Pandora One Subscription Changes

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/

903 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

    • Yep, me neither. I loathe monthly billings — It’s hard enough keeping up with monthly cable and utilities; I’ve never gotten on-board with automated payments for the simple fact that I’ve been screwed too many times in the past by any and all of the financial institutions I’m forced to siphon my paychecks through and past transgressions with respect to “credit” don’t afford me that luxury…

      The price increase is fine with me too, but monthly — It’s not worth the potential $35+ fee if you happen to bill me when I’m short; It doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

      not happy with this news in the least…

  1. I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning. This increase is fair. The price of Pandora One hasn’t gone up in 5 years. The increase is $1 per month, that’s not bad. And Pandora is a great service. It’s worth supporting, and surely worth an extra $1 a month.

    • Generally I would agree, costs go up. I get that. But in august Pandora increased value for free users by doing away with the 40 hour a month limit. Now Pandora is lowering the paid value by increasing the price and doing away with an annual plan. I get that costs go up, but it’s a hard sell when you increase the value of your product for non paying customers and decrease the value for paying customers.

  2. We met a coupe of years ago. After a few days, I thought you were worth $36.00 per year. I know I could have just used you without paying, but I’m not that kind of person.
    And you’ve stayed true all along.
    Reliable.
    Predictable.
    So, go ahead.
    I’ll gladly pay another dollar a month when my renewal comes up.
    You’re worth it.

    • @Jeff Thank you for your continued support, Jeff! We appreciate hearing from you. Happy listening :) -Alyssa

  3. Your proposal is fair I enjoy the new timer for night music so I can dose off without worry . Being a senior it is hard to fall off to sleep.

  4. As an annual subscriber this “loyalty price” is an increase of almost 33% to me. Paid subscribers make up 1 1/3 % of your total listeners, I fail to see how gouging the minority who actually pay to not have adds will make up for the stated operating costs increasing. I also find it hard to believe that you are not also recovering these cost increases in ad revenue to non paid subscribers.
    I previously would not hesitate to suggest Pandora One to people, now I will be seriously reconsidering renewing my subscription when the time comes.

    • This. In august you increased value for free users by doing away with the 40 hour a month limit. Now you are lowering the paid value by increasing the price and doing away with an annual plan. I get that costs go up, but it’s a hard sell when you increase the value of your product for non paying customers and decrease the value for paying customers.

  5. “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.”
    “U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should pay the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers the same 1.85 percent rate through 2015 that it has for years. Pandora had sought a rate of as low as 1.7 percent.”

    So the only raise in cost is because you are making more money from more paying customers, and because you lost to LOWER those same costs you have been paying for YEARS, now you have to change it. Its called being GREEDY.

    The Royalty payments you make are based on the number of customers you have listening. As you make more money you have to pay more, and doing that buy charging your customers more, makes me say when my sub is up I will be deleting Pandora period. Too many cheaper ones out there that do the same thing without the extra greed.
    Selling General & Admin Expenses, Total 23.8 50.4 150.4 261.8
    That is where your loss is, get better accountants.

    Get rid of some free listeners and go to a cheaper sub cost, no need for ads without the freeloaders.

  6. Will there be no way to pre-pay for more than one month of service or will we have to make an annoying monthly payment every month? Perhaps allow customers to “deposit” funds to cover their monthly charges?
    I would think requiring lots of small payments instead of allowing one larger one at less frequent intervals would increase your credit card processing costs.

  7. I have had pandora one for over a year. Two days ago my app( when I would press the pandora icon) says upgrade to pandora one and isn’t allowing me to ” upgrade”. Mean while I just received my reminder that my bill for 3.99 will be automatically withdrawn from my credit card on April 1st. What the hell is going on!

  8. At this point, I’m sorry Pandora, but it’s time to say goodbye and pay $5 a month for not only radio style listening but also specific album/song listening on other services with millions more artists. Thanks for the good music all these years!

  9. I’m sorry to see the end of the annual plan and the price increase. After many years of subscribing, I’ll be letting my account lapse.

  10. In all honesty perfomers or singers are way overpaid. Celine Dion for instance her concert tickets are about $90.00 ticket that was in the the 90’s. Since you have no control over the amount performers get paid, I understand the price increase. Thanks for the info, but it is a modest sum to pay.

  11. Hi guys,

    I don’t want a monthly plan. I want an annual plan — charge me a bit more, fine. But if you force me into a monthly plan, I’m going to ditch and start using iTunes Radio — which incidentally is cheaper at $25/year with iTunes Match (which I already have).

  12. So at this time the only people that you are penalizing is the ultimate customer, the annual subscriber. Sad Very Sad!

  13. While I understand that the greed of the record labels is driving up your cost, doing away with the annual subscription is a bad move. Please reconsider this, as I really don’t want to have to start looking for another source for music.

