How to get your music on Pandora Internet Radio

April 4, 2014{ 65 Comments }

TEMP Image 6 1 How to get your music on Pandora Internet RadioSubmitting music to Pandora is easier than ever

Over the past decade, Pandora Internet Radio has become one of the go-to destinations for music discovery. The popular radio service allows over 76 million active users to create customized stations based on their favorite genres and artists. Pandora’s recommendation engine (built on extensive human input) then streams a playlist that is altered by user engagement in real-time. In other words, Pandora is pretty smart at picking the playlist to start with, but the listener can give feedback (a simple thumbs up or down) and then Pandora gets even smarter!

For independent artists, getting music on Pandora can be a great way to build an audience without spending thousands on radio promotion or advertising. If you sound like Coldplay, whenever someone creates a Pandora station based on the music of Coldplay—bam!—your music could get served up, hopefully earning you a new fan or download sale (since Pandora also displays buy links).

But how do you get your music onto Pandora as an independent artist? It’s pretty easy, actually, especially since they began accepting submissions for digital-only albums a few months ago. Yep, pretty easy — except for one small detail, which we’ll discuss below. But first, here’s the simple steps for submitting music to Pandora.

How to submit your music to Pandora

1. Make sure you control the legal rights to your work.

2. Make your music available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, or Bandcamp. (Hey, if you’re a CD Baby artist, you’ve already got this covered!)

3. Log into your Pandora account. If you don’t have a Pandora account, create one HERE.

4. Go to Pandora’s Submit Your Music page. If you’re in a country that doesn’t have Pandora, just write to and they’ll create an account for you.

5. Provide Pandora with details about your submission, including your band name, release information (single, EP, or album), link to artist bio, and valid links to one or two songs on iTunes (US), Amazon, CD Baby, or Bandcamp.

6. Verify your submission.

7. Wait. 

Yep. Now you’ll have to wait an estimated six weeks to get an acceptance or rejection from Pandora (if it’s an acceptance, they’ll request that you send the whole album) — which brings us to that one little detail I talked about above: not everyone’s music will get accepted into Pandora’s catalog, an extensive collection of songs that is curated by a team of musicologists and powered by a taxonomy of musical data called The Music Genome Project.

Getting Radio Play the Easy Way

How does The Music Genome Project work?

Since so much of Pandora’s curation work is hands-on, it’s no wonder there’s a significant wait time for response, especially when you consider the huge amount of submissions they receive each week.

Here’s a little bit about the team of people who’ll be considering your music, and how your music is further analyzed and cataloged if you DO get accepted. According to Pandora:

Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 450 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners. The typical music analyst working on the Music Genome Project has a four-year degree in music theory, composition or performance, has passed through a selective screening process and has completed intensive training in the Music Genome’s rigorous and precise methodology. To qualify for the work, analysts must have a firm grounding in music theory, including familiarity with a wide range of styles and sounds.

What qualifies your music for inclusion in Pandora’s catalog

And what exactly is this team of music experts looking for exactly?

Well, there’s a few things to consider. Will fans of your genre be excited to discover your music on a Pandora station they’ve created? Is your genre saturated with new music? It’s probably safe to assume that the more music Pandora receives in a particular genre, the better that music has to be to get noticed and added to their catalog — though I also assume Pandora’s team of curators expects excellence from all the music they accept. As Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder, has said:  “You have to earn your way into Pandora.” 


Hopefully all this information is helpful to you in submitting your music to Pandora. If your music is accepted, be sure to register with SoundExchange, an organization that pays digital performance royalties to artists, labels, and performers for the usage of sound recordings online. Heck, even if Pandora doesn’t accept your music, you should still register with SoundExchange; there may be plenty of other internet radio stations that are interested in playing your music.

Have you submitted your music to Pandora? Did it get accepted or rejected? What was the process like? Let us know in the comments section below.

Getting Radio Play the Easy Way
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  • DAS Certificate Malaysia

    thank you for your clear guide on submitting to Pandora, good article.

    • Christopher Robley

      Glad it was helpful. Thanks for reading.

      @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    Yep, they consider singles. Albums, EPs, and singles. However, once accepted, they do NOT take all of your work. You must submit per release — and one at a time.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Jim of VividPeace

    They are pretty quick to get back to the artist these days.

    “For one thing, our reviewers never have to give a reason for
    accepting music, but they always have to explain their decision if they
    are rejecting something. This only seems fair to us.”

