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

788 thoughts on “A note to our listeners

      • @Michael I pay the subscription, and it still sucks. 90% of the songs suck, or are completely unrelated types of bands. I have to thumbs down so much that I run out every few songs. That’s another thing. I pay for the service, and they limit skips. Pandora sucks now, there’s no way around it. Slacker is better, but they have an issue with running out of songs on stations. Of course Pandora doesn’t care about service anymore, only money. I think that’s pretty obvious by looking at their original algorithms, and format.

      • I wouldn’t mind AS MUCH if they weren’t so damn repetitive. I have grown to hate the company “jackthreads” solely because it is practically the ONLY commercial I hear. So far this month 134 commercials (started keeping tally to prove it) just from jacks threads. I’ve never even been to their site and I hate them as a company all because of Pandora.

        I tolerate the inordinate amount of commercials because I don’t pay. But a little diversity, come on! When I contacted Pandora about it, they basically told me “sorry dude we don’t control that”

      • I’ve paid for Pandora for years and I am fed up!!! Repetitive live BS is all I hear. Now Pandora is crying about their royalty costs. You know what Pandora? You suck and obviously can’t handle your own business model. Hasta la vista, baby!!!

  1. These new limits and changes Pandora are making really show that the creators and the developers of the app are going backwards in progress and not forward. They are making the app worse than what it use to be when it first came out. I will be switching to Jango or something other then Pandora. I know other listeners will be doing the same since these new changes are ridiculous. Pandora-you suck!

  2. During its 2011 fiscal year, Pandora reported $138 million in revenue- Pandora Media, Inc. “Prospectus, SEC Form S-1.” June 14, 2011.

    • Jim- I sure do agree with you. I don’t mind most of the ads, but I would like Pandora to know that I just might be on the other side of the fence.

      • Yes, let’s silence and limit the free speech of others. Let’s stamp our feet like babies and demand to be catered to in specific ways that cost even more money for the service provider than we’re already willing to pay. God forbid we ever hear something we disagree with and have to decide to move on with our lives after it completely devastates us.

        The nerve of you pampered, spoiled brats that something you get for free isn’t completely perfect and to your liking. What was Pandora thinking?

  3. Thought Pandora would be good. You have far too many ads! They cut in, are too load, and DESTROY the mood. So, I will NEVER tune in again and I will inform all my friends and family how TERRIBLE the app is…not even trying to limit the amount of advertisement indicates how little you care about the music, the musicians, and the music industry. In other words, you are greedy and now you have lost several clients…and, I hope loads more! Signing off, Vern Shoemaker

    • You have to have Pandora for a while and work on your station and soon all that will play is stuff you like they may throw new songs in there but they are seeing if you like them to try and expand your station not to piss you off…its free for damn sakes if you would rather spend $1.29 just to listen to songs you like then get fucking itunes stop complaining they could try and make you pay to listen to music but they decided to give it to you for free they have to show ads otherwise they have to pay more for adless music and they don’t have that kind of money with no money coming in gosh damn people it’s not the end of the world suck it up and stop complaining about stuff that’s out of their hands

    • You have a funny definition of greed. You are implying the company is making money which it isn’t. It’s not greedy to ask heavier users to pay their fair share of the cost of providing the service. Who is the one being greedy when you expect a service provided free of charge but not on the terms of listening to some ads? Bandwidth, personnel, server space, and royaties add expenses and advertizing can only pay so much of that. If you want to complain of greed, go after the music industry whose royalty fees are putting streaming stations out of business. They are being charged unfair rates that are considerable more than free over the air radio stations pay.

      • I had Pandora One , here is why they suck ! I pick a station and they are suppose to provide me with that artist ,and others related to that artist. What I am getting is artists completely unrelated to my pick. Pandora is using my subscription to promote artist that i have no desire to hear and I know they are getting paid for it !

      • You know what Steve, you are so right! I do still pay for Pandora One, lately though, I’m starting to wonder exactly why that is! You could thumbs down an artist every single time Pandora One plays them, and I swear to god, the next song would friggin be from that same exact artist! Or on the complete other side, you can thumbs up an artist or band that you actually really do like, in every single place possible, and let me tell you what, there are like a hundred ways to thumbs up or like an artist, and you wouldn’t hear a song from them all damn day! While I truly appreciate the lack of commercials, and the fact that I listen to my Pandora One, 23 out of the 24 hours in a day, it doesn’t exactly make me happy that I’m paying $3.99 a month to hear music I really can’t stand most of the time! I know there is a like or thumbs up button on an artists’ page, but maybe a ugh not this artist button would be just as useful right next to it!

