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/

836 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. I have been a long time Pandora subscriber. I cannot stand that you have gone to monthly rates and the comment that you have not raised your prices since 2009 is not true. I don’t mind minimal pay increases but you’ve been steadily raising your prices since I started when it was free. And when I went on to renew I don’t have a renewal discount, it’s 4.99 a month. That’s with tax 5 something which comes out to 60+ a year. Going from 36.00 to 60.00 is almost a double increase.

    Unless I can get the 3.99 rate which I hate that you will not let me do one time billing for the year, I won’t be renewing

    I love Pandora, always have but it’s just getting to expensive and ridiculous with the price jumps. I told you a while back if you did this again that I would not stay and it looks like it didn’t matter what my thoughts were on the matter. I totally understand price increases, though my business rates have not changed in 14 years, but doubling your prices is crazy guys.

    • Lisa,
      You need to carefully read past the price increase info.

      If you already pay on an annual basis, then THERE IS NO INCREASE THE NEXT YEAR FOR YOU!

      You get another whole year at the same rate as before! So you probably don’t really need to worry about this until sometime in 2015.

      It is only then that you will move to the monthly price of $5.00 a month or $60.00 a year. Thus, our previous cost of $36.00 a year plus tax will go to $60.00 a year plus tax (paid $5.00 monthly). Although this is a pretty big increase, it is not doubling the cost.

      It effectively increases you cost by about $2.00 a month. Oh yeah, plus tax.

      That is about $24.00 a year…………….plus tax.

      About the price of 1.5 CD’s.

      Put it in perspective a bit.

      • Not true, my pandora annual account (since 2009) was automatically cancelled and a $4.99/month rate was automatically applied, not $3.99/ month as stipulated in the above blog.
        Above comment is false accprding to my experience less than a week ago. Need to contact Pandora for the correct rate or cancel ( Spotify here I come!)

      • Except that as others have pointed out, this hasn’t happened. my annual subscription that I’ve had for years now reverted to monthly, and I was immediately charged the $4.99 price. An inquiry to customer service basically said “we’re sorry for the inconvenience, but blah blah blah…”

        And yeah yeah, things get more expensive. As a result, customers go elsewhere. Oh, and spare me the snarky response. Looking through the threads and seeing the number of smart ass replies to people that are frustrated by these changes, you have way too much time on your hands.

    • Folks need to realize! Pandora is publicly traded now. Their not out to please the customer, their out to please the shareholders. Cut every corner, squeeze every dollar, anything to pad the pockets fatter to the NAZI facist shareholders. I’ve witnessed it through multiple mergers and acquisitions. The only thing free is salvation, everything else is just a lie. Cut the cord and unplug yourself from the matrix

      • Nazi fascist shareholders? Interesting look at it… Misguided price increase, maybe, but I don’t know about Nazi fascist shareholders…

  2. I just canceled my renewal [up on 9/5/2014]. I’m okay raising prices. I may not like it, but it’s business and that happens in business. There are plenty of services that charge monthly with no annual subscription option. I do not participate in monthly billing [except utilities]. Pandora is OKAY but is not perfect, and without the option to give money the way I want to [it is my money until I give it to you], I am uncomfortable continuing the service. I already pay for Music Match with iTunes and that comes with Radio. It’s also OKAY, but good enough in this case.
    As an aside: I tried de-selecting auto-renew in the billing section of my account and it asked for confirmation, then reloaded the page with auto-renew still enabled. Felt trapped for a minute until I realized you can delete your credit card information: that did it. So if you are looking to end your auto-renew and are having trouble, delete your card information [same page as the renew box].

  3. I’ve been a loyal subscriber at the annual rate $36.00/yr. As I read this pricing change, I could have paid $3.99/mo if I had paid monthly. Since I had paid annually, I have to pay $4.99/mo. I feel cheated. Why not offer $3.99/mo to me. A bump from $36/yr to $48 year is far more palatable than a bump to $60/yr. Now I have to shop around.

    • Don’t know what the big deal is.

      Everything goes up in price, including the CD’s which we don’t have to buy in the same abundance as we did before. And the gas. And schooling. And everything else. I would only work and buy nothing if I refused to pay any sort of increase for any product I ever purchased.

      Net, the subscription has saved me more than it has ever cost, even factoring in the change.

      • Which won’t even happen for another year past your renewal date, if you are already an annual subscriber.

