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Today Pandora is launching a brand new version of the Artist Marketing Platform (AMP). The original version of AMP launched in October of 2014 and was a great first step in enabling artists and labels to get insights into how their music was performing in Pandora. As it evolved, new marketing features like artist audio messages were added along with the ability to promote new singles to a wider audience. The new version launching today has been rebuilt from the ground up with a new codebase and gorgeous new design. Check out the video to see what it’s all about.


When I first joined Pandora in June of 2015, I was most excited by the possibilities of AMP and what it will mean for artists at every level and stage in their career. Today’s new AMP represents a great team effort in rethinking what a marketing platform needs to do to address the number one challenge for artists: promoting music to fans in a sea of noise and making money. This is fundamentally a marketing problem, and AMP solves it by helping artists create campaigns that let them promote whatever is important to them including a new single or album, a show, a tour, merch, a cause, or literally anything an artist cares about.

When setting out to reimagine AMP, we wanted to help artists execute a marketing campaign as simply as possible and also accommodate the complexity of involved campaigns that span multiple objectives and touch-points. For example, a campaign to promote a new single can be comprised of two different integrated campaigns: a Featured Track campaign to push the single to a wider audience and an Artist Audio Message campaign that lets the artist speak in their own voice about that new track. Both those campaigns live within the main campaign to promote a new single.

Similarly a campaign to promote a fall tour across 20 cities can include different artist audio messages each geo-targeted and customized to the different cities of the tour. Each message has a unique link to buy tickets at each venue. All of those 20 artist messages with different links to buy tickets would live in one main campaign called something like ‘Fall Tour 2016.’ This nested structure gives artists a lot of power to manage integrated campaigns in a simple yet powerful way. The new AMP is built for the future and is architected in a way that will let us add new campaign types in the coming months to help artists premiere new albums, book shows at Ticketfly venues, or participate in an ever growing list of promotional opportunities on Pandora. 

Another important new part of AMP is the activity feed. It alerts artists to how their campaigns are doing and helps them take further action quickly.  They can improve and optimize the campaigns or double-down and share them further. These notifications reduce the complexity and guesswork out of marketing, while making AMP more intuitive and instructive.

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The activity feed also lets artists know that they have a newly ingested track to promote via an Artist Audio Message and Featured Track campaign or a new event listed within our Ticketfly network of promoters and venues. Simply clicking on these alerts will pre-populate the information so artists and their teams can quickly set the campaigns up and go live with a few clicks.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-9-30-19-pmWhen you combine these new promotional capabilities with the the scale of Pandora’s base of 80M uniqued listeners a month, you get the most powerful artist marketing platform on the planet. As artists use AMP to promote whatever they wish, the engagement rates and click-throughs are literally off the charts and well above 10x what you would see on the social networks, paid marketing channels, or other music services. This is mainly because people are on Pandora to listen to music and welcome the connection that AMP gives from their favorite artists.

Check out the AMP Playbook for more info and best practices on the new AMP. Today also represents the general availability of our AMPcast product that puts the power of artist audio messages into the hands of all artists on Pandora via their mobile phone. If you’re an artist or label on Pandora go check out the new AMP and get on AMPcast here.

 

 

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One of the best things about my job at Pandora is working closely with my incredible colleagues who happen to make great music. Adam Zabarsky on our Music Maker product team and Chris Dunn leading our advertising engineering team produced a great body of work in StoneDog. I’ve been listening to it at home and in the Pandora office. The album has variety yet definitely has a distinct sound and feel.

I work every day with Adam on our Music Maker products including AMP and AMPcast, and Chris and I sit 10 feet from each other in the office. The personal relationship I have to them both is a significant part of the connection I have with their music. It opens me up in different ways than if I didn’t know them personally. This added dimension to the relationship I have with their music deepens my connection to it. A deeper connection to good music can only mean a happier Shamal. So this is definitely something worth shouting about. Listen to StoneDog now and enjoy. Sailaway is my current favorite and reminds me of a Phish song. I love the bluesy, soulful Illiterate and play it all the time for the awesome lyrics (‘I must be illiterate, cause I can’t read you girl/My hearts an open book, baby take a look’). Au Revoir feels like a good song to sing along to at a Jimmy Buffet concert, and Lipgloss is for all the Cars fans. Enjoy.

