Pandora Stories Combines Podcasting & Music for a Refreshing Take on Storytelling
By Iris Hearn
Pandora is bringing podcasting and music streaming together with the launch of Pandora Stories.
This feature is an addition to Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform (AMP), which is its suite of free tools to help artists promote their songs.
Pandora Stories allows creators to build music playlists combined with voice tracks where they can add their own narrative or insights behind the music.
This offers a new kind of listening experience for users and a unique way for creators to connect with their audience through content.
How Does it Work?
Essentially, Pandora Stories is made up of two parts: the curated playlist and voice tracks by the creator.
The voice tracks are mixed in with the songs, making listening to music a podcast-like experience while still having the same control you do with a playlist.
The ability to include voice tracks provides something traditional playlists and podcasting can’t do on its own.
To provide context and background information, while the content is being consumed.
Think of it almost like director’s commentary on a movie.
Artists can use these playlists to talk about what a song means to them, what inspired it, or the story behind it that might not be relayed in the lyrics on its own.
For example, John Legend was one of the artists involved in the launch of this feature, and his curated playlist is titled “John Legend’s Glorious Journey.”
The songs in his playlist include some of his top hits, as well as tracks of him explaining the stories that inspired the songs and what they did for his career.
From listening to the playlist firsthand, I have to say it made a great listening experience.
The songs coupled with the voice tracks made it the perfect combination between a podcast and a playlist - something I could definitely see users enjoying on their commute to work.
Creators can also access Pandora’s library of fully-licensed songs to utilize in their playlist, which is a huge advantage over other platforms where playing licensed music may not be possible.
How Can Marketers Use Pandora Stories?
While Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform was designed for musicians, Pandora sees opportunities for more to get value out of this platform.
Due to the nature of the feature, anyone who wants to create music-driven stories for their audience can benefit from it.
People like actors, filmmakers, athletes, influencers, authors, podcasters, or thought leaders can easily use Pandora Stories to create an immersive listening experience for their audience.
For example, they also offer a Story called “Love Songs that Aren’t Really Love Songs.”
This playlist features several popular songs we traditionally think of as “Love Songs,” but the creator shows us it’s actually quite the opposite.
This is a great example of how this feature can be used for storytelling and education rather than an artist-focus.
I can see thought leaders putting together playlists of how certain songs apply to lessons in their field.
For example, marketing speaker and author David Meerman Scott often talk about business lessons from the Grateful Dead (you can even read his book about it).
Stories could be a great opportunity for him to take his ideas to the next level, creating a customized Grateful Dead playlist, and sharing business insights in between.
This creates an interactive, fun experience for the audience, while still learning valuable business lessons.
The ease of the listening experience makes it easy for people to jump right in, and even skip to the commentary they care most about.
Pandora’s introduction of the Stories points to a true but too often ignored fact: Podcasting is the future.
People want to hear from trusted sources about topics relevant to them, and podcasts make that happen.
Pandora Stories takes this to the next level, creating a more immersive experience centered around the music.
This can make it more engaging to your audience, and help you find more common ground with them through music rather than just listening to the hosts.
How to Get Started
Unfortunately, not anyone can currently create a story on Pandora.
Interested parties can fill out a submission request if they would like to host a Pandora Story, but it’s likely they’ll stick to the bigger names for a while until they’ve fully capitalized on the buzz of this feature.
In the meantime, however, it may be worth it to check on the popularity of this platform to determine if you’d like to run ads with them.
Any users can access the Stories playlists, but non-Premium users will need to watch a 30-second ad before listening.
If there’s a Story that is relevant to your industry, it may be worth it to run an ad on the Story and see who you’re able to capture. If you’re interested in exploring Pandora ads, you can visit their ad platform to learn more.
Wondering where to begin?