        And no, I don’t work for Pandora.

      • One thing that hasn’t gone up in amount is the yearly safe. Companies are asking more from a.work.force that is substantially under paidml. I am a.prfesional and yet my wages aare not keeping pace woth ever rising costs. Soon I will.our my money into a better atnennas and return to radio. Subscribing for everything that once was free is nuts. And Pandora is far from.essential.

  4. What they said. I hate monthly payments that aren’t necessary. Bring back the annual payment – even if you raise the price – and I’ll join again.

  5. It’s simple, folks. Pandora makes more money from advertising than they do from subscriptions, so they probably figure running folks off the premium service could actually help them make more money — the majority of their listeners are on the free platform with advertising.

    There’s only one problem to the logic: The folks who paid for the premium service did so because they want music without any advertising (duh). So not only are we going to bail from the premium service, we’re not going to tune in to the free service, either.

    Good luck, Pandora. We hardly knew you.

  6. I too am not happy about your monthly subscription only option. So much so I will be canceling my monthly deduction option from paypal and purchasing a 6 month “gift” subscription to avoid the annoying monthly deduction. Please bring yearly subscriptions back please!!

  7. I WOULD GLADLY PAY $5/MO FOR A SUBSCRIPTION IF THERE WERE A FEW MORE OPTIONS. I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO HAVE THE OPTION OF MUSIC FROM SPECIFIC DECADES. 1960’S RADIO FOR EXAMPLE AND BE ABLE TO LISTEN TO A WIDE VARIETY OF MUSIC FROM THAT DECADE OR ANY OTHER DECADE. I WOULD LIKE TO TYPE IN A SPECIFIC MUSICAL AND HEAR THE SONGS FROM THAT MUSICAL. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE OPTION OF MOVIE THEME SONGS AS WELL. I HAVE TRIED TYPING IN IN SPECIFIC THEME SONGS FROM VARIOUS MOVIES, BUT I GUESS YOUR COMPUTER ISN’T SET UP TO RECOGNIZE THAT. EG: HARRY POTTER MUSIC. I WOULD PAY $10 A MONTH TO HAVE THESE OPTIONS!

  8. Disappointed in Pandora’s practices. A loyal listener for 3 years with 2 accounts in our household. Now I get a renewal option that indicates monthly with no information that the annual membership is discontinued. I decline thinking I can get the annual membership another way only to find out its discontinued & now my so called “LOYALTY” pricing is gone. So much for loyalty. Time to checkout other services.

      • I’ve been a long time customer also and I am not impressed with these changes. I want to switch to another provider. Any suggestions?

      • Ahhh! I have to check my credit card every month!! Yes!! Every month!! Nooooo!!! Oh, the pain! Oh, the inhumanity of it all. Every month. Not once a year. Not once every half year….Not once event every quarter….No!!!..Every month!! Yes..Every month!! How can you do this to me?!?!…No..No….No…Please don’t do this to me!!…All I want in life is to pay it once a year….Then I will be happy…So happy….Once a year and I can forget about it for a whole year…I will never have to check my credit card…Please don’t do this….We are begging you….Please, please, please let us pay once a year….You can do this, can’t you? We are suffering out here….Help, somebody help me! Help me!

      • It is not about the amount being paid, per se. For some people $36 vs $60 is an issue. But for others It will not matter to them. The majority of the people I read dislike the monthly vs yearly payment scheme.

        Now lets suppose instead of paying with money we pay by being slapped in the face. Some people will prefer being slapped once each month. Others might choose to be slapped 12 times, and have the year to forget about it and not have to worry about it until next year. You argue that being slapped every month is no big deal, You say that it is not like they are you killing you. It’s just a slap. No, but with one more monthly payment I have one more bill to worry about, one more ball that I have to keep in the air. Part of the pleasure of listening is knowing there is nothing I have to worry about.

        Why is company doing this? Is it so that they can be bought by another company which already has that schedule? Or so they can buy such a company. Or so that all of these companies can share the same accounting agency?

        Just because every other service is doing it, is that sufficient justification? Does the monthly cash flow appear more stable for quarterly reports? Therefore investors are going to value it as a better company. How dumb is that? After all money the only things that exists in the USA is “the market”. Forget the service you provide or the desires of your clients. Is it just the music, or is there something more going on? The bean counters are only interested in the money. We have become a nation of bean counters and bean eaters. Forget artists, and their audience, just shut up and eat your beans.