    • Two long commercials in a row one always being about STDs or a repeat of the first one … About every other song now that kills the mood. Im with you man, screw Pandora.

      • I tried the free trial of Pandora One. It is no better. You still don’t play my favorites. I am not going to PAY for this! If you want me to pay for this services, play my favorites! I have indicated plenty of them for you, but I rarely get to hear them. This is a good idea, but you don’t do it.

  4. Pandora is getting more and more rediculos, I agree. but that doesnt mean we dont have to stop listening. Suck it up!

      • Dude… it’s internet radio. Pandora doesn’t give a shit about how often you skip, but guess who does? Oh, yes! The government! Internet radio laws! How cool are those? Pandora gives 100% free music. And people complain about how they have to listen to a 20 second ad every other song AT MOST. I mean, seriously, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ANYTHING. Come on, if you were paying per song I’d be PISSED but you’re paying for fucking nothing, So you literally have absolutely nothing at all to bitch about. God. Damn.

  5. I have searched and found this blog, while looking for the amount of hours and the reason why Pandora is limiting the amount of free music. I am not disappointed in Pandora, I am disappointed in the listeners. Really people? There are some people who were having some technical issues with the PandoraOne, and they are just going to completely quit service. Really?! Just call the company and have them fix your account. So many companies make mistakes like this, and if you call I’m sure they would be more than willing to help with the technical issues. Another thing I have been seeing. It is not ridiculous for a company, which is loosing a huge amount of profit, to have its customers pay a small amount to cover some of the extra costs, otherwise it is just like they are giving away tons of money. If you end up listening to Pandora for more than 40 hours in your month, just pay the dollar! I understand that money can sometimes be hard, but chances are, if you have enough money to pay for a smart phone with Pandora capabilities then money is less tight than with others. For me, I am a 16 year old living in a small town and I don’t have a job, so money is tight to begin with. If you don’t have a dollar to finish out the month, then go rake a yard or something! Most people waste at least dollar a month anyways on something dumb- just put that money towards something more prudent. One last thing. All of those “free” companies like iheart just are very new. Once they get a lot of people listening frequently, then I’m 103% sure that they will make it the same way as Pandora because the profit margin loss is way to large for ANY company to deal with. The money you have to pay for Pandora is really cheap, considering that to finish the month is only a dollar, and you get no ads, better quality, AND unlimited listening for only $4 a month. That same deal with other sites is going to cost you about $10.00. Don’t worry Pandora, loyal listeners will stay with you, and once money starts coming in I will gladly pay for Pandora One because you have been so loyal over the years, I will gladly repay the favor. <3

  6. It REALLY sucks that whenever I skip, I have to listen to a 1:30 video ad, then two 30 second audio audio ads? When I don’t skip, they come every two songs. Why would you have it so often?

    • In reply to Vincent:
      I get 2 ads about every 10 songs that are 15-30 seconds long. I’ve never had a video ad on pandora….
      General Comment towards everyone else:
      I really want to buy pandora one because I love it! I’m a loyal pandora fan who understands that money doesn’t grow on trees. Get over the fact that the company can’t give you everything you want for free.

    • A lot of people are complaining about ads. When there is a simple fix for this . Get AdBlock for chrome. you will never watch a youtube, pandora, internet or browser ad again. it blocks video ads as well as scripted ads and its FREE! it only takes like three clicks to get and its an amazing service and makes pandora so much more, worth it :)

      • I just don’t know. I pay for the service so don’t have ads. My wife and I, (71 & 63 years of age) always like the service when we use it. I was trying to think of something I could buy for that price, but came up short. Jnickerson-imagery.com.

        Sent from my iPad


  7. Pandora offers free internet radio. Ads are understandable, but why so many? If you are going to make Pandora suck even more than you already have then why don’t you give the option to choose songs. The playlists that your system comes up with are junk. If I want to listen to Gorillaz, why are you playing everything BUT Gorillaz. <–(Just for example.) If you want to make more money, give us a better product and charge more for ads. If you get more of your competition's listeners then surely more people will want to advertise on pandora, and your ad space will gain more value. Will it not? Listen, I'm not an economist but even I know your doing it wrong.