  14. Since I’ll now be paying $12 more per year, even with the “loyalty” discount, could you at least add actionable notifications to Pandora on Android? I’ve been waiting for this feature to come to the app for years.

  15. I’ve been a user since the beginning and a paid subscriber for the past 3 years. So essentially, as an annual subscriber, my fee is rising from $3.00 per month to $4.00 per month and I don’t have the option of paying once per year. Makes no sense to me *at all*. I’m not trying to sound like a dick but I will be switching to Spotify for my music needs.

    • With the removal of the 40 hour limit for free users raising the price on One does not help the value proposition. I don’t want to sound like a dick either, and I’ve been happy to spend 36 bucks a year for many years. But raising the price on me and lowering my value by offering more for free, not a good business plan guys.

  16. I was just reading an article that asserts the streaming services are already too expensive. Based on historical data of how much people spent on music in the past.

    http://recode.net/2014/03/18/the-price-of-music/

    I’m an annual subscriber. I prefer being an annual subscriber. I’ve been an annual subscriber since the beginning of annual subscriptions at Pandora. I like annual subscriptions to services I use. You get an upfront cash infusion, I get a discount on service. Everybody wins. I don’t want to be a monthly subscriber, and I don’t want the loyalty rate for having been an annual subscriber. I don’t use pandora that much, It’s already been a struggle to justify reupping every year for something I only used a few hours a month when there was a free version. But I did it because I liked supporting what Pandora was doing, and I wanted to support them. With the rate increase, and my limited usage. Plus iTunes has been blimping match for just 24.99 a year. That’s radio plus all my purchased music in the cloud. I just don’t see the benefit to Pandora One if you are raising rates and dropping the annual. You say this only affects a small portion of your users, that’s true but we are the portion that has been paying you real cash money. Not the best group to alienate.

    My suggestion, at a minimum don’t do away with annual subscriptions.

    • I am a loyal annual subscriber nearly since day one. I agree with Alex and am really p1$$ed. Pandora will be paying the same royalties thru 2015 and they are going up in May 2014? They pay $1.85 in royalties but wanted a lower rate about $1.70 which the courts denied. That is a difference in the neighborhood of 8%. They are giving us a break by going up 33% and dumping our paid in advance yearly subscription??? This smells of fish and greed.

      There are to many other options including the fact more and more of what I like I have purchased thru Amazon and its sitting on the free cloud they provide waiting for me wherever I go and I am not bother by skips and thumbs downs in order to maintain the content I really defined I wanted to listen to. Pandora was a good affordable business model years ago. Now it is just a business that espouses its care for customer’s desires and artist’s best interest and that veil has just been lifted and the true color is shining through and it is all about GREEN. Pandora IS NOT worth $47.88 a year.
      This annual subscriber WILL NOT be renewing.

      GET GREEDY SIMPLE… GOODBYE. (Along with 11 other family members and close friends with subscriptions who are like minded and will soon be ex-Pandora patrons)

  17. Why, exactly, would you discontinue the annual subscription? I can live with a reasonable price increase but have had the subscription for several years. Yes the artists and labels are greedy as hell but that should be of no consequence to the annual plan. I may need to explore other options altogether.

  18. Let me see if I’m reading this right. Of over 250 million registered users, only 3.3 million of us are paying for your service. Now you’ve decided to hike our rate. That happens. I’m with you so far, the great evil is charging you more, you need to make money, that’s cool. I guess I’ll pay you $48 a year now, right? Still a deal, that’s great. Wait… You’re also discontinuing the annual subscription. Why could that be? Are you trying to make it easier for us to go to another service? Are you planning rate hikes more often than every 12 months? Do you just not like us? Seems like the people that are willing to pay for a year of your service up front would be the group you would be trying to keep. It’s not about the money. Charge me $50 a year and I’ll say it’s a bargain for keeping me sane at work. I’m not saying this will make me unsub, but I know that every month when I see Pandora Internet Radio – $3.99 on my credit card statement I’ll wonder if it’s worth it, and that’s now going to happen 12 times more often.

    • Well said! I was thinking of subscribing to Pandora; I didn’t listen to it very often as a free user, but thought it might be worth it if I used it regularly. I like to support the services I use, like Wikipedia & several podcasts. The price increase and dropping the yearly subscription didn’t look like improvements were coming up the road for the users, so I’m looking at Apple’s service instead…

  19. Apple’s ad-free radio service is $24.99/year, Pandora will effectively be $47.88/year for existing customers, and $59.88/year for new customers.

    Guess who gets my business going forward?

    • It’s good that you found something for a better price and that works for your needs, but Pandora is available for smart tvs, cars, Sonos speakers and many other devices. You really need to have an Apple device for iTunes Radio, something that also comes with a price.

