Pandora to limit free listening on mobile to 40 hours per month, founder explains it’s a necessary evil


Do you listen to Pandora on your Android phones and tablets? If so, this news is rather important to you. Pandora has recently revealed that it would soon begin limiting free, mobile listening to 40 hours per month. Before you start getting that kerosene torch out, founder Tim Westergren wanted to explain why, exactly, Pandora had to make the change.

Tim says per-track royalties have increased 10-fold over the years, with the expenses growing more than 25% over the last three years. A good chunk of that — about 9% — came in 2013, and the royalties are expected to grow 16% over the next couple of years. Most users shouldn’t be affected, apparently, as less than 4% of monthly active Pandora listeners are said to be in the cross-fires of this unfortunate situation.

In fact, Tim says the average listener only listens to about 20 hours of music per month, so a great deal of you probably won’t notice anything at all. The change will help offset the burden of cost put on Pandora’s back by the music companies. That said, if you are in that minority of listeners who will be affected by the change you can do one of four things:

  • Lower your listening rate (desktop listening is still completely unlimited, so try and move your tunes over to a PC whenever possible).
  • Pay $.99 once you hit the limit to get an unlimited allowance until the end of that month.
  • Pay $2.99 per month for Pandora One, which includes commercial-free radio and an unlimited listening rate.
  • If all else fails, bail ship and find a different service.

Those are some inexpensive prices so if you really love Pandora and you really can’t bring yourself under 40 hours per month then it’s a great route to consider. I still personally believe that a Pandora One subscription should free me of the dastard six skips per hour limit, but perhaps that will be addressed another day. Anywho, if none of this is bothering you then continue to rock on.

[via Pandora]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Honestly Pandora one is very much worth the subscription however if you can’t afford that I am glad to see they are proactivly doing something to ensure that they remain in business

    1. I agree. I’ve found a lot of new music listening to Pandora. It’s a service I use every day so I pay the annual membership which works out to a couple of dollars per month.

      1. That was one option that wasn’t mentioned in the article. The annual price works out to the same price as 9 or 10 months of monthly payments. The catch is that it is a pre-payment for the year. All in all it comes down to how much money one has at the time and one’s personal preference.

  2. Spotify… That is all

    1. Yup, haven’t used pandora once since spotify came out. Sure, pandora is nice if you really don’t feel like doing any work at all…but that’s reaching.

      1. It plays the same crap over and over. With Spotify, that doesn’t happen. At least on PC anyway. I’m to cheap to actually pay for it.

        1. i miss Spotify cancelled it when i lost my last job but i really should renew my subscription the skip limit is really what has kept me from paying for pandora.

  3. I switched to the $2.99/month Pandora One a few months back when they started doing commercials after every 2 songs! I couldn’t take it anymore! Now I have no commercials, and, apparently, I’m unaffected by the new change. Definitely worth it!

    1. I stopped because it wasnt worth the price. With free cloud services and local storage, paying for low quality service like panboring is moronic.

  4. I’m a little confused. PC listening is unlimited, but Android phones and tablets aren’t? Maybe it’s me, but that doesn’t make sense.

    1. If I’m not mistaken, licensing and royalty deals for these types of services are often charged differently depending on which device you provide services on.

    2. Also, this isn’t exclusive to Android phones/tablets, it’s ALL mobile devices (iOS, Blackberry, etc). I keep tabs on the Mac/iOS world too (mostly via Macrumors), and they posted a snippet on this subject too.

    3. like others said, it’s all about licensing and royalties… notice how some Youtube videos won’t play on a phone? same thing.

  5. Amazon cloud and local storage… Screw pandummy or crapify.

    1. I don’t get what you are trying to say. Pandora doesn’t require you to fill it with pre-purchased music to use it… these are two totally different services.

      1. haha there’s this thing called the internet. Who actually buys music?

    2. I use Pandora to find new songs. I hate listening through 10 minutes of commercials on the radio. >=.(

  6. Slacker Radio

  7. I thought they already had a 40 hour free listening cap. And it turns out I was right – sort of. According to this blog post on Pandora’s own site ( they lifted a 40 hour cap less than 18 months ago. I find it surprising that they’re using price increases over many years to justify this move, when the majority of those price increases were already known to them at the time they previously lifted the cap.

    Their costs have been steadily increasing, yet in during that time they’ve added a cap, removed the cap, and now they’re adding it again. I have no problem with the cap, as I’m one of the many that are well below the 40 hour cap, but this flip-flopping on the need for a cap makes them look stupid.

  8. For the price of 2 cokes or 2 cups of coffee, you can still enjoy Pandora. I get more enjoyment listening to Pandora then downing 2 cokes and getting Fat!!

  9. Shitty service anyway. Why do people even pay for this crap when there are much better alternatives.

    1. i’ve tried the others… maybe it’s because of the type of music i listen to, but none of the alternatives are as good as Pandora. i don’t use it for 40 hours a month though, so i’ll survive.

  10. tune in radio is better…also djturntables is pretty awesome

  11. Is this the same as TuneIn Radio?

  12. I probably listen to Pandora 8 hours a month so its whatever

  13. “Rock on?” Oh please. I use Jango by the way. Haven’t used Pandora since they got caught sharing users’ personal information.


  15. I purchase most of my music but when i stream i use love it.

  16. Isn’t this the way Pandora was a year or so ago? I remember watching the ticker of how many hours I used each month….knowing that I would have to pay if I exceeded. So are they just going back to the way it was?
    I use I heart now anyway.

  17. the Google music streaming service could force Pandora’s hand a bit……. may be fun to watch! :-)

    1. Is there an ETA on that?

    2. if their streaming service has the same library as their music sales, it would be a joke to me. Pandora just has so much more than everyone else.

  18. Hmm… It takes me 1.5 hours to get to school. Round trip is 3 hours. 5 days a week. 5*4 = 20 days a month. 20*3 = 60 hours of Pandora.

    I’d be in the 4%!!
    I need to hurry and get my car fixed. LoL!!

  19. Pay the 3$ for pandora one guys lol. I do! Its worth it. If not, just pay that 1$

  20. Slacker

  21. Pandora is a dead service. Spotify is the way

  22. If you can’t afford it. Its $2.99. Come on. Even a hobo could afford it if he wanted to. We all just don’t want to.

  23. Jango is another service just like Pandora, but free without limits. Between it and TuneIn, I’ve got my audio streaming covered.

  24. None of this matters if u have a tiered data plan (with Verizon). I left the streaming world a long time ago.. Smh :-(

  25. I used to use Pandora. I had to stop due to both the commercials and the constant skipping halfway through a song. Drove me f’ing crazy!

  26. Looks like Pandora opened the wrong box.

  27. Ummmmmm…create a second account? BAM! 80 hours a month!

  28. What about Sirius satellite radio? Does anyone still use that?

  29. Songza

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