Blog Post

Updated: Pandora opens submission process to independent artists

More underground artists have the opportunity to take advantage of Pandora (s p): The company announced Thursday that it will open its submission process to independent and self-releasing artists.

Previously, artists on Pandora needed a CD available on hard copy with a UPC on Amazon (s amzn). Now musicians who have submitted their work digitally through iTunes (s aapl), Amazon/MP3, CD Baby or Bandcamp (see disclosure) can submit their music directly to Pandora, where the company will listen to every single.

The process is simple: any Pandora user can submit music to the company by going to a submission page, jotting down a few details, and linking to where the music can be found online. The only catch is that self-releasing artists can only submit one track at a time, so those with large catalogues will have a longer process ahead of them.

Pandora has always had indie artists in its wheelhouse — it claims that two-thirds of Pandora’s catalogue is classified as indie, and about 44 percent of all plays on Pandora are songs from indie and self-releasing artists. But it’s also marketing this as as a win for smaller artists looking for visibility and new revenue streams. According to an email from Pandora, pays 0.13-0.23 cents ($0.0013 – $0.0023) per track per listener to SoundExchange, even if the song is just played for a single second.

Open submissions could turn Pandora into something that streaming radio services haven’t yet tackled: a launchpad for emerging artists. Distribution platform SoundCloud, popular for DIY musicians, remains relatively insular. Pandora’s new submission guidelines could not only mean an opportunity for new artists to reach listeners they haven’t before, it could also help the company differentiate itself from the competition.

Bandcamp is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom. Om Malik, founder of Gigaom, is also a venture partner at True.

This article has been updated with further information on artist royalties from Pandora.

2 Responses to “Updated: Pandora opens submission process to independent artists”

  1. Although Pandora’s royalty rates may be lower than artists would like, its’s great that they are helping smaller artists and, in effect, encouraging creative works. Also, the fact that Pandora is promoting new artists and also paying royalties undercuts the broadcasters’ argument that broadcast radio shouldn’t have to pay artists because they provide promotional value.

  2. markrushtonmp3

    Pandora’s old submission’s process for indie artists was straight out of 1999. It took me 5 months after being approved and mailing them a CD before it showed up in their system.

    The new submission process page has significant problems:

    The genre list is missing many major categories (blues, ambient, electronic, gospel, etc).

    What if music is available at iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp?

    Why is CDBaby an option? If you’re used their services, you’re about 100% likely to have your music on iTunes and Amazon.

    Also, the page asks “Please provide the name/s of the tracks you are submitting for review and a link to the site where your song can be heard and downloaded.” What do they mean by “heard and downloaded”? Why would you need to download my music?

    I’m sorry, but Pandora’s latest submissions page has a lot of problems. It looks like something that was thrown together without any critical review or quality assurance involved. I like Pandora as a service, but this is amateur hour.