Pandora One Subscription Changes

UPDATE:  You’ve asked and we listened.  We are excited to announce that as of today, December 2, 2014, the option to be billed annually is back and available for purchase from your computer.  We’re constantly working to make Pandora One the best possible experience and we are dedicated to providing you with the best personalized radio in the world.  Thank you for your passion for our service and for your support.

For more information on the annual plan click here.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Over the next couple of months, we will be implementing some changes to our Pandora One subscription plan so that loyal listeners can continue to enjoy a premium, ad-free Pandora experience.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 1.37.00 PMWe’ve been fortunate to be able to offer Pandora One at an affordable price since its debut in 2009 at $36 per year and later with the introduction of a monthly subscription for only $3.99 per month. Over this same period, the costs of delivering this service have grown considerably. For example, the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53% in the last five years and will increase another 9% in 2015.

In order to continue to provide an ad-free listening option, we are implementing some changes to the way we price Pandora One, including a modest price increase for new Pandora One subscriptions:

  • Existing Pandora One monthly subscribers that remain active will not experience a price increase at this time and will continue to pay $3.99 per month.
  • For new subscribers, the subscription price will change to $4.99 per month starting in May.
  • Existing annual subscribers that remain active will migrate to a discounted loyalty price of $3.99 per month at their next renewal period.
  • We are ending the annual subscription option.

Beginning this week, annual subscribers approaching their renewal date will be notified as the update is applied to their subscription. Monthly pricing for new subscribers will take effect in May, allowing time for new subscribers to take advantage of discounted loyalty pricing if they subscribe before then.

Our listeners are our top priority and, while this affects only a small percentage of our listeners (3.3 million subscribers of more than 250 million registered users total), we hope that you understand why we have taken these steps. Our goal is to continue to be your go-to internet radio destination and enable you to hear the music you love wherever and whenever you want.

Pandora

The Pandora Team http://www.pandora.com/

1,049 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. Have been buying Pandora for my wife for Christmas. Was shocked to see the price rise this year. If it weren’t Christmas Eve already, I would definitely have thought twice. She is already on Amazon prime so I guess I’ll be nudging her in that direction. This is probably my last purchase.

      • Dang…Pandora for a Holiday gift? Let’s just say Mike gave you a compliment. And I agree with him

      • what’s cheap is scum bag corporations misleading customers and making a cash grab. The change in royalty rates only accounts for about half of the rate hike subscribers pay. The rest is them pocketing money while crying foul and blaming everyone else

  2. Hi Pandora,
    Loyal long-time listener here who signed up last year for the monthly plan because I really liked what you guys do. I like it being on all of my devices and I like the breadth of music I’ve listened to. I actually signed up for the monthly plan over the annual because I wanted to support you guys.

    I’m not even upset about the price increase, but I do think it would be worthwhile for you to write up something for us so we’re aware of what loyalties you pay, why you are forced to pay them and (dreaming here!) what we can do to keep them down – upcoming legislation, etc. Compared to some services out there, I think yours is still the best. I believe informed users are loyal users.

    I will say that there are a few updates I’d like to see done with your UI, including leaving the stations sorted alphabetically whenever you sign on and more “add this music to a favorites/shopping cart” options.

    Also, you can pass this comment on to the record companies: almost all of the music I’ve purchased in the last year has been because I heard it on Pandora. Squeezing money out of end users like they are will certainly end these types of purchases.

    Keep up the good work!

      • Amen, Amen, Amen. I frequently buy AIFF versions of the songs I hear on pandora, and 80% of the music I own is because it came from that strange sounding song I heard, the other 20% is split with ~15% being soundcloud and 5% the music service I bought from’s recommendation.

        I used pandora for free basically since it came out, then when I got a job I immediately got One and loved it. Now being in college I have begun buying music in order to play on demand, but I still lack skill consistently making playlists people like so I keep pandora one because the higher music quality and desktop app.

        I started using soundcloud recently due to its wide selection and free download potential. I’ve become interested in achieving the ‘most true’ sound I can of music currently as my taste has shifted away from bass heavy music to european house style, and I perceive a benefit from the higher bit rate of AIFF files over those on itunes or amazon and support beatport because they have a good company. I do the same for pandora.

        I understand pandora has a corporate commitment too but pandora doesn’t hide this. As said above we the consumer are surprisingly acceptable with this if a company is open about costs. Think large home improvement store where you can get everything but it’s not personal or you have hidden fee’s due to low quality etc. vs local hardware store where the owner will sharpen chainsaw blades for you and is extremely knowledgeable and the consumer has no issue supporting the local store if possible in many cases.