  9. I’ll add my voice to the group. I could have tolerated a price increase, I understand the occasional need for those. I don’t like the removal of our option to pay annually. I’m not interested in monthly $3.99 charge hitting my credit card every month.

    Email me if you change your mind about this, but my auto renewal is now turned off and on September 11th we’ll be going our separate ways.

  10. I have being with Pandora now for two years, don’t mind if you have to raise the cost of it. Taking away the yearly option does it for me. It was nice, but it had to end. Let me know when you go back to accept one payment and if you are going to honor me the $3.99, I will come back until then. It was a good run.

  11. So sad – I found this page because I could not find the yearly subscription option that I am use to and like so much. Now I see it was an intentional change and the price is almost doubled. So sad because now I will start to shop around to see what’s new in this area (until now, I did not have to worry about it because I was happy with the arrangement).

  12. Sorry Pandora, no longer have any interest on your service. they swap me to monthly. After years of loyalty probably i will try the other new services.

  13. Just cancelled my Pandora One renewal effective 8/24/14, the no yearly option was my reason not the price increase. I just don’t want another monthly bill in addition to the trash and sewer. Too many options out there, you may want to rethink your business model.

  14. I’ve been a paying annual subscriber for a few years. I wasn’t particularly happy when Pandora ditched the annual plan and forced everyone to pay monthly, but I could tolerate the increase with the loyalty discount of $3.99/mo.

    The credit card I use for my subscription payment was recently hacked and I was issued a new card last week. Because I hadn’t updated my payment info before Pandora attempted to charge against it, my monthly subscription rate jumped to $4.99/mo. Rather than offering me the chance to update my payment info (sorry – I have many accounts to update, not just Pandora), I have been pushed out of the loyalty discount.

    Bad move, Pandora… maybe it’s time we parted ways. Since I have nothing to lose by updating my payment info, I won’t be renewing. This will give me a chance to check out other music services, both free and subscription-based.

  15. My subscription stopped recently for whatever reason and I apparently do not have this discount either. I’m honestly pretty upset as I’ve been subscribing for probably a year and a half. Where’s my loyalty discount too?

  16. You have sealed the deal with making this a monthly subscription instead of annual… I’m out. Why would anyone want a bill each month when they can afford to pay for the year? Raise the prices if you must, that is fine. Monthly payments is ridiculous!

  17. I understand having to raise your prices. I am a business person myself. However, I would like the option of paying a year at a time. A discounted rate (10% perhaps) would be reasonable for a person you pays all at once. Pandora gets the benefit of a revenue stream that it can guarantee.

    The individual gets the benefit of a slight discount and not having to worry about monthly bills coming in. I am in the process of removing all my credit cards to better control my expenses. Going to a pre-paid card for all my Credit Card purchases.

    Although I could make sure to have enough in this account for this purchase, Pandora is a service I know I will have for at least a year. I would like to pay all at once.

    Please consider a monthly purchase option. 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 1 year. Perhaps some type of discount as you purchase more.

    Please understand this is not about your price increase. I may not like to pay more considering my budget is getting tighter, but I understand your cost of business is getting higher and those costs need to be passed on.

    I just want the option to pay for more than one month at a time.

    Thank You.

  18. Doing away with annual subscription and a price increase without giving me any options or notifications means Pandora gets cancelled and I move to Spotify.

  19. Charge what you need to charge to make ends meet and generate revenue. I get that prices will go up after a half a decade. Just give me an option to pay for an entire year at once.

  20. I was a yearly subscription Pandora customer in the past and let my account lapse recently. I just went to sign up for the yearly subscription again and found that instead of finding the $36/yr plan, or a yearly plan slightly higher, I am greeted with one option of $5/mo. That’s insane!! From $36 to $60 for a year and no yearly billing option?? Time to start looking at the other companies that offer similar service (there are plenty). See ya later Pandora!!

  21. Well I have to say that Pandora has been the best next gen music player since Yahoo bought out MusicMatch Jukebox and TOASTED IT….I won’t go there but, Pandora actually saved my arse from prison for hurting someone at the big Y.
    That said. I can do the $3.99 a month from now on. BUT I will not do it with the “Are you still listening” thingy. It’s total bullshit to pay the new price and have to deal with that annoying little piece of craploader.
    Enough said. It’s been a hell of a good run Pandora but I think I will be looking for a next gen music fix.
    Bye Bye

  22. I have no problem with the price changes. I give away more money to people on the street than what the subscription costs. $3.99 is the equivalent of buying the Pandora team a combo meal once a month to say thanks. If you think it’s ridiculous to trade a burger for a constant stream of music, you shouldn’t benefit from the service. I’ve been a Pandora user since 2006. The amount of joy and exposure that an endless amount of music of any form I choose has brought to my life over the course of eight years is well worth remaining loyal to the project. Thanks, guys.