    • Have you ever listened to free over the air radio stations? They have far more ads to suffer listening to and you can’t even personalize what is played. Pandora is a far better option in comparison. If you seeded your station with Gorillaz, give it time to bring up more of their songs. Don’t forget to thumb up all of their songs to add more weight to that preference, but don’t expect Pandora to play the one group only. That isn’t how the service works. It is designed to suggest similar sounding muisc and provide variety. You might hear tour favorite group 1-3 times an hour at most depending on how much music Pandora has from them. If Gorillaz is all you want to hear, you are better off just buying their albums instead.

    • With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart’s content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs, artists or genres into Pandora and let the Music Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical SIMILARITIES to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

      Pandora was created to find music that is similar to what you already like. It’s here for you to discover new things….

  8. You people have got to be kidding me your people are complaining about getting music for free. FREE!!!!! Beggars can’t be choosers. If you don’t want to spend the money on ITunes or rhapsody or Amazon so you choose to listen to Pandora FOR FREE then don’t complain…

  9. Howdy! I love Pandora and thank y’all for all the work y’all put into this.
    I have a question that may or may not be possible. I listen to Spotify also and the reason I do is because I can listen to whole CD’s. If a new CD comes out I can “preview” it to see if I really want to buy it.
    Would that be possible for Pandora to do also? That way I wouldn’t have to switch between Pandora and Spotify to listen to music. :)
    Well, there’s that and the ability to create a playlist solely on what I want and not what is generated for me. But, that isn’t a big deal. Just a nice added bonus. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! :)

  10. I recently began listening to pandora again and I love the mix of artists, genres, and songs that it offers. However, there seems to be an increased number of commercials and political ads more regularly and after I skip a song. I’m so disappointed and often end up turning it off because it gets annoying. I no longer want to continue to listen to pandora if this is where it’s headed, a constant stream of commercials!

  11. I’m a Pandora One listener. $3 a month. Big deal! And believe it or not those composers need income too. And most importantly, change can be tough but one needs to get over it!

  12. If you don’t care thw complaining then think of it this way, for the price that pandora asks for I can get unlimited access to any song or band or album etc. On google. Oh and I dont have to listen at random I can choose to hear one song all day if I choose to do so. You see it isn’t that a lot of us aren’t willing to pay for music, it’s thay we aren’t willing to pay for a radio station no matter if it is in my car or on my phone. So if a ad every 2 songs isn’t enough to pay the bills then perhaps a change in business model is need for the longevity of pandora “radio.”

  13. I am glad there is a place to voice our opinions. Most of you know that music itself is a very dynamic constantly changing media. That’s what we like about it….what new aritist or styles are out this year? But historically music has been purchased and listened to in many ways. Some may remember when all we had were single songs on a 45 sp record. Try taking that into your car. Up to fifteen years ago, if we wanted to hear a certain group, it meant purchasing a whole album on cassette or CD. For those of you who want to build up a set of songs that specific, go out and buy the CD or individual song on iTunes. i certainly have accrued my library that way. But in hind site, just add up those dollars. Pandora offers much for free, or at most $4 a month. Thats 3 songs on iTunes or save up for 2 to 3 months and get the whole CD. Those artists would appreciate it for their hard. work). Pandora was never meant to custom make an exact song library for you. It is a way to hear similar artists within a genre. For the price it is better than FM radio, Sirius, and buying individual songs on iTunes. I mix Pandora with my other alternatives including listening to my own purchased music. It compliments all that I have. When I hear a song that I really enjoy, I go and purchase that song or album. I am grateful to those sponsors to pay for a portion of my listening pleasure. If you want it for free remember… Beggars can’t be choosy. For those still unsatisfied, luckily you have the choice to go find something that pleases your listening style. There are plenty of other options. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Spotify..Spotify..Spotify!!!
    If you’re gonna pay for something……Pay for Spotify!! Spotify rocks and blows Pandora out of the water!! Try it…..You won’t be disappointed!!

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  16. I actually pay for this service and I can tell they are trying to keep costs down by paying royalties for some really terrible music. The 6 skips an hour should be increased to unlimited because I can’t stop skipping their horrible selection. The songs now are either 1000 years old, a song I have heard three times already in the day, a song I have thumbs down more than 5 to 6 times only to find it popping up on another channel, or some annoying song by an artist so popular, Pandora has no photo for them. The music is C rated now, at best. There are too many other well created music websites out there, so my renewal for Pandora will not happen this year.

  17. Pandora used to me my tool of choice for finding new music but the recent effort towards greed has caused me to abandon pandora. The ads I would accept if a few every hour but now it’s become a bain to the service. Every other song is interrupted by a 30-second ad. This model fails and just like your predecessors, you will soon be a memory. Profits before product always ends in disaster.

