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.


The Pandora Team

818 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. Oh my goodness. People seriously are expecting everything to be free, and start to complain and rant about paying the price of 2 cd’s YEARLY for unlimited music that will fit your taste. Man, we’re talking about half a big mac A MONTH for unlimited music.
    All the complaints are crazy. Good luck everybody with your local radio stations and stupid DJ’s talking over all the music. In the meantime, I will be enjoying my cheap, 5 bucks a month Pandora stations.

    See ya!

    • @Mr C

      Free is always better than not many other options you can get for free..I’m talking with no ads once the music starts. Pandora was once the man not any more..

    • I’ve been a loyal Spotify subscriber for about since they started up, paying on a yearly basis. Now I’m getting a price hike from $36/year to $48/year. Considering I only pay $5/month for all the music I want on Spotify for desktop and on my phone (I’m a student, so I get their student discount), I have no reason to keep paying nearly the same amount for Pandora, which doesn’t let me play whatever I like. It was worth $36/year to me to have Pandora automatically find music for me, even though I paid for Spotify for the majority of my listening. It’s not worth $48/year.

      • you are correct. they are going to die. I just told them to eat one if they cannot charge me $36 a year. They can charge new people more, but not their original clientel. Thats just low. Reminds me of XM and I left them also! Now Amazon Music and Itunes Radio will be my main sources of streaming music. goodbye pandora…call me when you are 3 bucks a month again. I cant afford a 33% or 40% rate hike! What are you kidding me?

    • I Agree 100% Mr. C!

      You whiners have a choice of keeping Pandora or dumping them – But don’t start whining over a dollar or two for unlimited music without all of the droning commercials. Seriously!

      Keep up the good work Pandora!

      • Mindy, you don’t get it. Your world your life your choice. Mine is not Pandora. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Pandora BlogSent: Sunday, August 24, 2014 4:29 PMTo: nancyamsill@gmail.comReply To: Pandora BlogSubject: [New comment] Pandora One Subscription Changes

        a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; }

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        Mindy commented: “I Agree 100% Mr. C!

        You whiners have a choice of keeping Pandora or dumping them – But don’t start whining over a dollar or two for unlimited music without all of the droning commercials. Seriously!

        Keep up the good work Pandora!”

    • REMOVING THE ANNUAL PLAN AS AN OPTION IS A HUGE MISTAKE. The only reason I subscribe last year is because I could do the annual payment and not some monthly bull—-. I have enough of that monthly billing crap already. If I am not allowed to pay for an entire year by the time I have to renew then I will simply go somewhere else. The price hike is not the problem. Why don’t they just offer the monthly crap as an option.
      “a loyal Pandora One user” being screwed with.

      • This remains an absolute mystery to me. I can see your point if, and only if, the Pandora charge was the only, and I mean the absolute only charge to hit your credit card every month. Then you would only have to balance one charge to one payment annually. Life is good.

        I always assumed that as it related to the use of credit cards, most people were like me. That being, using the credit card for purchases like McDonalds, gas for the car, movies, groceries, a night out with the wife, and so on.

        Which means…..that there are credit purchases showing up on the bill each and every month. Many of them. Many many of them. The five dollar or so charge from Pandora is one of many which need to be paid.

        Now, if a person was watching each and every penny, and if their credit card was always at or near the limit, and the $5.00 charge puts them over the top causing a myriad of other purchases to be denied, then I can see your case. It would be FAR FAR better to have the that massive $5.00 cushion between you and your limit. What a relief! Think of the embarrassment that is saved, and now would be lost, by having that $5.00 added every month.

        Not to mention all the extra accounting work involved in adding that one, single, solitary Pandora $5.00 charge to your total when you check each and every receipt against the charges on the statement. Admit it, you do that, don’t you? Not having to add the $5.00 charge means that a two hour job of matching up maybe one hundred other charges drops the time to a couple of minutes of work, tops, and all because you were able to pay Pandora once a year at $60.00 instead of one a month at $5.00.