        One way that I think to be transparent is for example if a skip is used twice in a row have a non-intrusive banner come down at the top of the screen saying “did you know that even if you skip a song pandora still pays royalties to the artist equal to if you listed 1 second or 1 minute. Click here for more information (detailed transport information like your above post, include tips for customizing stations through rating songs or adding variety.” Have multiple banners too, another could say “did you know monthly pandora pays artists x$ for songs people skip without ever listening to more than 5 seconds.” or even “we just paid 0.00025$ for that song you skipped, unlimited skips per month now only .99$ a month”

        Non intrusive but informative is perfect. One final suggestion that really doesn’t probably apply to that many people is offering high quality bit rate lossless music. I understand most people cannot utilize this due to network speeds and pandora’s servers capacity, however I know windows 8.1 pro and windows 7 support DRM encryption and a possible solution is a protected (ie encrypted in something similar to an apple lossless where it’s compressed but playback is only marginally impacted as it is decoded in real time) file remains on the computer after streaming if it’s the first time being played (or dedicated pandora box?) with adjustable limits on storage and optimization for ‘cached’ music such as: storage quantity(Gb), time ago previously played(all tracked played in last: month, year, week, quarter), frequency played (keeps 50th percentile of playtime). This provides the security necessary to protect artists, maybe require a connection with pandora for description each song, but keeps pandora’s overhead with servers down. I understand pandora is a streaming service not spotify, but I would have no problems paying more, quite a bit more for high quality music even if I cannot choose specific songs like spotify. I’m a college kid and broke but some things I can always find money for.

        If you’re still with me after all this then my final suggestion is still regarding transparty. I’m sure Pandora receives compensation when the links (buy here) are clicked and a purchase is made like some websites so with links in text; if not then do that. I suggest that these links are expanded to include more (beatport cough cough) and because many people use pandora for music discovery if someone thumbs up a song have a non-invasive popup saying “want unlimited on demand listening, buy from one of these retailers.” Being large and powerful I would even suggest running promotions for smaller music sites. Say for example beatport wanted to increase its market to people with an IP address in area codes ( ) or males 18-25 listening to stations in ( ) genres then they could give anyone whom follows a link on a popup on pandora’s site 10% the entire order, and for the referral pandora gets 1% or something, I don’t know the situation or regulation but it is an example of non intrusive advertising and encourages the listener to use pandora’s links. The listener saves money so they it helps to remove reason’s to buy anywhere else, and pandora still receives compensation. Pandora could go as far as brand itself loosely to music discovery with ‘discovery stations’ and a description explaining that these stations conform less to rigidly to a particular style or sound exploring new and local artists (which are probably cheaper in royalties, maybe even free).

        Sorry for so much. But I like pandora and want to come back. My renewal is in a few days for annual subscriptions but I just don’t have pandora omnipresent in the background while studying anymore like I used to. It’s hard enough being in college. I’d go on about putting free month of Pandora One codes in certain college dorm rooms as freshman move-in in the fall with a catchy phrase like “let pandora be the DJ <3 Pandora" or "drown out your roommates voice <3 Pandora" but I've said too much and if you read this all you work at a good company.

  3. My subscription expired while I was on vacation. when I logged on I was offered a renewal at the annual price of 49.95.I presume that was because I was renewing an existing subscription. As I attempted to renew my caps lock was on and and Pandora didn’t accept my renewal. i backed out to figure out what was wrong. After I discovered the caps lock was on I went back to renew my subscription and suddenly the price went up to $56.65. Is it fair that a simple user error would cause me to lose my renewal discount?

  4. Coming from an era where you had no choice but to either buy everything you hear or be subjected to whatever the radio station wanted to play, I’ve got more out of Pandora premium than pretty much anything else I pay for. I started the premium service because I saw the value right away.

  5. Pandora, you must be raking in the bucks by forcing us to listen to commercials. I joined Pandora once upon a time because of the affordable, commercial- free, annual subscription. I’m not interested in the monthly service.

  6. When Pandora started years ago I wanted. To upgrade but due to poor customer service I did not. Hope you improved since then. Contact me. Happy New Year.

    • Hi Jay,
      So sorry to hear you had a bad experience with our Listener Support team. I hope we can help you the next time around. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, comments, concerns or issues – we are more than happy to help/listen: http://pdora.co/writeus -Katie

  7. Instead of fleecing paying customers you should have hiked your advertising rates. I was a loyal annual subscriber but this huge hike on those that truly supported Pandora is unconscionable. Unless you change tactics I see business failure in your future. Goodbye.