    If they actually do explain their decision, they do not share it with the artist in their rejection email. The email is terse and very unenlightening.

    I, for one, am very glad they are picky: it means that the music that gets through is (generally) of higher quality and is more likely to be accepted and enjoyed by the listeners. If one’s music makes it through to get on Pandora, it actually means quite a bit of positive for the music.

  • Paul

    I used Pandora for awhile, until I joined Spotify and tried Itunes radio. The selections run much deeper than Pandora, plus you don’t hear the same song three different ways (acoustic, live, studio) all in the same hour. I’ve discovered so much more new music using other platforms.

  • Doug Prescott

    The don’t pay artists squat, and they have actively lobbied for paying even less…

  • Curtis Macdonald

    Pandora is VERY Political, if you are an Indie with a style that is over saturated, you will get rejected. They like dealing with “large” labels because of the pay structure. I heard from a source that if you are being distributed by someone other then a major, they just “pass” on your material with a click of the mouse. CDBaby should enter into an agreement with Pandora and Sirius so we “look” better in their eyes.

  • James Greene

    I submitted 2 cover songs at the same time, before seeing your article. After about 3 or 4 weeks, both songs were rejected without them giving a reason. I emailed them to see if they would tell me why the songs were rejected and they responded saying they could not give a specific reason. I’m left a little confused. I’ll submit again, but a different song and only one song this time. Thanks for your article.

  • Mike Freeman

    My 2012 release “The Vibesman” showed up on Pandora without even submitting it. Although I was happy for it to be there, they had the cover art and bio for some other band showing. Worse than that, the “buy” links for my recording went to the wrong place too! Artists can not edit any of this themselves and it took over a year and half of bugging them every few months for them to correct it. This during the peak of the recordings life on radio. It was pathetic on their part.

  • davidking

    I’ve submitted 2 great songs & they gave me no explanations, just 2 automatic responses of rejection.

  • Colargol

    Our band Nightsailors just got rejected, and of course we think it was a wrong decision. But hey – you could check it out here instead (

  • Jeff Gold

    I applied a few years ago when I was just starting out and was quickly rejected. Now, a few years later, my CD is doing really well on amazon (#2 in relaxation). So I figured Pandora might be interested now that there is a sales history for me. Nope! They won’t even consider me. Once you are rejected, that is the final word. No second chances. My advice is to wait until you’ve got a bit of a following before you send your music in. Anyone had an experience trying to get Pandora to reconsider a decision?

  • StevenCravisMusic

    Correction, they no longer need to have you ‘send’ your album in upon acceptance. And the album no longer needs to physically exist on Amazon. Two great changes to the new submission process. They actually will buy the music if they accept it. Pandora is one of the most impressive and supportive to musician services in the world. Soundexchange is great too.

  • Monique DeMoulin

    I submitted a song I’m really proud of. One that was recently placed in a film. The song is of excellent studio quality, and of course I own the rights of, but the email response I got stated that in order to be considered for airplay on Pandora I needed to have hard copies of the tune available through Amazon. Since I use CDBaby, it’s available digitally through Amazon, but I don’t know many Independents that have a cash flow to press hard copies just for the sake of complying with Pandora. Unless I missed it, I don’t see it mentioned in this article. I’m a Pandora user, and have been asked why my music isn’t available on their service.

    Monique DeMoulin

  • StevenCravisMusic

    All I can say is it’s worth the wait. Their algorithm gets your accepted music well into the mix for listeners who will appreciate what you (we) have to offer.

  • StevenCravisMusic

    You can log in at Pandora and then go to this link to see the status ( Pending/Approved or Not Approved, etc..)

  • StevenCravisMusic

    Sue, I’ve experienced that, for a long time now, including currently, Pandora has very high quality customer service and responsiveness. I’ve had my share of albums not approved by Pandora, but I have a ‘next’ attitude, just keep on moving forward with the next submission.

  • kai$oundz

    No they’re buttheads basically you have to be somewhat famous to get on Pandora I already know a tons of people like my musci so I know it doesn’t suck they’re just looking for bigtime artists some more mainstream bullshit oh well

  • Trystan Matthews

    This article says that Pandora will “always have to explain their decision if they are rejecting something”. Not true. Here is what they wrote to me in my rejection letter: “Thank you for your interest in Pandora. After careful review, your submission was not approved.
    To understand more about this decision process, please click here.” But the link just takes you to a stock article on their website titled: Why did my music or comedy not get approved to play on Pandora? They didn’t give any kind explanation for the rejection.

