Pandora Radio just quietly updated their submission process to allow anyone to submit music for consideration WITHOUT a physical CD.
For as long as I can remember, the submission process for independent (non-label) music has been an incredible headache. In the past, you had to submit two mp3s to Pandora for consideration. Easy enough. The headache came in that they REQUIRED you to have a PHYSICAL CD with a UPC in the Amazon store. I have no idea why they went this odd route. But there was no way around it (for non-label artists).
Getting a physical CD in Amazon is no easy feat. You can’t just send them a CD with a note saying “hey please put this in your store.” You have to setup a seller’s account and go through all of that paperwork. It’s a process. I know. I did it. It’s not quick and there’s lots of waiting around for materials to be received and approved.
If you sold CDs through CD Baby, they would get you setup in the Amazon store, so that typically streamlined this process a little bit.
However, with more and more artists turning to digital only releases, this outdated process denied these artists access to the most popular internet radio station in the US.
There is no guarantee that Pandora will accept the music. And as it is well documented, Pandora is on their own, very delayed time frame (they currently state it takes about 6 weeks for the review process). Mainly because a musician (human) listens to every piece of music entered into the Pandora database. The Music Genome Project, as Pandora calls it.
With 76.2 million active listeners, though, it’s worth getting your music on it (even if you don’t live in the 3 countries that offer it).
So how do you submit now?
Simple. Just go to http://submit.pandora.com (the address hasn’t changed) and enter in the information. You must have a Pandora account. If you currently don’t, register for a free account (or sign in through Facebook). If you’re an artist based in a country that does not offer Pandora, you can contact Pandora at email@example.com and request they create an account for you.
If the 2 songs are up to Pandora standards, then they will approve it and will then get in touch for the full album, EP or single.On the confirmation page it lists the estimated processing time is 6 weeks.
Independent artists may only submit one album at a time. Labels, distributors, publicists, managers, et al, can submit more than one release at a time by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
There is a great status bar which notes which stage of the process you are in: Submitted, In Review, Approved, Live.
Make sure to also register for SoundExchange to make sure you get paid for every stream.
Great news for independent musicians!
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based DIY musician and the creator of Ari’s Take. His record release show is March 29th at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Get tickets here. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake