A note to our listeners

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)

Tim Westergren

Founder http://www.pandora.com/profile/tim

511 thoughts on “A note to our listeners

  1. 4% my ass. This is all about making more money for pandora. If their business model is so unprofitable why stay in the game. I refuse to pay even a cent when I actively have to listen to your Ads every 2 songs. Millions of people hear those ads and I wonder how much revenue you get from that. If you want to be so penny pinching then how about you guys compensate me for the bandwidth you guys use up streaming video ads.

      • You say FREE, however you don’t take into account how much money Pandora makes on the advertisements.

      • What the F is the effect on the company? I mean, Pandora is starting to turn into Apple for wanting too much money. And ain’t this supposed to be free?

      • 40 hrs of music may be alot to you, but for a person who actually listens to music that is not. I’m sorry to say but there are many others that work just as well that you do not have to pay for such as iheartradio, tune-in, slacker, ect….. yes all these apps have “pro” or “subscriber” versions that are available for those who live work and breathe music, but to an average user the free version is plenty. So the whole royalty bs that they are claiming is a bunch of crap. So please Pandora back up your statement now.. i would like to see you try

      • I agree with you. I think its great. And remember they are a business and if they don’t make money. “No Music” Honestly people are just fish arses

    • You are getting free music. I agree, stop complaining. Better yet, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. There are plenty of other radio station apps that you can use.

    • Your right! It’s stupid I use my pandora on my phone all the time and more like 30 hours of ads and 10 hours of music ohh well guess it’s time to switch to I heart radio no ads and I can skip as many songs as I want :)

    • The real issue is the greedy labels. We could all just go back to downloading free music. I listen to Pandora for the ease and convenience. But if you’re going to make it inconvenient/unpleasant with a limit in addition to the plethora of ads I already listen to, I’m happy to say screw the royalties. Back to pirate status! Welcome to the 21st century Corporate Pandora.

  2. As a military member who often travels to locations that don’t have a very good range of music that I want to listen to, this is a low blow. But that was not the last straw for me, the very one sided political BS adds you have been playing have done it for me. I don’t give a rat’s *** about politics when I am listening to music, (as it happens to be my happy place) you decided to peddle YOUR side of the story without asking me. I read the news if I want politics, I listen to music to relax and escape from the things I do so others don’t have to. Thanks for ruining it!!!!! Please delete my account and I will find somewhere else to go.

    • Amen to your post. I came up to this site specifically to find a place that I can let Pandora know why I am going back to Slacker. I don’t want to hear any political advertisement at all, but especially not an Obama wants to make more jobs. He already has with Obama care. Lots of part time jobs to fill in the times that the once full time employees who are now part time employees to avoid the cost of Obama care. Makes me sick to hear those adds. Bye Pandora and hello Slacker.

    • Good post. I agree with not wanting political commercials. My original reply got sensored, I suppose Pandora did not like that I don’t have the same political views as they do. The political ads make me ill. We’ll see if this reply makes it. Bye Pandora.

      • That’s so odd. I heard only Romney ads. Im not getting into any political debates but I guess they had us switched. Anyways, does anyone know if the time we have a station paused counts as if we were actively listening. There’s no way I got up to 40hrs in April and as I recognize pop-ups change while paused I cannot draw any other conclusions.

    • I’ve been a Pandora member for many years, and I have never heard a single political ad, ever. What I *did* have a problem with was numerous ads for EHarmony and the like–my wife of many years was not happy, LOL. They seem to have gone away now that I added the word “married” to my profile–I suspect if you added “Rush Limbaugh” or something to yours then you wouldn’t hear any more Obama stuff.

      • Oh great, I just thumbed-up a Pretenders song and got the E-Harmony background again. I must admit you got my age bracket right but really, come on guys, my wife and kids are wondering what I’m up to.