  • Johnny Schaefer

    My music is VERY eclectic. I’ve always wondered what a Johnny Schaefer Pandora station would be like because I’m hard to categorize overall (though individual tracks fit specific categories). I have spiritual stuff, upbeat tunes, reggae, jazz, and am a bit of a genre bender. I am well-reviewed. If I submit one tune for one genre and another for a different genre are they open to that?

  • Jesse Brewster

    They’ve accepted older releases of mine, but my last full length album they rejected for some reason having to do with the timing of their IPO. That album by any measure is far superior to any of my older stuff, but once you’ve once and they for whatever reason don’t accept it, game over. You’ll get the message “this title has already been submitted”. iTunes radio wins out in that situation. Is there any other way of lobbying for them to reconsider? Tired of people hearing my stuff from 2006 and thinking that’s all I’ve got out there…

  • The Jellybeans

    Well, here’s my experience with Pandora. A few years back I worked with a group of young girls to record a CD of songs I had written for their school concerts. (Children’s music) It was very well done, mixed and mastered, etc. Just for the heck of it, I submitted it to Pandora for the ‘genre’ of children’s music. About two months later I got an email that it was accepted by Pandora. Ha ha! The girls recorded this while they were in the sixth grade and I guess they are by far the youngest independent artists on Pandora. If you don’t believe me, search on Pandora for The Jellybeans (Children’s). Now, as the girls matured and continued to work we recorded two more CDs, one each while they were in grades 7 and 8, and each one better than the last. Pandora rejected them both and no, I could never get an explanation as to why. The Jellybeans received great reviews for their work. For their last CD (8th grade) they received two ‘five stars’ reviews with high praise for both the group and the music. As part of my Disc Makers release I got a complimentary review from the A & R company TAXI for one of the tracks. Not only did the girls get a great review, but I received a phone call from someone at TAXI (at the request of the company president, I was told) asking me to sign up with the group at a large discount in their yearly membership. But still, not good enough for Pandora. What they need to do is stop ‘analyzing’ the music and just listen to it and enjoy it based on the sound. That’s what humans do. I don’t care, though. For what Pandora pays now per spin, (8/10 of a cent, I believe) and they are trying to reduce that, it’s not a big deal. But, I don’t think that Pandora is a friend to independent artists at all. Maybe they were once in their start up, but not now.

  • Pat443

    My wife is a retro-style jazz singer (hardly an over-saturated genre), and I submitted her first album to them. I followed all their rules. That CD was recorded in the best studio in town with some of the greatest musicians in the state. It got rave reviews ( said it was “among the year’s most consistently engaging jazz releases”) and international radio play and made the Jazz Week top radio airplay chart. Pandora sent back a curt rejection with no explanation. Now, she has a new one out that’s getting an even better reception, but I’m hesitant even to submit it after their buttheaded response to the first one. Besides, I’d have to open a new Pandora account, since I closed mine. If they reject her, then I reject them.

  • judsonhurd

    Just got accepted during the end of Feb. I am really excited about it and still waiting for it to appear live on Pandora. Apparently from what I hear it takes up to six months to get your music on there. I was rejected the first time but accepted the second time. I reccommend building up your following, updating your social media sites and sync them, and also in the detail section of your submission it’s good to put a review of your album. That’s what I did differently with this submission and it worked better. I am looking forward to some extra income flow from Sound Exchange.

    • Simple Nomad

      That’s interesting. Was it the same music that was rejected and then accepted? The rejection I got pointed to that link which included the statement “We do not reconsider submissions once an initial decision has been made.”

  • Peter

    I submitted selections from my two solo CD’s and that were outright rejected…no reason given. Pandora currently has our 1969 classic psych album, “GANDALF”, available on their playlist, which I assume they license from Capitol Records. Capitol refuses to acknowledge me as artist… I get nothing from it. When I submitted my solo stuff I called this to their attention, but evidently they weren’t impressed. That’s OK, I’ve been rejected by better people than Pandora :-)

    Peter Sando

  • Chet Cline

    Clearly, Pandora is not out to help out the little guys. There’s nothing in it for them. They are not paying any musicologists to listen to your submission but they are paying lawyers & lobbyists craploads of money to keep royalty rates well below minimum wage. The only way to get your music on Pandora is to sign a record deal and have the label guys deal with it. And you thought the Internet was going to revolutionize the music biz…

  • Christopher Robley

    Did you write to They might be able to help you submit your music.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    BUT… the thing people always forget about Pandora is that it’s a one-to-one play. One song served up for one listener. That $114 is probably WAY more than she would’ve made reaching the same amount of listeners via terrestrial radio. Say she had a song played 10 times in a giant market like LA; maybe that’d be about a 4 million person reach. But it’s only 10 plays. For which she’d make… what? 7-20 cents per play? Pandora works out to be the better deal, especially when you factor in both publishing royalties AND the digital performance royalties collected by SoundExchange.