  18. I knew about Pandora and then went with the $3.99 a month plan. Does great with all of my wifi connected devices especially my portable Bluetooth devices.

    Seems like most of the negative complaints are from those who want everything free in their life. I sort of felt that way in the sixties and early seventies, but I grew up and learned that one must pay for things they like. Pandora “rocks” especially since my 71 year old wife or I can just put in a song or artist and get results.

    I was 15 years old at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and in the audience when Dylan was booed off the stage for using an electric guitar. (For historical reference, Pete Seeger, and Mimi and Dick Farina also performed). Since you probably don’t know these names, Mimi is Joan Baez’s sister. (Still probably don’t recognize anything). Google,
    “Been down so long looks like up to me”, and you should find Richard Farina.

    In 1970 (71?) I attended the second international Atlanta Rock festival in Byron Georgia, and watched Hendrix play our National Anthem while fireworks loomed.

    So don’t whine so easily about a good thing.

    All the best, jn
    Haven’t learned a new song Since Harry Chapin died on the NJ freeway in his VW Bug.

  19. Hate the new Pandora for Tivo.
    1. Much slower load
    2. Lots of lag when changing stations and lost the ability to go up and down pages
    3. New dashboard not user friendly

    Don’t know how much longer I will continue to use service

  20. The old bait and switch. I dropped netflix and I was paying for that (and I still haven’t returned). You obviously let some old businessman come in and change your strategy. Think outside the box, that is what you started from.

  21. Ok Pandora, why not charge me a few extra dollars to thumbs down UNLIMITED???? Because nothing pisses me off more than being forced to listen to a song I don’t want to. I’m ok with everything your doing and understand there’s more than meets the ear (see what I did there) but come on. I just want to be able to weed out the crap I don’t like. Maybe I’m wrong but the whole premise is to listen to more of what you love an less of what you don’t. WITHOUT having to constantly switch stations. PLEASE if you have this comments section because you actually care what we think then I beg of you EXPLAIN to is why this can’t be an option. UNLIMITED SKIPS for 10.00 a month……. NO PROBLEM

  22. It might be a good idea to pay the writers and musicians who make Pandora possible more than ONE TENTH OF A CENT PER PLAY ?

  23. Have NO problem paying for the service on an annual basis. Even if it’s $50/year, that’s tens of thousands of plays for Music that is NOT FREE. But forcing subscribers into a monthly plan that gives Pandora license to siphon your checking account is as shady as Amazon or Ebay converting all their purchases to a monthly debit plan. What the hell ever happened to paying for what you want up front in this country? Thanks for being part of the problem, Pandora.

    • I don’t want everything for free. I will happily pay them money, but not if paying doesn’t have any added benefits. Many people are complaining because they’re paying money and the service is just as shitty as when they were getting it for free. Just as many commercials and a ludicrous volume and still highly limited on the skips, what the hell is even the point of paying then?

  24. I’m far more concerned about the fact that Pandora has a VERY annoying habit of throwing absolute GARBAGE into the mix on ALL my stations. When my preferred genre is 80s heavy metal and I’m getting the occasional rap song and modern crap mixed in, then there is a PROBLEM. For every song that fits in my chosen genres and I don’t hit the thumbs down button on, there are probably fifteen more that Pandora has tried to make me listen to which is absolute dreck and I could not possibly hit the thumbs down button on it as fast as was really deserved. My personal record (established by rapidly switching between two channels) stand at 37 consecutive songs that suck and are not related to the core genre of the station, each of which was aggressively killed by the thumbs down button. There are days when Pandora all but REFUSES to play anything related to the genres and seeds my stations are built around. This bullshit “music discovery service” probably won’t get another year’s renewal from me because they are only getting WORSE, and not better. How many bands are there that suck? It seems that the list is endless because I thumbs down several bands I never heard of EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  25. Forty hours of one month is a hair over five percent of a month with 730 hours in a month give or take depending on the month fuck your free 5%

    • @Damian The daily skip limit is increased for Pandora One listeners. However the 6 skips/hour/station remains. This limit is to cover our licensing costs. We pay for each song even if it plays for a second. If you’d like to have a bigger discussion about this please reach out to our Support Team here: http://pdora.co/writeus. -Alyssa

  26. Pandora Sucks! I dint care if it’s free or not. I should be able to at least listen to a entire sing for once. Always cuts the songs off after a few seconds of play then goes into a thirty second commercial that never seems to have any disturbances always plays to the end. Why would I pay for a service when the free service sucks so bad

  27. I understand the need for adds, but every two songs is pushing it. My stations I listen to are electronic study music and a classical station. It becomes inadvertently annoying that I have to take off my headphones every two songs while I study. I have a probable solution though. Start playing adds normally and the longer you listen in a continuous time period, less ads and not music increases in a gradient manner. For example 2 songs, add, 3 songs, add, 4 songs, add… Just trying to save what once was a great application.

