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Pandora Takes a Step Closer to Artist Messaging

New terms of service precede audio messages to listeners from their favorite artists.

Coming soon: artists connecting with listeners on Pandora.

Pandora has taken an important step toward allowing listeners to receive notifications by their favorite artists. Users have been notified via email that updated its terms of service, in effect since June 30, make it easier for listeners to be contacted by their favorite artists within the Pandora platform. 

Founder Tim Westergren announced the new messaging system, called "Artist Messaging," in February. As Westergren explained at the Code/Media conference, Artist Messaging will allow artists to record short announcements that will be inserted into playlists based on their music. The messaging system, is part of Pandora's artist management platform (AMP), can be used to announce tour dates, new music or crowdfunding projects.

Pandora Acquires Next Big Sound

MP is part of a larger effort to improve frosty relations within the music business and provide tools for artists. Pandora already provides data to artists to help understand their music's streaming activity and origination as well as feedback given on their music. The May acquisition of Next Big Sound will add to Pandora's analytics and reporting capabilities.

Pandora leads something of a double life. On one hand, the company fights with rights owners and performing rights organizations for lower royalties, often absorbing public criticism in the process. On the other hand, Pandora has reached out to the music community, creating an industry relations team and negotiating a direct licensing deal with independent rights organization Merlin.

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Pro-artist tools have become commonplace. Spotify provides analytics to artists and labels. Apple Music has Connect, a social feature that allows subscribers to follow posts by their favorite artists. For Pandora, artist messaging could change perceptions and shift the thin line between love and hate. More importantly, it could help artists' careers by becoming a powerful promotional channel. It looks good on paper, but time will tell if it makes an impact.