  3. Pandora is going the way of Netflix. Anytime you take away something that was initially free you’re gonna get some backlash, and I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “one unhappy customer…”
    Seems to me like the 4% you decided to eff over we’re the most diehard users of your service. Think about it, why else would they be above the limit? I for one will be switching to tunein after this.

  4. I’m just thankful for the free music and the ability to choose what I to hear. Oh…did I say FREE..Thanks Pandora

  5. Wow, this sucks. Pandora, you just made a wrong move, all your loyal customers are going subscribe to other free radio streaming apps, why? It’s not free anymore, despite all those ads you put in place was fine, but now, say bye bye to the competition.

    • I agree pandora is putting themselves in danger if listening most of their loyal customers to this 40 hour thing. But luckily pandora gave me another 40 hours to listen for the month of may. But I save my hours until me month for now I downloaded this awesome music app called jango. It’s just like pandora. But easier. Pandora step up the game or all of your listeners will long gone. You have some compition with jango. Good luck!!!

  6. SERIOUSLY? This is so stupid. And not only 4% have this issue it’s like everyone I know. And honestly I never knew of this until the ad popped up sayin I’m almost out of listening time. WTF IS THIS SHIT.

  7. Well now I’m a 4% just hit my limit, like others I use it at work to escape to a better world. I don’t understand how cutting free radio saves you money but is a great way to make you some more money?!? maybe because im a real person and not a bot or employee putting a understanding why it’s cool to get on a monthly payment that will raise every year, I guess if I had full access for free I would write what you wanted me to write too, well I am like others maybe I heart radio will work out. Pandora see you next month.

  8. Wow! busy blog today or perhaps I just haven’t been connected before. COME-ON folks! You all listen to radio stations that are constantly advertising. I mean radio as in over the air type. Or over the air TV. They barrage us with adds too and have for years. I opted for the “pay” service from Pandora. No adds anymore. I feel it’s worthwhile. I just have a few technical issues I need to work out with them. I hate the “Are you still listening?” annoyance even as a paying subscriber. We’ll see what they have to say.

    • Thank you. I have heard so many people saying that just because there is some technical issues then they are going to completely stop their service with Pandora. If there are some issues, CALL THE COMPANY. All companies have those moments where something goes wrong, no company is perfect. Quitting a service because of a computer mess up is ridiculous. If you call, I’m sure they would be more than willing to fix everything.

  9. I totally agree that it is WAY FREAKING MORE than 4% that experience this. Ever thought that MAYBE people like music and listen to it a lot? And to all of you saying that we should stop complaining and listen on a computer: WE LISTEN ON MOBILE FOR A REASON. So shut up. Just saying.

    • Sorry my comment pissed you off. Think about things first. Have you ever written a song? published one? Paid for studio time to record? Free music IS NOT your birth right. What do you do? Do you get paid for it? Just listen to free radio and shut up.

  10. I hit my 40 hour limit per month barley half way through the month. I listen to pandora on my phone everyday and for this to happens just sucks. Looks like I will be deleting my account and going elsewhere. Good job pandora…NOT!!!

  11. Oh yeah for that two weeks I went listening to terrible music was the worst two weeks I have had in a VERY long time. Tim you are making a big mistake and what you are doing to your loyal listeners is just wrong buddy. You are going to loose A LOT of listeners. I am also here to tell you that there is a much bigger number than 4%. Me being one of them I feel betreyed. Go back to what got you to where you are in the first place. This move is making you look like a fool.

  12. I just today got access to pandora again. We’ll see how long this 40 hours lasts. Thanks a lot.

  13. Screw pandora the ads suck, you can’t pick individual songs and the damn time limit. 4 percent is bullshit. I’m going to go and find a new radio station or music app.