    • It’s good that you found something for a better price and that works for your needs, but Pandora is available for smart tvs, cars, Sonos speakers and many other devices. You really need to have an Apple device for iTunes Radio, something that also comes with a price.

  20. I really hate that you are doing away with annual subscriptions. I like the option of paying once and not having to worry about my subscription for a whole year. I probably won’t quit because my favorite listening device is a Logitech Squeezebox that is not being updated with new apps. I am going to investigate other services on my phone, tablet, and wireless blu-ray player. If you really cared about your customers you would start streaming at higher bit rates.

  21. I am one of your 3.3 million subscribers.

    The price increase is acceptable, but pushing it.

    The switch to a monthly charge is not acceptable.

    If you force my account to monthly payments, even automated ones, I will cancel.

  22. Please increase the sound quality then. I bought a portable amplifier simply because the audio quality from Pandora is piss poor … but otherwise it’s the best music steaming service. But even with the amplifier, it’s quality is worse the say Spotify.

  23. @MattKabrown @Don @KH @Peter @Tom @AlexK @Txatty @Curtis We appreciate hearing from each of you. Please send your feedback and suggestions to Listener Support so it can be noted for our Product Team to review: http://pdora.co/writeus. -Alyssa

  24. I have been wondering when this shoe was going to drop. After reading the comments, I have a couple comments of my own. First of all, it feels almost dirty that the people (like myself) who have stood by and paid the annual subscription price and who have remained loyal and stand up subscribers are going to get the shaft. We, the paying customers, have consistently taken the high road and gave you (Pandora) OUR money. We didn’t take for free, we’ve paid our way. It’s unfortunate.

    Secondly, look at these comments. More negative than positive. Am I the only one who finds it pathetic that Pandora responds to the comments that are positive? I mean, Pandora, you’ve made this comment section into a two way forum, but you only address the commenters who post positive comments? What road is Pandora going down? It’s not the kind of road I plan on being a passenger for. Once my subscription ends, so too will my relationship with Pandora. $144 spent and I can’t believe it’s the end!

    Maybe the people at Pandora should have grandfathered the current subscription members and changed the pricing scheme with $4.99/month for new members and $3.99/month deal for the current free users.

    Lastly, because my comments aren’t positive, I am really positive I doubt Pandora will reach out to me…

    Doug B.
    Paid subscriber since the beginning
    (2009-2014)
    RIP

    • I have noticed that too. Even several pages into it. Pandora is ignoring the comments that should count and praising all the positive comments.

      Been with them since the beginning but now it is time to part my way and find a new provider.

  25. I’ve been an annual subscriber for the last two years, and I have regularly recommended Pandora One to my friends. I originally planned to renew at $3.99, since it’s only a buck more and I have enjoyed the service, have my stations dialed in, etc. But after reading Pandora’s notice about the fee increases, I find the double-speak about “loyalty rates” offensive enough that I won’t renew my subscription at all. Don’t tell me I am getting a “loyalty rate” when the “reward” is a 33% increase; meanwhile, current monthly subscribers are rewarded with a 0% increase. I’m also offended at the blather about how this only effects a “small percentage of our listeners.” You have two types of listeners: the non-paying kind and the paying kind (aka “customers,” the 2%ers, the loyal ones who pay you actual money). Your fee increases may only effect 2% of your listeners, but it effects 100% of your customers – were we supposed to consider ourselves lucky that fees haven’t increased for the freeloaders? Are the freeloaders supposed to pat us on the back and say “Yeah, cheer up, it could be worse – if more of us were paying subscribers, that is”? Whoever is writing your copy should be fired. In closing, I would complain about abandoning the yearly subscription option, but what do I care?

  26. So the customer who sees the biggest impact is the loyal annual subscriber… why? If you are trying to encourage “loyalty”, that’s a two-way street. I’ve been supporting Pandora for several years as an annual subscriber (have lost count actually). Seems like Pandora decided that the free listeners should be rewarded by removing the 40 hour limit (i.e., getting more for free), existing monthly subscribers should see no change, and the oldest and most loyal customer base should be selected to subsidize this (i.e., paying more for the same service). I am okay with the actual price hike, and still feel that the value is there, but I’m not feeling any “loyalty” coming back my way with the selective focus on increasing the rate for the most loyal customers while giving more away to non-paying listeners (not to mention the inane logic of forcing me to a monthly subscription). I will start to examine other options.

  27. As others have said, I hate having a monthly charge. Just seeing it appear on my credit card bill every month will make me think I should cancel. A friend of mine with Pandora One said he’ll be cancelling in the next few days. Plus, if we’re paying for more, why isn’t the music quality higher by now? It’s no longer 2009, the high quality streaming music should be 320 kbps (or higher).