    @ Chris Robley

    • A concerned supporter of music

      It’s still not enough compensation……. c’mon!

  • Christopher Robley

    When you consider that a single play on Pandora reaches one listener, whereas a single play on other internet or terrestrial radio stations could possibly reach 1000, or 100,000, or even 1,000,000 listeners… the payout rates seem quite fair, and oftentimes earn the songwriter MORE money through Pandora if you factor in overall reach.

    @ Chris Robley

    • Nancy Stafford

      if it only 1000 spins that only $1.50 you get. that not much.
      I belong to ASCAP which gives you info on radio stations
      that were i found out that BMI took Pandora to court.

    • A concerned supporter of music

      How can an indie artist get an accounting of the # of plays his/her music gets on Pandora?

      • Christopher Robley

        Your SoundExchange royalty statement should show that data.

        @ Chris Robley

  • Frontline

    well what this post is saying, is that some self proclaimed Genius who Learned music theory, but never wrote a song in his or her life, will be the wall in the progression of more independent artist. Like independent artist, who are making some fresh, really raw music, don’t put up with enough crap, Like Jumping through Hoops for Contests, internet radio assholes and any other carney barker out there who feels like he’s the new Dick Clark…Cdbaby ought to be Boycott for even misleading their subscribers, and for caring more for Pandora than their independent artist, who support them financially, with Blind faith that they will look out for their benefit and actually pay them for their sales and who knows about any of that as the accounting process is piss poor…the problem is they prey on Independent artist who want to be famous and they Bilk you out of hard earned dollars like a Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme…Bad enough the music Biz has a monopoly on the radio airwaves, which is unconstitutional I might add, but then they want to scrutinize artist in this manner, then they should be payed for their plays…if College athletes can be paid than why not you…I’d rather do what Zappa did, Don’t prostitute for fame and Make MY MUSIC and sell it to MY FANS!!!

  • Frontline

    It’s Pure malarkey, you can easily say that Bob Dylan or Lou Reed or Warren
    Zevon or Leon Russel or even Neil Young who had Zero singing experience
    or Stevie Ray Vaughn who could not read music and Neither could Hendrix
    for that matter, would have ever passed through some idiot with a music
    theory Backgrouund, many Music screeners knocked these artist Down at
    some point in their early careers, did you know that??? and what would
    musical influence be without one of those artist in your past??? Yes
    there are some folks who are not very Good and there are sites for them,
    But I am never submitting to some frustrated self proclaimed Genius,
    who thinks their ear is the be all end all for the listening public!!! Keep making music for YOUR fans and don’t Give a Damn what some idiot thinks…

  • brian botkiller

    I’ve been shut down by Pandora twice, both times for music that they said they had “too much of that style” on Pandora. I’m not nuts about how Pandora works, I don’t think they help indie artists get found, and I think they only care about what they think is cool, but if you can get on there, well, might as well. I’ve just submitted again, we’ll see what happens this time.

  • Laaj

    After reading the comments, it appears that pandora is an ego driven radio station that gets a kick out of denying artists. I’ve heard music that was not great music on pandora, so it’s hard to know or understand their standards. There are so many radio stations now that are better than pandora. If enough people would submit their concerns and stop listening, I’m sure they would make changes.

  • Nancy Stafford

    mine was all grand piano recorded by a well known studio

    who recorded Santa, and others. Pandora still reject my music.

    • Lydia Bandy

      Sorry to hear that Nancy…rejections are never easy. Before I submitted, I read many blogs/articles about bands/artists being rejected, so I honestly didn’t think I would have a chance & was surprised they contacted me so fast about being accepted. The only issue now is trying to get my “bio” on Pandora, which hasn’t been a successful/easy process.

      Never give up submitting! :)

      • Christopher Robley


        I think Pandora pulls their bio information from AMG. Have you submitted music to All Music Guide (All Media Guide)?

        @ Chris Robley

        • Lydia Bandy

          I submitted my physical CD & Bio to AMG back in January & still haven’t heard anything. It mentioned it may take several months, but I wasn’t sure if I should re-submit it again or keep waiting. How long has it taken for others who’ve done this process?

