to get played on the radio is a giant waste of time. I understand the desire because I’m told that at one time terrestrial radio used to be a great tool to discover new music. I wish I knew what that was like. During my formative years, it seemed like radio only had 20 songs in rotation at best. Now it seems like less. Regardless, the concept of discovering new music or being introduced by a tastemaker is still here. In fact, the internet and it’s ability to organize communities and measure data has made it even easier for one to find their niche. Besides the poorly-executed, well-meaning posters hanging in bookstores during the 90s, Pandora is the innovator of — if you like X, you’ll love Y! You can be on the radio. Pandora is radio! A worldwide network of radio stations. Some of which are perfect for you and will connect you with listeners that’ll love you. Pandora’s algorithm is the tastemaker!
Sharing this information isn’t supposed to make you disregard other digital service providers. Instead, it’s supposed to encourage you to include Pandora in your thoughts and future strategies. How will you be using Pandora? I’d love to hear from you on social media.