  14. I have been using pandora at work, I hit my hours last month in one week. We are not allowed to stream off the computers at work as they have these sites blocked. Which leaves us all to use our phones. It is unfortunate. This can’t be 4 % unless everyone I work with happens to be the 4%. So we have switched to the jango ap. set up like pandora only it lets you skip all day long for listening to one ad. No limits. We have all been using it at work since we got locked out of pandora the first week of April. Give it a try

  15. In not sure what to say. Can you afford this? There is no way that this has effected 4% of people I’d say about 75% and the rest are the people who are always on pandora one and can spend a few bucks on this. This isn’t really a big deal its like $12 a year don’t see why people are losing their sh** like are you that pore that $12 for quality service if you really do like this app like you say you do then just pay if not shut up and move on. Damn people, pandora had made so much that this is just a minor setback. I for one have not updated my pandora so this doesn’t effect me, however if I had to pay $12 for this I would not because its just a waist, for me anyways there are hundreds of free radios that can be used. A quick heads up to anyone still reading pandora would not do this 40 hour cap unless they had some plan think about it, they knew this would happen and people would go to other free radios thoes apps are good but are no pandora in the end all the once free apps will eventually cost money and people will go back to pandora and they will be makeing money again and a lot so if you are really bent on screwing over like I once was the best thing to do is nothing. No one makes money no one losses money. So yeah pandora may not be makeing as much money but they are not losing any

  16. I understand why you have to limit mobile. I have a suggestion though. Would you please install an alarm to turn off Pandora at a certain time. I know it does it atuomatically (sometimes), but greater control on the user end may save you money. I like to go to sleep listening to Pandora, and having a shut off time would be wonderful to help reduce usage, and make the 40 hours last. Thank you.

    -Brennan

  17. So almost 1 out of 20 people affected! Goodbye pandora!
    -CB
    P.S. I didn’t hit the limit but some of my friends did and that is making me leave. Does my account automatically delete after 3 months?

  18. I can understand the 40 hour cap, but what I don’t understand is why I’m hearing ads so much. It’s really annoying when it used to be so much less frequent. It seems like I’m hearing one between every other song. I started listening to Pandora because I was sick of all of the commercials on the radio, and now Pandora plays more than the radio:( Seems to me like it’s time for another music app… All of my Pandora stations seem to be on a 10 song repeat loop anyways.

  19. To be honest I would not mind paying the $0.99 to continue if I do run out of hours. 40 free hours, plus 99 cents to finish the month w/ as many hours as I need. Seems pretty fair to me. That’s less than $12/yr and that’s much more than what many other radio apps would give you. For example last.fm (for the mobile app anyway) is subscriber service only. I was a bit disappointed w/ that b/c I really like last.fm and would have loved to have it on my iPhone. (yup office has blocked all internet radio on the computers).

  20. I’m thinking about upgrading to Pandora One, b/c basic has too many advertisements!!! Also I wish Pandora’s music was more focused!

  21. You seem to be missing a zero in that number you just randomly pulled up. Although judging from your reviews in the mobile App Store I would say it looks more like you shit on about 75% of your listeners. Spotify, Raditaz, Songza, iHeartRadio, etc will see a boost in their active listeners. Not only am I done with you, I’ve banned you on the networks I work on. Just doing my part to help you reduce your overall number of active listeners. Good luck at your bankruptcy hearings!

  22. Since pandora has implemented the 40hours per month, i found another app that allows me to listen to ALL my music for free. The app also allows me to play all my Favorite songs. I can skip as many times as i wish. The really cool part is that the ads are very seldom seen or heard. The music selection is outstanding. Thanks pandora for implementing the rule on mobile devices. My new apphas my full attention so there is is no need for me to have your app on my mobile or any other device. This is the one time where “the grass is greener on the other side”. BYE.

  23. Try 8tracks for Apple and Android. Waaaaay better, barely noticeable adds that don’t stop your music, and no limit. Also, the music choice is unbelievable. All of the latest songs are available at no charge.

