This week we will begin communicating directly with a small number of our listeners as we introduce a 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening.

Most of you reading this will never hit the limit. In fact, it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month.

That said, limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission so we wanted to share a quick explanation. Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption.

For listeners who do hit the limit, we have a variety of options available to keep the music you love flowing. Listen for free for as many hours as desired on desktop and laptop computers; pay $0.99 for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month, or subscribe to Pandora One for unlimited listening and no advertising.

In short, this is an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora. We will be sure to alert any of our listeners that start getting close to the 40 hour limit. As always, your feedback is welcome.

Thanks for listening,
Tim (Founder)


  1. Chris
    December 31, 2015 at 9:18am
    4% is probably more like 40% of active listeners because I'm sure they're pooling everyone at anytime that has ever made an account and not specifically active listeners. Oops!
  2. tomas
    January 17, 2016 at 9:19pm
    Too many ads for me! If I have to pay for my music, I will use my own CDs which are much better sound quality than Pandora. Pandora didn't use to be this way, now you are carpet bombed with ads. BTW, Pandora really don't want you to pay for their music, they make much more money with their ads! Think about it, television makes tons of money from their ads. BTW, the Internet was not created for greedy corporate America! Therefore, don't give me the BS story that you are receiving n number of songs for free! Wake up nothing is for free!
    1. James C
      January 31, 2016 at 4:02pm
      Don't be cheap. If you can afford to buy music CDs, cough up the $4 a month they are asking and enjoy unlimited commercial free music at a much higher bit rate. Advertising isn't as profitable as you might think per ad which is why they run a lot of them on the free accounts.
  3. Christina
    January 27, 2016 at 12:19pm
    I am on my desktop and it is not unlimited - I am getting the message - no music available. so it is across platforms not just mobile. I guess I will find something else. for the next 2 weeks - maybe longer
    1. James C
      January 31, 2016 at 4:05pm
      If it is saying your station has run out of music or add more music to your station, it is a known issue. Closing and restarting Pandora usually fixes this bug. I have a station with thousands of songs and I get this once in a while on my mobile phone.

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