  8. Asked my mom for a subscription for Christmas so I could continue ad-free, as I use Pandora in my classroom during study hall and test time for students. I had no idea how much it has gone up! My sister-in-law asked for a subscription for her birthday, but we will not be able to get it at that price. I will never ask my mom again for that as a gift. I am embarrassed I didn’t look into it first! I will explore other options for next year.

  9. I had a annual subscription for 3 years and when my subscription expired I was not offered the discounted rate of $3.99 per month. I renewed and was offered $4.99 per month from my phone. After I renewed I found out that the annual subscription was still available from a computer only. So I canceled my monthly subscription on my phone. My monthly subscription expired this morning so I went online and was disappointed that the annual subscription is still $7.01 more than the discounted monthly rate. Is there any way I can be offered the discounted monthly or annual subscription?

  10. Been using Pandora since it came out and been a annual subscription member for years. However this year with the increase which I was not aware till after I was already billed was it for me. The song rotation is still very close to being the same so not sure why I would be paying more. Oh well Pandora had a good run while it lasted, off to look for the next thing. Cheers

  11. I have been paying for 4 years because I appreciated the service. The biggest issue I have with the UI is avoiding Christmas songs in April, June and July! I am sorry to see the increase and have no clue what percentage of costs are covered by paying customers versus advertisers. I think the $3.99 is a little high for someone who listens about 10 hours a month. I am waiting to see how this plays out, unfortunately thinking about cancelling.

  12. 2 year P-One customer, annual billing rate. It was a good deal and service delivery was fine.

    My issues with the change:
    1. No notification of changes
    2. No loyalty for existing customers at the $36/yr price

    Looking to justify the 50% increase in cost here. Has the catalog increased? Has the service improved?

    Thanks for the service – it was a good run. I am considering other options, or none at all. iTunes/Beats, AMZ Prime, Spotify have alternatives with more features. I don’t mind paying more, but need to understand the changes.

    Also, your customer service folks should be contacting customers, not asking them to email. Pandora should initiate the contact :)

    I have already spent too much time on this…time to go.

    -Jeff

    • Jeff,

      A long time listener of Pandora myself. And yes, seeing price hikes is discouraging.

      However, it wasn’t a 50% price increase. It was 25%. Still, an increase is an increase.

      Just found out recently that the artists who create the music we listen to get fractions of a penny when we hear a song. Something like 100,000 plays before they get $25 or so. I think this is primarily why their is the increase. Don’t know, just a guess. But if so, I don’t mind the increase because it will encourage others with musical gifts that I can only dream of having create more music that I enjoy.

      MJM

    • I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!!!! There was zero notification and I have had weeks notice the past several years! I am outraged and will NEVER back or recommend a company who disrespects its loyal patrons! I am glad I’m not the only one out there who was crapped on! #lostfaith

      • Hi Dave, we do appreciate your loyalty-our system is probably thinks you are a new subscriber. Please feel free to email our Listener Advocates, they will take care of this for you: http://pdora.co/writeus -Katie

  13. Loyal subsrciber here. Didn’t know I had been migrated to monthly, nor who was charging $4.33 to my account. Thanx for maintaining my costs. BTW what happened to the lyrics. They make the music more real to me. So many songs are difficult to understand. Bring back the lyrics

  14. To ALL subscribers of Pandora One: You are paying for a service, yet Pandora still has skip limits due to “licensing constraints.” So what are we paying for? No ads? And, guess what? If you leave the country, you will NOT have access to Pandora One. I’m down in Mexico right now and have to be connected to my corporate VPN if I want to listen to a service that I’m paying for.

    So why are we paying for this? I’m about to drop this subscription.

    Pandora: fix these problems or drop the price per annum. Offer a yearly and a monthly. Those who pay monthly pay “full retail.” Those who pay yearly get a cost break. It’s that simple.

    I’ve been on board with this since Yahoo Radio – which is since 2007/2008. This is a long time to pay for a degrading service.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Chris, and thank you for your continued support. We apologize for the trouble. Just so you are aware, the annual subscription option is back so you are able to switch. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us for some help: http://pdora.co/writeus -Katie

  15. As a thrifty college student trying to “ball on a budget”, I think it would be business savvy to somehow offer a student discount with a college ID or a college email address. I once had Pandora One and thoroughly enjoyed it, alas I chose to further my education and therefore had to cut back on expenses that were deemed unnecessary by the little man on my shoulder watching my finances. I would love to have it again seeing as I use it in my office (all day everyday) and the last thing I enjoy hearing is a sales pitch from a car dealership every 4th song.