  24. Ok, that’s it for me. If forcing me to listen to advertising (EXACTLY LIKE the radio does) isn’t enough income for you to allow me to hear music on my computer instead of turning on the radio 20″ away, then FORGET it. I am going back to my radio I have been listening to for 40 years and you can go back to writing code in your mom’s basement.

  25. I hate u pandora … U really screwed yourself over and I hope that u lose a ton of listeners along with me…… U start off small and free but once u get popular u charge us well anyways good bye pandora u will become a small company again soon

  26. Today is the 8th of the month out of Pandora time,Till next month for a couple of days?????So when this Co. has to start paying taxes on all of its revenue it will go down to 10 free hrs monthly Its getting old already might come back might not.

  27. What a bunch of whiney little crybabies. If you hit your limit, pry a fuckin’ dollar out of your wallet and pay for the rest of the month. I’ve been listening to Pandora for over a year now and only once got a notice that I was nearing my limit. What did I do? Cry? Throw a temper tantrum? No, I switched over to Slacker for that one day at the end of the month and still had tunes to work by, It amazes me how you little two-year-olds can whine about something that is free. I wonder what happens when something REALLY important happens in your lives? Get mommy and daddy to fix it for you? Grow the hell up!

    • What the hell… Ya dont know what ya talkin about everyone is use to the free radio of all the airplay and listeneners here and they complain bout money its greed

      • Greed has nothing to do with it. It’s called running a business. A lot of businesses like pandora are under big pressure from the record companies and raising music royalty costs. This is an extreme dramatization but at a certain point they would eventually be paying for you to listen to music. The point of a business is to profit. And they offer you a great service for almost nothing. If you listened straight for two days, hit your limit, and paid 99 cents for the remaining 28 days of the month, that would be 1 dollar a month or 12 dollars a year to listen to unlimited music. So shut up, buy one less dollar menu item per month, and boom you can afford your fuckin radio.

  28. This is why america is doomed! you people get angry because they put a 40 HOUR limit thats almost 2 straight days only on mobile i dont see the need to complain sure you have to listen to adds but you have to listen to alot more on the actual radio what more do you expect for free? you dont go to a grocery store take a free sample then complain it was too small do you? this limit is nothing they offer you add free listening for a very low cost they even ofer you unlimited streaming for .99 cents you could take the 6 months of pandora one and pay as much as it costs for satelite radio you people need to stop complaining and enjoy what you have im sure you buy a .99 cents soda at least once a month so whats the problem with paying for radio? you pay for t.v. amd internet so please stop complaining and enjoy what you have

  29. I feel you (Pandora) needs to change that smug “we pay for the music we play…” alert, it honestly has stopped myself and many others from both upgrading to commercial-free service and use of the free service. Appreciate your listeners, or we will take our business to the many other options available. I’m surprised it hasn’t upset more listeners.

    • I dont’ see what the problem is, to be honest. They give me the music I want to hear, for free, and in return they ask that I listen to some commercials and not leave the station running when I’m not there. Sounds totally fair to me. If I’m busy enough that I don’t want to click on the “are you still there?” button, then presumably I can afford a few bucks for one of the paid service (which is probably more convenient and rewarding than playing songs off my IPod or whatever anyway). Works for me.

  30. Have had Pandora One for ages, one of the best investments I have ever made…stop being such a bunch of cheap, overly-entitled whiners and maybe buy one less $6 cup of coffee during the month.

    You all are pathetic!

  31. Theres no way i listen to 40 hours of music drivig to and from work i only listen to pandora in my car i have “3 hours left” i think they charge 1minute per skip or somthin i do skip a lot of songs but no way i listen to 40 hours of music

  32. Seriously, people are amazingly whiny and entitled. This 40 hour limit is nothing new and applies only to mobile devices. If you’re so pissed off about it because you love pandora so much…PAY THEM!!! I for one won’t switch but might consider upgrading to pandora one because I actually love the service.

  33. Or, you guys could just buy the music yourself and listen to it at your leisure. It’s amazing that you’re complaining about how free music is delivered; calling it a “low blow” and such.