        Which begs a question: If you are so close to your limit that a $5.00 charge throws you over the top, then how do you pay that $60.00 charge once a year? At tax time maybe?

        Just wondering.


      • MJM
        You are really off base. It has nothing to do with my credit card balance or limit. Personally my credit cushion is usually $5K each month – just because shit happens. It’s a personal preference not to use my card(s) for crap under $50. and to pay for all subscription services yearly instead of monthy. I don’t keep money in the bank to waste it on paying my account to figure out stupid charges. Yep.. I am one of those odd folks that pay their water, trash, sewer etc bills once a year.

    • I also prefer to pay annually. I really, really don’t like monthly bills. It has very little to do with the cost; I would pay $48 as an annual charge. But without an annual option, I’m letting my subscription lapse. I may subscribe intermittently, for car trips and such. But unless the annual option comes back, Pandora has lost me as a continual subscriber (and as a continual listener).

      • I would like to pay my electric bill, water bill, mortgage, car insurance, gas bill, car payment, all credit card payments once a year. Can’t do it, man.

        What question you are having trouble framing is this: Would it not be easier to terminate a service that is being paid on a month by month basis than one paid annually?


        I wonder why Pandora did not consider this?


  2. I would like to have the option to pay yearly. I have to many other things that I am forced tap my account monthly and do not like it.

  3. I’ve had Pandora One for roughly 4 years now and hate to see it going to monthly only option. In my opinion there should still be a discount if you opt to subscribe for a year. Time to check out competitors.

  4. I agree with everyone else I teach a fitness class and use the clean versions on pandora for my music and it didn’t give me any notice just said my subscription has expired and would I like to upgrade. When I chose to upgrade it gave me the option of $4.99 and no yearly subscription which two things. 1. That obviously is more than what I was paying at $49 a year. 2. I have two many monthly payments coming out already. I have to find another service. Maybe I will go to sound cloud or spottily to check them out.

  5. I just discovered this monthly charge on my credit card statement! Normally this is a yearly charge, but it seems without notice it changes. While it’s still a good deal a little notice would have been nice.

  6. I used to be a Pandora One subscriber and thought it was a good deal even through I didn’t listen all that often. My feeling was that I wanted to support Pandora and was glad it was there. Then, when it went up by $20/yr (a hefty increase) I began to question whether it was worth it to me so I dropped out of the ONE. But I think the thing I object to is the MONTHLY charge… without the choice of a YEARLY charge (and hopefully a subsequent discount on the year) Such as $60/yr when paid for monthly or $50 a year when paid by the year.

    Lacking that, I am back on the freebie subscription which suits me just fine. Still would like to support Pandora.

    • Agreed that’s why I also dumped Pandora One this fall. I switched to iTunes Match instead since I use iTunes for most of my music and it’s affordable. Just one annual payment of $24.99 is needed for iTunes Match.

  7. I subscribed to Pandora One via iTunes in May and renewed it for June and July. However, after some reflection and assessment on the costs of a monthly subscription at $4.99 X 12 months I decided it would be cheaper and better value for me to get iTunes Match. So I let my Pandora One subscription finally expire in August and got iTunes Match instead for $24.99 a yr. Come on Pandora bring back the annual plan and you could win back some defectors. Now that I’m sold on iTunes Match I doubt I would come back just for more skips, and ad free streaming. I like being able to upload my music to Apple’s cloud (not bought on iTunes). Most of my digital music collection is bought thru iTunes or other outlets but is matched with iTunes. Plus I have ad free iTunes Radio. The one good thing Pandora has going for it is its Music Genome Project and it has a head start on the competition in this regard whether it be Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft etc.

  8. I agree with most comments. The fact it changed w/o notice is undesirable.
    I almost made the mistake to completely terminate the account w/o digging any further.
    Yes, there are leeches milking Pandora left and right. That DOES NOT MEAN the loyal supporters have to pay extra for a service that is provided for FREE.
    I agree with Patrick Dunn that maybe a good time to check “FREE sound cloud or FREE SPOTIFY” now.