    Or, hear me out, maybe providing a “Pandora PointFive” (the space was intentionally left out for visual appeal to the younger eye) that strictly caters to college students in which certain businesses in the area can specifically request their ads be played on. (i.e.- college bookstores, coffee shops, apartments, restaurants with special student discounts, the colleges themselves advertising a sporting/campus event, etc)

  16. I went to the Pandora One site today to pay what I thought was going to be $36 for a year. That is all I consider the service to be worth.

    After seeing the price increase I did Not sign up, it simply isn’t worth it to me. Sorry that your costs are increasing. That’s your problem though, perhaps hire better negotiators to keep the cost down? Just tell the record labels no. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
    Whatever side your opinion may fall on this issue, the fact is that Pandora could have earned another $36 to add to the balance sheet. Instead, it is zero $. I never click on an ad, my screen is off on my phone and I’m in no position to run over, turn the screen on, and click an ad. It just isn’t going to happen…

    Best of luck in the future.

  17. I was a loyal customer for at LEAST 4 years. Now I was not given notification, my prices were jacked up, and I am forced to abandon Pandora all together?! I am sorry but this was very poorly executed. Especially since I have spent countless hours on Pandora. I guess even the best things come to a crashing end.

    I am sorry but this has single handedly killed your loyal customers. I was going to renew my subscription for the 5th year in a row, but I refuse to pay a company who does not value their loyal customers. SLAP. TO. THE. FACE.

    • You’re one of the ONLY ones that didn’t get notified. Don’t take everything so personally, since the notification probably went to your spam folder or you deleted it. So, over the last four years, you paid them $144 for a great product, and now you’re offended and think you’re going to stick it to them. Get over it.

      • Um. I did not receive any notice either. I’ve been a Pandora One ANNUAL subscriber since its inception. I just got sticker shocked when I was automatically billed for my annual subscription and the price had gone up 25%. I’ll stay a subscriber because Pandora has over the last 4-5 years become my primary music source both at home (through a Grace receiver) and in my car, as well as mobile on my phone, I’ll get my money’s worth. But now I’ll be keeping my eyes open for alternatives. I REALLY do not like being blindsided like that. Loyalty is a two way street.

      • Hi C.W. – We’re sorry for any confusion. You should have received an email approximately 45 days prior to the changes taking effect. If you didn’t receive this email, it may have gone into your spam folder. In any case, our apologies that this came as a surprise. Please email our support team to relay your concerns on this to them: http://pdora.co/writeus.

        -Kim

  18. Pandora,

    A business passing on rising costs to it’s customers?! How dare you deliberately try to make money at me!

    I refuse to buy anything from companies that increase prices due to increasing overhead. So, unfortunately, I will be cancelling my incredible and affordable Pandora One subscription, which is a shame because it was nice to listen to while rubbing sticks together in my hand-made grass hut or while out foraging for nuts and berries. I wish I understood anything about business.

    Thank you for an incredible service,

    Dave

  19. And if Pandora operated like Walmart, they would force there suppliers, the music industry, to cut cost forever. Or put another way, since the union are pretty much gone from the work force, many young people today are making half what there parents made 25 years ago.

  20. I’m not understanding why people are throwing a fit over a few bucks. So what if the price went up a little, it’s still worth every penny to me.

  21. At $36 I was buying pandora one. Now at $60 a year I’m out. I’ll just actually buy the songs I want and listen to them whenever I want for that price.

  22. Pandora,

    I am a HUGE Fan and I am not going to renew Pandora One this year. I am no longer able to listen to Pandora One on multiple devices (ie share an account with my wife) This causes problems as we both occasionally listen @ work however neither of us listen over 40 hours a month. Coupled with the “modestly increased price” it will be over $100 a year for two accounts, when the previous year it was only $36 for the same level of service.

    Now if you added some additional features or added additional value with my increase in cost and had another story to tell besides “our costs have gone up” (BTW all of our costs have gone up and wages not as much) then maybe I would consider staying or could see some increase in value. As it stands with the messaging and your business practices, I do not think Pandora is headed in the right direction.

  23. Very shocked when I saw the billing price of my Pandora Gift Subscription. What upsets me is that customer service seems to have failed in the notifying of current, long-time customers.

    1. No notification of changes via email.
    2. No loyalty pricing options given for existing customers. Now loyal customers who purchase an annual subscription, are paying $4.99 per month or there about.