  23. When I have the free Pandora App on my ipod playing, it shuts off after a couple of hours. If I upgrade and pay for Pandora will it stop that?

    Thanks to anyone who can answer this.

  24. I see a trend here: annual subscription. If Pandora can’t offer annual (long term subscriptions) for some reason, the least they could do is acknowledge a formerly loyal customer base. People seem to be “okay” with the price hike. It’s the nature of doing business. What they can’t deal with is the forced monthly subscription model. It may be a small amount each month, but it’s a nuisance for some. Please acknowledge the cries for alternate payment methods.

  25. I, too, will be letting my subscription lapse and looking for another service. I understand the point of rising costs but I see little point in converting a yearly subscription to a monthly subscription. With so many other options available to customers, you’d think Pandora would be very careful about alienating its customer base.

    • Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!! I want an account. I want to pay annually. I can’t????
      Love Pandora. Hate monthly payments. What is best alternative?

  26. Since the blog and news post I have been looking for an alternate music listening service. I have been a paid subscriber to Pandora since the beginning. Because I support paying for listening to music in this format. Personally, $48 bucks is too much in my opinion, but eh, it’s not my threshold of running. $4.99 is for sure. And I would blame that on more than Pandora. But more importantly, a monthly fee with no annual option is a big PIA. But as a COO, I find it obvious this move has more to it than the marketing release has it labeled as, monthly payments? Like an electric bill? LOL Have you looked at yourselves on instagram lately? How much money are you blowing in the name of “marketing”? 6 months ending in 2013 you spent $82K in marketing. 2014 ending in June, $128K. Subscriber revenue in 6 months ending in June 2013 was $43K of $268K total. 2014…$95K of $413K. WAIT, all numbers are in the 1,000’s. haha It’s obvious subscriptions isn’t where it’s at. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. For whatever licensing, contractual ordeals that are keeping Pandora from offering annual services, I hope it was worth it. I don’t listen to multiple services. I am standing by for an annual option with a new service. Good luck Pandora, great idea with so many, and I mean MANY cool ideas still available for a kick ass product. Hopefully you are smart enough to lure us back with past customer discounts…for annual subscriptions. I hope you don’t get gobbled by newer, more forward thinking youngins. To each their own.

    PS – Fix your damn payment settings so if auto renew is off you stop charging monthly.

  27. Just too many other options out there to pay for this..I remember when it was $1 a month. I already had Amazon Prime so with Prime music now on my kindle I’m good.

    Regardless, with the price increase they’re still make handfuls of money even if some will quit. Why would they care?

  28. I’ve been listening since the very start, back when jewelry was all you’d find when searching for the site and ads were visual only. I’ve been one since the start of that also. I paid yearly. Got my renewal notice and all it offered was monthly through iTunes. Did not join cause wanted do yearly with card once and go back to listening and forget about it. No yearly rate? That is annoying, monthly bills are annoying. 5 bucks is not expensive, I understand the increase, the variety is great but things have changed and pandora is no longer the only one anymore. I may or may not be back depending on what I find, and my (now $60) money may not effect pandora at all but thought I’d mention my thoughts on it. So the person who stood up in the conference room and said “nobody cares about paying monthly vs yearly” should have his/her reserved car space revoked.

  29. I too am done with Pandora as there are too many options out there. I enjoyed paying an annual fee. By Pandora I’m out.

  30. I’ve had pandora one on my old phone but I ran over it but I got a replacement phone what do I need to do

  31. I listen to Pandora One on my Kindle Fire at night. Is there any way you could add a sleep timer to the tools? I’m sure that I’m not the only one that would appreciate this. Thank you.

  32. Price increase – Either pandora increases prices or they degrade service to cover increased costs. I would rather they increase prices.

