How To Get Your Music on Pandora and What To Do Next

Quiet entertainer pandora
One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is: How did I get my music on Pandora.com? Well, this is an easy question. Pandora has a wonderful FAQ section and the step-by-step process is spelled out nicely there. However, for the benefit of us all, I will walk you through everything I did, my thought process while doing it, and even what I am doing now that I have music on the site.

First off, it goes without saying. I’m a big fan of Pandora. Just about all the music I currently love is music that I discovered through either word of mouth or Pandora’s random selection. People like Blue Sky Black Death, Bonobo, and Free The Robots. So when I released the Machismo EP, I knew that I wanted it on Pandora. However (and in spite of the great instructions on their site), I hesitated. If you’re an artist, you might be hesitating too. I needed to do a lot of research. I felt like looking around and seeing if other indie artists were going this route. Thinking back, they obviously were or else where would all this great new music be coming from? Anyway, I kept stalling until I read a great blog post about Pandora over at genyrockstars.com. That’s a great post from Greg Rollett and long story short is a retelling of how to and why it’s great to be on Pandora. I recommend it for anyone who is wanting to do this. So anyway, it was a great kick in the pants and if I was going to be serious about my music, I needed to get on it. So, I got started.

I sent my Machismo EP in. I needed to have a barcode. At the time, i was struggling over whether to go with CDbaby or Tunecore to distribute the Machismo EP. I don’t know how it is now, but Tunecore was giving out barcodes with their subscription whereas CDbaby was charging extra fees. So I went with Tunecore for that reason alone. Also, you have to have your physical CD for sale on Amazon. You can easily set this up with Tunecore as i did with their on-demand store. You have to do this and you have to make sure it’s physical copy.

I uploaded two tracks to pandora.com ; filled out all the paperwork and sent that in along with a physical copy of the CD and then you wait. I took this time though to also fill out and get my stuff registered over at SoundExchange. Lots of paperwork, but you have to do all this stuff. Anyway, from the time I started this Pandora process until the time it showed up was about 6 months. Long time, eh? But hey, now it’s on there.

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Ok great! Well, how was anyone going to find my music? Well, if you’ve heard the Machismo EP, you know that I have two instrumental tracks and 6 tracks with emcees. Pandora had only analyzed one track (Machismo) into their system. This means that only that track would possibly show up in rotation. Also, it means that my similar artists would only be artists who had music similar to that one song. Well, it’s the curse of having a diverse little record. I emailed their support to see if they would do any more. They got back to me to say that it’s customary that only 1-5 songs would be analyzed. Well, I thought that was both good and bad. I was able to up the load to 3 analyzed tracks. You see in the pic above it’s the 3 tracks that it says “try tracks 2, 4, and 6.” Anyway, so I have made comments over at my profile and at my record about how anyone can download Machismo for free. And I can edit those comments later if i need to.


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So that’s cool. I noticed that they matched me up with artists like Dela & Panacea. Pretty cool, but I want people to catch my instrumental stuff too. Maybe the next record. One thing I also have done is create a Pandora station. I did this using Quiet Entertainer (again, that’s ME) as a seed. Also, I added some other artists that I like and other songs that I like as seeds. So anyone who listens to my custom Pandora station, will not only get a good mix of similar sounding artists according to Pandora but a great dose of stuff similar to what I’m listening to now and hopefully will have a keen ear to what my next record might sound like. Of course, you can hear the custom made Quiet Entertainer Pandora station here.


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That’s really about it. The joy of Pandora is that it picks music for you. I can’t really push my music on people; and I wouldn’t want to. I hope that it plays my stuff for people and that they enjoy it. I wish I could tell if people were finding me through Pandora. But I guess I have other things to worry about. Like working harder and creating more. Meanwhile, I hope this was helpful to artists and also to anyone else as more of an insight to another aspect of something I deal with as QE.

Two things: 1) If it was helpful, then I’d love it if you’d share or re-tweet this. 2) Are any of you getting your music on Pandora? & how are you promoting it?

Also: If you want to know how I figured this out, then take a look at the NME Blueprint. I went through this system and learned how to market my music like a champ.

Last 5 Bands I’m Really Into

Usually, I go through these spurts where I get really into an artist. Then I go and try to find everything I can of theirs and listen to it. I thought I’d let you know about my most recent 5 artists and bands with which I have done this. Here we go!


1. Pretty Lights – It’s really easy with Pretty Lights because his entire discography is online for free! I’d say it’s electronic music with hip-hop and dubstep tendencies. I think the guy performs live as a DJ and then has a drummer with him for shows. Again, his whole catalog is online at his website! That’s great!


2. Blue Sky Black Death – I found these guys while listening to my Pandora station. I love it. Listen to all those samples. All of those sounds. I think they are playing live instruments in there too! I can’t tell what is sampled and what is real-live. That’s what I’m talking about. Hard to find a lot of their stuff online. But I did see their myspace page.


3. Emancipator – I got lucky on this one. He was recently on tour and came here to Nashville. I didn’t have anything going on; I decided to check him out online first to decide if I wanted to go out. I was blown away! It’s such amazing music! He’s a DJ/producer. He also plays guitar. I saw him do it live. I don’t know if he plays any other instruments. Can’t wait to check it out again though! Listen to everything on his bandcamp page!


4. Pigeon John – I’ve been a Pigeon John fan for a long time. He’s got a pretty extensive discography and it would take a while to listen to everything he’s got. Also, he does a LOT of guest features on other people’s records. But anyway, he’s really unique and different in the world of hip-hop but really really GOOD. I lucked out and saw him live a year or so ago play in some art gallery. I’d love to see him play live in front of a lot of hip-hop fans in a bar or something; just to see how it would go!


5. This Will Destroy You – I found these guys on Pandora. At first, I didn’t really listen much to them. However, I was telling someone about Saxon Shore (another band I found on Pandora); and they started telling me about This Will Destroy You. I went back and gave them another listen. Wow! I like ambient post-rock a lot. So this was an easy fit for me.


Well? Who are you listening to these days? Let me know in the comments.