Saturday, October 13, 2012

Music, Marketing, and How to Get Your Music on Pandora

Two years ago, I helped a friend get his first ten songs on iTunes using TuneCore. I think most people hope that iTunes and other new forms of digital distribution will open up a whole new base of fans and listeners, but that did not work out for my friend. While he definitely sold music, he never got a check, and most of his sales came from his own referrals, people he told to look for him on iTunes. Today he prefers to sell a CD face to face so he doesn't have to worry about getting a check in one, three or six months.

Getting on iTunes, or any digital distribution platform, is only half of getting your music into the hands, in front of the eyes or inside the ears of a consumer. The other half is marketing.

In the old days, we would buy our music in a store. We could touch the CD, or at least its packaging, admire the artwork, and sometimes even listen to the music before buying, depending on the store's technology level.

Today we can distribute our music online for almost nothing, but it is easy to forget that availability, even in an online catalog the size of iTunes, does not mean visibility. If you are not on page one and if people don't know to search for you, you may as well be on page infinity. Your music is not going to be found, let alone purchased!

How does one overcome this obstacle? How can one get one's music into the ear buds of a music hungry consumer if one is not in the same physical space? Paying big bucks for a billboard won't tell a consumer how good a song sounds. What is a talented, but unknown artist to do?

The thought came to me, what would it take to get my friend's masterpieces on Pandora? Pandora Internet Radio helps listeners explore music starting with one song, with the following songs bearing some subjective or logical relation to the palate required to like the first song.

I took my search to the Internet, and there are actually a lot of people willing to give answers, but the best advice is by Pandora’s "Music Curator" Michael Zapruder who has a blog on

I won't regurgitate everything he says, but I will point you to this well hidden link on Pandora's website where you can have your music reviewed if you meet basic qualifications, like a valid UPC code.

Searching further, I came across a survey that asks if you would like to see an easy, perhaps paid, way to get on Pandora. While easy pay for placement is not currently an option, I suggest making your voice heard if you want a shortcut way to submit!

Thanks for reading!

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