Music To Our Ears

Music to our Ears: Pandora Buzz

We have been delighted to see recent stories about Pandora’s business success, which finally align with their critical and popular success. OnPR launched Pandora, the online music discovery service powered by the Music Genome Project, in 2005 and 2006. This was an early example of a social media strategy for a consumer technology company which helped Pandora to gain huge visibility – all positive – on a shoestring budget.

Our strategy was to offer news about our client to bloggers who were passionate about music and had smaller audiences than the major blogs and mainstream media. We hoped these bloggers would be interested in Pandora’s model and service, and the news would become subsequently “discovered” by the big blogs and mainstream media. We chose this approach to ensure that more mainstream media did not feel obligated to respond to a PR campaign with skepticism, and to keep budgets low.

We researched blogs to find people who wrote about music and technology and whose tone was positive. We convinced Pandora to delay their general launch by several weeks to give these bloggers some breathing room and to give them an excuse and an opportunity to build word of mouth and encourage their readers to try the service. We offered 100 hand-selected bloggers a chance to use Pandora and to pass 10 invitations to their readers. Within a week, we had 100 positive blog mentions. Within two weeks, the buzz spread to include tier one bloggers, who thought they had “discovered” Pandora, and then we used the blog mentions to gain mainstream media attention. In the end, coverage appeared in all important consumer publications and several broadcast venues.

As a next step, OnPR recommended that Pandora’s founder conduct a Music Discovery Tour, visiting cities around the country to explore the local music scene, add to the genome, and build relationships with the users who cared to meet up. We arranged for grassroots interviews in each location: college newspapers, local newspapers. The launch of Pandora resulted in huge awareness for the company with stories in most mainstream publications  as well as blogs and other media.

Jody Peake, CEO – OnPR, Inc

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