  9. I do see the need to raise your price, but I will not be renewing unless you put more power into the controls. I do love having Pandora while I work, paint and cook BUT – until there is a “never play this band again” option (so that I don’t have to get paint or butter all over my device if the BeeGees come on to hit thumbs down) as well as an option to exclude an artist from one station but not another. If I am in a Van Morrison mood that means quiet and I don’t want Zepplin screaming at me when I am on that station – but, I still like Zepplin, when the mood is right … get my drift? I’d rather create my own playlists than pay for some algorithm that can’t understand my needs. I will keep watching though, and see if you add some new “station creation” features – or, return to the old pricing. Sorry, a freelance designer over here, I can’t afford to add another monthly bill to my plate :(

  10. I’ve been a subscriber for 4 years, and was not given a chance to subscribe again for less than $4.99/mo. My last subscription payment was the annual rate of $36.00, so to now pay $4.99 x 12 months = $59.88 (a 66% increase) is not going to happen.

  11. Listen, I never agreed to pay on a monthly basis, I WAS a regular PandoraOne user and I suppose since my year must have expired I have been rolled into the monthly plan. As a company I was pleased with the service Pandora provided UNTIL this morning when I saw an email from PayPal letting me know Pandora was taking my money without my knowledge or consent. I was willing to give Pandora the benefit of the doubt in this incident as they do not have my current email on file. However, when I called the Pandora office it was made clear that I wouldn’t be able to speak with a human about my account, only a messed up recorded loop that seemed to be a dead end. This demonstrated an unprofessionalism that I am not pleased to be involved with. I was also shocked that I had to go through PayPal in order to edit my pandora billing account settings. Please be aware that I consider Pandora a remarkable service, however with the rise of so many streaming music sites and the current economic climate, I am now looking elsewhere for my internet radio. Adding a human at the other end of the line would have been enough for me to continue my relationship with Pandora. It appears to me as a customer that Pandora is greedily taking loyal customers’ money while hiding behind their servers and technology purposely providing NO human interaction to avoid any customer conflict. (we are your customers, not a bunch of marks to be targeted for fast cash) Please remember, Pandora is not the only internet radio platform on the market and as such should be organic and dynamically changing to adapt to our consumer needs, while staying competitive.


    (a longtime former listener)

    • Hi there,

      I’m very sorry for any frustration or confusion you’ve experienced in regards to your subscription. If you are still interested in having a conversation with us about this, please reach out to our Listener Advocates here:

      Rest assured, they are real people and would be happy to address all of your concerns.


  12. An additional 12 dollars a year isnt a big deal. However the annoying monthly popups wasting my is. One lump sum shouldn’t be that hard to process considering it was already available,
    One time a year seems to be reasonable, unless your planning on changing the price through-out the year for auto-renew.

    Could you please bring back annual subscriptions or should I just download my music and stop paying?

  13. I’m fine with the price, but the whole monthly thing is no good. It smells like something right out of . I like your service but I don’t trust you enough to give you auto-billing. And I’m not a fan of deciding every month if I want to continue. I’ll probably go find something else. Scratch that, just gifted myself 6 months.

  14. I have been a yearly subscriber to Pandora One for over 3 years and will not be renewing if I cant pay for the full year!!! Complete B.S……Now to find something else to play on the boat, in the car and at home. Cant leave well enough alone.

    • Stephanie, I agree. This monthly charge will throw my delicately balanced budget out the window. I am anticipating that I will need to file for bankruptcy if Pandora cannot change this feature and I choose the service.

      Fortuneately, my high skuul teached me about how capitleizm workz, and I am now preepeared to fite it.


  15. I am thoroughly disappointed in your lack of customer service during the recent price hike and mandatory switch to monthly pricing. I was disappointed about the lack of ‘book mark’ functionality from your web application and no offline audio play capability, but this is just pointless. It seems you have won a large share of the market and now plan to penalize your loyal legacy customer base by forcing a $11+ price increase and making everyone pay monthly. This may drive value for your stockholders, help with paying royalties and drive bottom line but your most important asset (the customer) has been shafted. Add to that 1000’s of customers thinking someone has hacked their Paypal account sux too. This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m being driven to end my service, spread the word and find your largest competitor to give my money (even if i have to pay more)! Spotify is looking much better from this vantage point. If I use a student discount Spotify will actually cost the same and offer a far better feature set.

