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Pandora Forces $29.95 Payments From Indie Bands

OAKLAND, CA (Hypebot) – Until recently, Pandora accepted music from indie artists at no cost in almost any form including home burned CD-R's. But now, in part because of a deal to display album cover art via Amazon's servers, submissions must be available as a physical CD for sale on Amazon and include cover art and a UPC code to even be considered for airplay.

Compliance with the new rules will cost artists in several ways. According to its FAQ page, to get play on Pandora you now need:

  • a CD of your music
  • a unique UPC code for that CD
  • your CD to be available through Amazon (must be a physical CD, not just MP3s for download)
  • the legal rights to your music
  • MP3 files for two of the songs from your CD
  • free Pandora account, based on a valid email address, which can be associated with your music

    In addition to art and packaging costs, Pandora explains that to comply with the new "available through Amazon" rule, indie artists should join the Amazon Advantage Program. Membership costs $29.95 each year plus Amazon takes 55% of the list price of every CD sold.

    Established artists and labels already comply with Pandora's new rules. But for an indie artist trying to win new fans with a little help from Pandora and to keep his hard earned cash by selling direct, the new threshold may shut off an important avenue for exposure.