          • Christopher Robley

            I know they’ve got my data in their system, but it was years back, so I can’t recall how long it took. 3 months doesn’t seem excessive to me. But you could always write a polite email to inquire if they need anything else from you.

            @ Chris Robley

  • Burl Dunn

    I submitted my CD Baby release “Texas Dance Songs” and was accepted. It took at least 6 weeks, but my second submission “Texas Socialist Infiltration Dance Songs” took only 2 weeks. I listened a lot while the station was building and it was thrilling! To hear Doc Watson and Johnny Cash, frankly, brought tears to my eyes. I have 18 songs ready now from Pete Seeger’s songbook “American Favorite Ballads” (all public domain selections) and I think I’ll put them out through CD Baby as a digital-only release. As soon as I get that done I’ll try the new submission process with Pandora. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

  • Ash St John

    My Million Miles Away EP was accepted by Pandora. I am happy about the result. I have submitted 2 other releases before and been rejected. One of my artist friends who has excellent sounding music was rejected. It seems that maybe catching people in the right mood might alter the outcome. One thing seems true, the music music sonically “sound” professional. Too notch mixing and mastering is a must.

  • Christopher Robley

    Yes. If you’re in a country that doesn’t have Pandora, just write to and they’ll create an account for you so you can still submit your music.

    @ Chris Robley

    • Paul Castle

      Many thanks Chris – I’ll try that

      • Christopher Robley

        Sure thing. Let me know how it works out.

        @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    But one thing to consider is those 5 million streams were one-to-one plays. So, in total, she reached 5 million people (for which she earned $144). Had her songs been played a dozen times on a popular LA or NYC radio station, she might’ve reached the same amount of people in total — BUT, she wouldn’t have earned as much as she was paid from Pandora.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    Yes, the guidelines changed. And you don’t need to be an Amazon vendor yourself.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    It’d be interesting to see how they respond to a 2nd batch of submissions. Let us know what happens if you think of it.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    Revenge is a Pandora track best served cold.
    Let me know what happens.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    I’m actually not sure of the full scope of Music Reports’ services, but I do know that SoundExchange and Harry Fox are concerned with two different kinds of royalties. Harry Fox works in the mechanical royalties realm, on behalf of songwriters and publishers. SoundExchange is not tasked with collecting publishing royalties. They collect and distribute a new kind of performance royalty (separate from the publishing royalty that is also called a performance royalty) on behalf of artists, session players, and labels.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Christopher Robley

    Pretty sure they want you to wait until the music currently under review is approved or rejected.

    @ Chris Robley

  • A concerned supporter of music

    But did you ever get paid?

  • CD Baby

    Chris is pointing out that when a song plays on Pandora, usually only one person hears it. When a song plays on the radio thousands or millions of people hear it. So a few plays on the radio could arguably reach the same number of ears as a million plays on Pandora.

    The discrepancies between radio and streaming royalties are not that drastically different when you think of them in terms of “ears” reached.

  • iambugg24

    Hey guys, I wish everyone the best… send me link so i can support and here is a song of mine if you want to hear

  • King Lil-One Mills

    I got accepted after 1 rejection and two months of waiting to be approved for the second submission and i’m a totally independent artist. Juts waiting until my music goes live. Best of luck. Follow me on Twitter @KingLilOne_ and check out my website

  • Christopher Robley

    I wouldn’t wait. If your music is good, they should take it — AND if they do, you’ll get some valuable exposure that can help you build your fanbase. That’s, of course, just my opinion.


  • Christopher Robley

    You definitely don’t have to register with SoundExchange, but you should. I’d say, once you’ve got all the name stuff worked out, register then for sure.


  • Steven Rushingwind

    I have seen where some bands will submit a CD only to get a reply that says, This music doesn’t fit into any genre, Then only to submit another of that same band a CD that does get approved. Why do they accept one and not approve another from the same genre???

    • Christopher Robley

      Maybe their editors woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning? Who know. Or the band improved between recordings, or made an album that more closely fit an established genre.


  • Christopher Robley

    Cool. Thanks for sharing the story. Glad to hear it all worked out.


  • Terry

    My album is scheduled for release in 6 weeks through CD Baby and Bandcamp. Should I wait to submit to Pandora until it becomes available for purchase?

    • Christopher Robley

      I’d submit now, because the Pandora process can take a while.