    I’ve been a paid subscriber since the beginning. And I love the concept of Pandora. But it seems they are giving very little benefit to us paid subscribers anymore, at least compared to what it used to be.

  28. If I have a paid Subscription, then why all the aggressive ads that open new windows and crash my computer making your service unusable. I have a Laptop that only runs pandora in my studio, but for the last year it seems that it is bogged down with adware from your site. I don’t appreciate meet Russian brides ads or download software ads. I may as well go back to listening to the radio for free. And yes these are from your service, computer has been completely wiped cleaned and restarted twice to make sure. Only website ever visited on purpose is Pandora.com yet I have 15 window open after 1 day of listening. Can you explain this?

    Very Disappointed and no you want more money not going to happen with this crap going on.

  29. I have to agree with the going sentiment here. I LOVE Pandora and during the year I just spent going through chemotherapy and then open-heart surgery, it just about literally saved my life. I am OK with you raising the price. That makes perfect sense. But why do you insist on going to a monthly model? I would be willing, as a multi-year subscriber, to pay a single $60 annual fee for this great service. But getting dinged every single month is going to give me 12 reasons a year to find some other service to rely on.

  30. Although I understand why you are increasing prices, you should be able to offer the ability to skip more than 6 songs per hour..

  31. I already sent a note to support, but I wanted to echo the sentiments expressed here and say that I’m OK with a price increase but I’m not willing to tolerate a monthly fee option from you, Pandora. Even Spotify lets you pay annually, or in three-month packets (which is what I do). The person or persons in charge of your business modeling aren’t paying attention to the market. You should bring that up in the next meeting and ask them why.

  32. I understand the reasoning for the price increase and I’m not complaining about that. However I’m really not fond of the lack of a annual renewal option. Couldn’t you just increase the price for that? I’d gladly pay $45-50 a year for that option.

    • As a Follow up to this, it might be nice to be able to “gift” a annual subscription like you can with Netflix and other subscription services. This would expand your user base, make a great gift, and tap the market of people who may be on the fence about going from free to a paid user.

  33. I have an annual subscription that I enjoy. Please Bering back the annual membership. Lu do not like re occurring monthly payments and will not renew if that is the only option available. Thank you

  34. As a subscriber, I have no issues with that at all, However, on a totally unrealated note, I do have a BURNING question. :-) Is there anyway I can listen to just ONE artist on Pandora?

  35. Hard for me to understand how doing away with yearly subscriptions makes good business sense. Besides alienating your most desirable customers, 12 monthly credit card transactions have to be more trouble/expense for you than 1 annual transaction, not to mention that you’ve got prepaid cash in-hand months ahead of time with an annual subscription! Hit us with a price increase, but please don’t do away with yearly subscriptions! I doubt I will continue as a customer once I start seeing that monthly $3.99 reminder on my credit card bill.

  36. I am really going to miss you guys at the end of my subscription. The last time you made a major change you lost me for two years, I even named my new music service “F*CK PANDORA” but eventually caved and came back, If you go to a monthly fee you will definitely lose many many customers including my self……………. You may want to rethink your decision and stick with an annual fee and jack that up a few dollars but close to $88 a year for old subscribers and close to $110 a year for new subsribers will ultimately kill Pandora. So I am sorry that you won’t be in business much longer .
    So if the free pandora sticks around I may listen to it, but last time I did not due to the anger of you guys doubling the price then, Please feel free to pass this on to management as you will probably be losing your job soon if you don’t.
    GOOD LUCK
    Marc X Silver

  37. I understand the need to increase revenue and I will continue to be a subscriber. Pandora provides a great service and I subscribed because I thought it was the right thing to do, rather than “take something for nothing”. I hope you will listen to your customers and keep an annual subscription option.

  38. After listening to Pandora and the variety of music available, we cancelled our home XM/Sirius Radio subscription and upgraded our free subscription to Pandora One.

    As for the month to month subscription or a yearly subscription, if you are willing to handle the overhead of a month to month, that provides more value to me since when I cancelled my Xm/Sirius subscription, I got no refund and they will just let it run out to its expiration date.

  39. I have no problem with pay increase. I have problem with monthly charge. I want a annual payment – once a year to be done with it. I hope that you’ll reconsider. I have no plans to renew subscription at this time. I love Pandora and loved that I paid annually and was done with it. Please reconsider the annual option.

  40. Thank you for the great service thus far. However, I’m not interested in monthly payments and will continue your service only if you bring back the annual subscription.

  41. The idea of this is to not piss off the majority and that’s not the paying subscribers. If they post more adds there are more people that will complain. Better to have 3 million people complaining then 250 million. Not that all 250 million accounts are active. I was gonna renew a yearly but I’m thinking about checking out some other options. If I can’t find some thing else I like I might keep pandora. Does anyone have sugjestions on a better app?

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