    Music is not free. It’s a product created by people who would like to be paid for the service. Pandora is not free. It’s free to you to listen up to a point, but why would anyone just give you free music? Stop complaining.

    I will agree that Pandora has tried to create an image that I think is a little misleading. But in all, it’s a business. You aren’t entitled to anything, so be happy with what these types of services are willing to give you for free.

  34. On April 10th, 2013, I reached my 40 hour limit. Now in May, I have less than an hour left. Maybe I listen to it too much, but I may be paying $.99 each month. Which I don’t mind, but that adds up. :/

  35. I thought the advertising alone cover for your expenses and even made you a profit. It’s just ridiculous and ambitious to make more money out of your customers, the ones who made possible for you to charge companies to put commercials on your so called service. It’s like charging people to watch regular tv. I will just not listen to it when I reach my limit and later on just forget about pandora next month when I get another 40 hours. Let’s see who is going to put commercials in a place with no customers to listen them…

  36. I don’t understand how people thought that you really did this for “free” you are using us as your audience to charge for commercials and now you want to charge us too for listening to them?

  37. Wow people. I mean really? It’s only 99 cents for unlimited per month. If you’re really a diehard music fan, just pay the $36 bucks and get unlimited with no ads. That’s a YEARLY price. Much more than worth it for the service. How did people get so cheap?

  38. I’m just very curious as to why all of you listen to Pandora more than 40 hrs a month anyways? Isn’t that the point of an iPod or the MP3 app on your phones? Like come on. Music was never free. Pandora needs to make money as well. It is a business after all. Pay $1.29 per song and you can listen to WHATEVER song you want to, however many times or pay ¢.99 and listen to Pandora radio. I mean come on. It’s not like Slakcer/iHeart Radio/Tune-In are gonna stay free forever. So yes, stop complaining.

  39. first of all its not 40 hours of listening,, I tested this ,, on the first day of new month I skipped every song I could ,,I DIDN”T LISTEN TO THE SONGS,, I SKIPPED THEM,, Pandora is adding up the song time and coming up with 40 hours,, so once I skipped 40 hours worth of songs it banned me,,

    Also I dont use a mobile device I use Imito MX2 tv dongle,, they register it and all my tv’s with pandora as cell phones,, fuck this worthless ass company

  40. Since this has to do with advertising: Please don’t use advertising that is offensive to some. I’m listening to a Christian station, something done often around my son, and a Grey’s Anatomy ad comes on. The phrase “Oh my G.” was used. While that may not mean anything to many of you. It’s offensive, or should be to anyone who believes in that God who’s name is so flippantly used. How would you like your name used as a by-word and often as a curse word? Just shining a little light on this dark spot. Please consider whether or not your ads are offensive before posting them.

    Jesus Christ is the way. Peace.
    Jason

  41. I have all my favorite gospel artist on pandora site. I came to pandora because I can listen to gospel anytime I want and it was free. I like listening on my phone while driving; now my choices are to listen on my computer for free, pay .99 cent til the end of the month or pay 3.99 with no advertisement. We should only pay if we want no advertising. I agree with the others this is like Apple. This sucks!

  42. Go with Slacker radio people. It’s not perfect but really, what is?! I decided to go with the $3.99 a month option which is added to my Verizon bill. I don’t even notice the payment most of the time. You get unlimited skips, no commercials, any and all songs you like/favorite is added to the “favorites” folder and even that can be selected as a station to play.

  43. My wife hit her limit already, and neither her or me will be using this service any longer. I hope enough people do this and you guys see your advertising revenues decline enough you realize the mistake you made. I am sure another company will come along and see the opportunity of once again offering a free internet radio that plays music based on a user’s preferences.

  44. By the way everyone saying anyone that complains is acting entitled. We were the customer, we generate the revenues for their advertisements. With out us they are nothing.

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