    • Fully, I’m a senior now studying IT. I listened to it for three years during study, now I have to create a YouTube channel and you know what? I still get less adds than on Pandora.
      Pandora+Adds=FAIL !
      and what’s with the 5 buck per month? someone’s gettin’ greedy…..
      solution=put the cost on the vendors, not the clients.

  28. Pandora can you please stop with the horrible ads! If you’re going to advertise something please stop forcing us to watch commercials on scary movies at 1 am in the morning…it’s disturbing and I seriously get freaked out. I decided to discontinue using you via mobile

  29. If radio stations can operate without charging listeners, I think Pandora can do the same. Why don’t you just start charging more for your annoying ass ads, Pandora?

  30. I am 19 years old and i accidentally typed the wrong number of my birth date and it said i cant register because im to young what is the freaking age limit to be exact because i wanna listen to music

  31. I agree! There are plenty of music channels to choose from. That was a huge rate hike and I will get my music elsewhere. Oh Pandora, why do you have to hurt my feelings… I hate break ups but it is always better to do it when you are still mad! :*(

  32. It really sucks the I can’t listen to my perfered music when I want . I’ve been with pandora for awhile and have not seen any changes. I pay full price and still get cut off .. This sucks !! Anyone know of another station I can try.

  33. I listen to Pandora all day long at work (with bluetooth headphones) and I’m a carpenter. I just got the notification and i was disappointed. The service has been really incredible and I will miss the cost and usage ability. Maybe I can afford the 5 buck a month, bt for now, I’ll have to find alternative methods of meditation/entertainment (I listen to ambient and dubstep, mostly). I wish the cost were more in the neighborhood of $2.99 monthly, but I understand the obligation on Pandora’s behalf. Hey, everyone want’s to acquire financial freedom. With people like Marissa Mayer out there, I guess the skies the limit, eh?
    Thanks for what you have offered me Pandora (Tim) and I look forward to any/all changes you make toward my listening pleasure.
    Warm regards, Dood

  34. I won’t be using Pandora for much longer. I know you guys offer a free service so you can do whatever you want, but I get two adds almost every two songs, and about 75% of the time when I switch a station. Also there are ads that cover up the album artwork every time a song changes. It isn’t fun being constantly bombarded by ads– it’s way worse than the radio, even. I used to love Pandora but I and quite a few people I know are done.

  35. I can understand the need to present Ads, what really creaps me out at work is when the whole page fills with pics of women and the pop up “How ols a girl are you looking for. For that embarassing reason alone I’m probably going to switch back to AOL-Slacker!

    • I’ve switched to Songza and after a short adjustment to the UI I’ve grown to love it. I don’t miss Pandora a bit. I also listen to Digitally Imported for some great electronic music. I got so frustrated with Pandora I wanted to scream and stomp on my phone.

  36. Pandora you have finally hit rock bottom.
    I was a loyal listener. Always bragging about you. I even paid the yearly fee. All I got was no commercials. Big deal. I expect more. Well barely adequate.
    Now you are limiting hrs. I can get 40 or something ridiculous. most of the time your music doesn’t load. Your station has turned into a real piece of shit!
    Can’t wait until you don’t exist anymore. It’ll be a matter of time you greedy bastards.
    Everyone I talk to now hates you with a passion, now until do to.

  37. Hello…Just a little reminder that Pandora has removed the limit and everyone can go back to not hating so much on a limit that isn’t there. You can of course comment on the horrible playlist they have going on over and over again but other than that…yeah.
    They removed the limit months ago.

  38. No they haven’t removed the limit, I hit mine about a week ago for June. Now I’m wondering when my month starts over? Does Pandora follow my billing month with my carrier or should it have started this morning? Or maybe even a month from when I hit my limit? I’ve never hit it before and I’m trying other services, but I’ve been using Pandora for five or six years and I guess I’m just so used to them that I’m not liking anyone else. #patientlywaiting

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