    Neither of these are good customer service to loyal customers who have grown to love Pandora.

    You missed the boat on this Pandora. I’m not upset about the price increase, expect for not giving loyal customers a better deal on annual subscriptions. What upsets me is that Pandora let me down customer service wise in the lack of notifications regarding these changes.

    • Hi there – Sorry for any trouble or inconvenience. If you have an active subscription with Pandora through your account settings, we send emails 45 days prior to any changes you’ll see so that you are aware of any changes.

      However, if you’ve been buying gift subscriptions for yourself and redeeming them to your account, you may not have necessarily been notified of changes.

      Please email our support team directly with your concerns – they will also be able to check your account to make sure everything is in order: http://pdora.co/writeus.

      -Kim

  24. The dramatic, hyperbolic nature of some of the negative comments is comical. As if there are consumers out there who both sound that intelligent AND get that upset over minor business pricing changes announced in a transparent manner. If the changes were implemented improperly for you I understand being reasonably irritated, but some of the other comments are ridiculous. Hopefully Pandora’s competitors only waste money employing a single person to fabricate some of these reactions.

    I’ve been listening to Pandora for free for years and I’ve found so much new music with it. I found this page Googling “pandora pricing” just out of curiosity, but this blog post, and especially the comments, convinced me to subscribe for the first time to better support Pandora. lol

  25. Well said. Thank you.

    I am a long-time subscriber and even with the modest price increase, find the service well worth the cost.

    I wonder if these same individuals go to the grocery store and demand an explanations from the management on why the price of bread went up a few cents…..AND……they were not properly notified before coming into the store?

    MJM

    • Hi Erin – In order to listen to Pandora, you need to have a working internet connection either through your cellular network or wifi network. Pandora does use data, whether you are a paid or free listener. Please email us if you have further questions: http://pdora.co/writeus.

      -Kim

  26. So if existing customers are supposed to pay $3.99 per month, why am I being charged $4.99 for my renewal? Haven’t renewed by the way because when I went back to sign up a few minutes after getting the sudden notice that my subscription had expired the price had increased a dollar from the previous price listed.

    • Hi Michelle – If you didn’t have your auto-renewal turned on, or if you have had any billing changes, your subscription may have lapsed thus causing you to see the new subscriber pricing. Please email our support team for assistance: http://pdora.co/writeus.

      -Kim

  27. I recently subscribed to Pandora One because to be honest, I was okay with paying $4.99 a month but I’ve been charged 3 times in the last couple weeks. February 2, 23rd and today. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure that a one your advertisement said $4.99 per month not get charged $4.99 more than once in a month. I’ve unsubscribed and would like a some sort of refund. I don’t really enjoy looking at my bank account and seeing that I’ve been charged more than once in a month’s span. It’s honestly not worth it.

  28. I personally have no problem with the slight price increase. Was $36 a year, now will be $47 and change. I fully support streaming audio and if more people decided to pay instead of being cheap Pandora would be in a better position.

  29. This morning I noticed while Pandora was loading it said Pandora One. I haven’t clicked subscribe and I do not wish to. How can I unsubscribe before my free trial ends?

  30. Pandora said I skipped too many times and I’m finally fed up. I’m telling all my employees (430 plus) to delete there account And we will just use sound cloud for free. Sorry pandora but being greedy cost you.

  31. I have to laugh at your description of changing the annual rate from $36 per year to $47.88 per year (a 33% increase) as “Migrate to a discounted loyalty price” The new rate was automatically billed to my credit card with no warning of the price change.

  32. Hi Pandora,

    I used to be a One subscriber. I subscribed because even though you always had they were never obnoxious or so many that it seemed like it rivaled the radio. So i felt like i should subscribe because u guys were doing it right as a company. Putting customer’s needs first. In fact i always sung your praises and urged people to subscribe.

    The increase is quite frankly measly… But the reason I didn’t resubscribed is because you not only raised the price…. But you also put on so many obnoxious ads in an attempt to force non subscribers to subscribe because of that you lost sight of the reason people volunteered to subscribe in the first place.

    I may or may not subscribe in the future as now i have to weigh your service against competitors but as of now i can get more customized service for practically the same price elsewhere.

  33. I just got an email telling me my subscription can’t be renewed because my credit card info has not been updated, which is not true, because I updated it last October when I had to get the new credit card (thanks a lot, Home Depot) and I renewed my annual subscription in November with my new credit card. If they think I’m going to pay twice when I’m already paid until November they can think again. I just got on Pandora One and ads were popping up. WTF?!

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