Every now and then, occasionally but increasingly frequently, I’m blown away by the efficacy of today’s targeted advertising. It may be purely coincidental ad placement, but sometimes the accuracy of an online ad is precisely right. When it hits the spot, advertising can actually be a good thing for everyone involved: a prospective buyer getting more relevant information on goods they actually want to purchase, an advertiser who ultimately transacts with a new customer, and the platform on which the connection was made. As wonderful as it can be, it feels a creepy when the targeted ad is so exactly right. How did they know? What information are they using to surface that particular ad at the most opportune moment? Was my information gathered without my permission or knowledge and traded to other parties in order for the ad to be delivered? I don’t know, and this lack of understanding makes me wonder and causes a bit of concern as to what other profile and behavioral information are being mined and traded about me.

These eerily accurate and spooky ads do haunt me at times when they hit the nail on the head. With so much at stake in the arms race of advertising, it seems that these types of spooky ads are happening so much that I’m going to start tracking and documenting them as #spookyadvertising.

Here’s the first example with context. On Saturday July 2nd 2016, I went into a Banana Republic in Union Square San Francisco and looked at their men’s shirts. I was looking for shirts that I could wear untucked at work, because in general I hate tucking in my shirt. I looked around the store and even asked someone who worked at Banana Republic about shirts that I could wear without tucking them in. After browsing a bit, I left without buying anything. Later that day, I got this ad on my twitter. This ad was for an online apparel company called Untuckit that sold shirts that are to be worn untucked. It was essentially a perfect ad. I browsed the site a couple times over the next two days and made a purchase.

 

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How did they know I was looking to buy untucked shirts? It could be pure coincidence, or perhaps there was insight derived by my visit to a physical store at Banana Republic. I find it hard to believe that this ad was targeted based on the conversation I had in the store with a Banana Republic sales clerk. I’m still wondering exactly how they knew to surface that particular ad to me since it worked well in many different ways. Perhaps it’s a damn good guess as to what I would want to see in ad, and considering over 99.999% of ads surfaced to me don’t work, perhaps finally the odds were in this ads favor. #spookyadvertising.

Like untucked shirts yourself and feel like buying through Untuckit? Sign up through this link to get 25% off.

 

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By Dr. Motte

The world is mourning right now. The UK in aggregate voted to leave the EU. It will have massive implications. I have a stake in this decision, because my two children are British as is my wife. Many others closer to the center of Brexit are more impacted, and I feel for them.

The UK leaving the EU will mean travel limitations and barriers to employment, which are beyond significant inconveniences. Worse are the financial consequences for the additional overhead and constraints in trading. The worst part is that culturally, our new norm is a new low. We’re living in tacit acknowledgement that the majority of our fellow humans would rather segregate than unify. Many tie the decision to leave the EU with low intelligence or unwarranted fear. Others claim more severe xenophobia. In any case, we are taking two steps back, and it will take decades to repair and right the course. This is what we are grieving over. What could have been if we all came together not just in the EU but all over the world? There is a possibility that this referendum amounts to nothing and the UK remains in the EU, but the damage has been done as we start drawing lines on the basis of where people come from.

Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty bummed, and so is my family. We’re not the only ones. Brexit is such a huge global bummer that it set the world record for the number of times the word ‘bummer’ was used to describe how people felt after the results posted.

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From a Google analysis of the word bummer.

My only hope is that people will continue to stand up for what is right. More and more people around the world are taking a stand and many are taking stands different to each other. It all gives me faith, because it means people care and are not happy with the status quo. Our humanity gives us meaning and vulnerabilities. Only by working together can we enrich ourselves fully since we’re all connected. I am committed to the forces of tolerance, unity, and peace. We will eventually overcome the isolating rhetoric, fear-mongering, and misguided nationalism that prevents us all from progressing to a better place.

David Starfire sent me his latest album, and I’m digging it on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It’s been raining in the Bay area for more than a week, and everything is dismal. My family of four with a three-week old newborn is sick. It sucks when all of us are ill. It’s like the walking dead and grumpy. Thank god I have some good music to bring me back to life and shine happiness on us all. David’s sound has exotic themes and sounds with a cutting edge break keep me jazzed and piqued. It cleared up my sinuses too. Check it out below.

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