    Annual vs Monthly – 21st century, we don’t receive paper bills from them, need write out a check, buy an envelope and stamps, and take 3 min to go to the mailbox on the corner. It will show on our credit cards monthly and we pay the extra amount while we pay our CCs anyway. The only loss of benefit is a discount for annual subscriptions. If they don’t want the money all at once, then I’m fine without having the option.

    Why I’m staying – the amount of stations I have trained to my preferences and the variety I still receive. Amazon is ok, but I like not knowing what’s next most of the time and don’t want to think about it while driving or “in bed”.

  33. I to am very dissatisfied with this month to month crap who cares bout the price increase i get that, but why take away our convenience of our yearly script, i love Pandora but i will not pay monthly fee seems crazy but its so much easier to pay once a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Just found out the elimination of yearly subscriptions. I hope it will change before my subscription requires renewal. If I am switched to monthly billing I will have to rethink about continuing and look around for a yearly billing service. It is not the rate change but the pain of worrying about the monthly impact. I have a monthly billing for my medical insurance. But every year I send a check for the amount of the yearly cost. Then each month the monthly amount is removed from my balance. How about a similar arrangement? You could still charge a monthly value but process the yearly payment and then reduce the balance by the cost each month!
    Just an idea. And you would have that extra money as a fall back. I don’t like the idea of a company coming in and sticking their hands in my pocket at anytime that they think is appropriate, and taking out whatever they want. It is a privacy issue and a loss of control. I have no choice on electric, gas and water. But the music service is not a utility, It is something that I choose and is not required.

  35. If you’re going to raise the price, at least allow the option to fully control our listening experience, and not be forced to listen to some algorithm for our music when we just want to listen to a few specific songs or artists. Because I can’t look up a song and listen to it or add it to a playlist, I won’t be renewing.

  36. Ah… the Netflix Syndrome. At some point some bean counter came up with a crackhead formula. They will see how many subscribers will drop and then will do a last minute scramble to bring back the annual payment. It will take them years to recover and people will unfortunately lose their jobs due to reduced revenues. Hopefully the CEO will be the first to go….

    • I totally agree with you on the whole comment i wish there was a way to save this service….But i expect to Pandora to just be a thing of the past even though they kinda spearheaded these kind of services.

  37. I just never renewed, I was a pandora one customer for quite some time, but their service is just not worth a monthly fee to me. At least at $36 a year you pay once and forget about it. it was like going to the bar and having a few too many, you forgot where the money went and it didn’t matter after a week. but now its every month its just a hassle and not worth it to me. I went back to just creating playlists on my own and playing them on google play.

  38. Just heard an ad and noticed my subscription was up…….Renewal—–$36 to $60 without annual billing? Sorry Charlie, bubbye………..

    Pandora already repeats the same songs every time I get in my car and turn it on…..I have had to resort to “thumbs down” all the ones I have heard a hundred times just to get some new music to come on. I have been a subscriber since it was FREE…..No way to get the $3.99 subscription for me, so moving on. $30 more and you can get an Amazon Prime account with TONS MORE benefits!

  39. I absolutely love pandora. Been a pandora one customer since 2011.
    $60/yr is kinda ridiculous to pay for radio. It’s not like buying a CD because I cannot chose a song to listen to at any point. I’m stuck with listening to the song pandora chooses for me. So I’m sorry it’s glorified radio.
    So now I’m going with iTunes Radio that’s 100% free and no ads.
    Was nice while the reasonable pricing lasted.

  40. So i absolutely love Pandora i sleep with it i listen to it on the way to work i shower with it i play games with it on as background music and listen to it at work. For me it is a real means of a stress release… But with no option to use an annual contract is pretty dumb could the existing members be grandfathered in at least? With much regret i will be no paying for this amazing service anymore if i do not receive a response in my email answering these questions. I think this is a really a good service and i would hate to see this business go under jsut for not having the option to do a year subscriptions.

  41. One word – JANGO. It operates just like Pandora and is free and has many great features that Pandora does not. Its an easy switch for us loyal customers that were not valued when new management came in and switched the pricing. I too am cancelling my account immediately. Don’t wait for the renewal.

  42. Meh… Bad move from Pandora. Didn’t care to pay the annual fee, but a raise AND no annual renewal option? I’m cool with the free stuff, and I’m sure I’ll look for other options as well. Bye!

  43. I’m using iHeart radio now. One ad, like Wal-Mart, at the beginning of a channel and that’s it. Create custom channels as well..And of course free. You shouldn’t have to pay for music. Now any more, just too many options.

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