    Offering less functionality and increasing your product cost is not a good business model.

    • I agree with JW.

      I am also upset about bookmarking and offline. Mostly thought I am angrty because you refuse to allow us to use the app to transfer the music directly into the brain using mental telepathy. The advantages for this are enormous and you REFUSE to let that happen.

      Add to that the $11.00 price increase and the HORRIBLE effort it takes to pay the account each and every month. Why didn’t you do the opposite, like requiring us to purchase your service in blocks of ten years at a time? That would have been good customer service. Then I would never have to worry about a charge showing up on my credit card. Instead you show your craven attitude towards shareholders. How dare you do anything that would make your company more valuable. What are you, Communists or something?

      JW is right. You should be punished. And I will move to a music carrier that meets my needs. Someone who will let me stream my songs directly to my brain. So there!


      • To MICHAEL J. MONEA:
        I don’t think you are helping the situation – in fact I think your comments are causing people to be more upset. The issue here is not about the price or the fact it’s monthly billing, it’s that Pandora has not built a case for it and that so everyone is upset. I cannot see a reason why yearly billing should be taken away (especially considering the backlash here)

        To Pandora:
        I am currently a free user who was (before the price hike) considering upgrading to Pandora One.

        Personally the monthly billing doesn’t bother me (although there should be a discounted option for a yearly option).

        The thing that bothers me is the appalling customer service shown in these comments. People are giving you this feedback and it is like they are talking to a brick wall. When people are talking to a wall they are likely to look elsewhere. We are talking long term users here so this is quite sad.

        I think you need to properly address these issues and the reasons for them.

        The only thing that keeps me using Pandora is its Profanity filter. Rdio and Spotify are lagging in the department!

      • Josh,

        You state the following: “The issue here is not about the price or the fact it’s monthly billing, it’s that Pandora has not built a case for it and that so everyone is upset.”

        When you go to buy a gallon of gas and the price is higher, or lower, than it was the day or even an hour earlier, do you drive away on a near-empty tank of gas because the company did not “build a case” for the pricing change?

        Reasonably, how a company prices their product is an internal decision. Sometimes the decisions make sense, sometimes they don’t. I don’t fully understand the rationale. It is easier to drop a service being invoiced monthly as opposed to invoiced yearly. But I couldn’t care one way or the other. For me, and probably others also, losing this option doesn’t lessen the value of this service which, even at $60.00 annually, whether paid once or twelve times, is more than worth the cost of listening to my kind of music without commercial interruption, when I want, whether in my home, in my car, on the beach, at work, or wherever you can connect to the internet. It is my experience that Pandora is one of the very few services I receive anywhere that gives me more than what they are asking back.

        As it relates to this matter, it is up to the subscriber to determine if having one additional charge on their monthly credit card statement, out of probably many many others, negates the value of having this unique service.

        Pandora has, in my opinion, been more than reasonable in offering current yearly subscribers an additional year at the current cost. And I would believe, if you ponder it for a while (although I truly cannot say) that you will find this new payment process and change to be irrelevant when compared to the overall service they provide.


  16. I am disappointed at losing the annual option. The monthly option is dangerous to those who sometimes approach a zero balance in their bank account. If you don’t remember all of the automatic withdrawals there is a risk of overdrawing your account.
    What is the reason for that change?
    I like the thought of having the account paid for for a year. I hope you can reverse that change.

  17. I prefer to pay for my subscription annually rather than being forced to do it monthly. Right now I am debating whether to keep my subscription or cancel at renewal time. The rate increase doesn’t bother me as much as losing the annual option. just a preference.

  18. hope you can help me with this problem all I need is to change my card on my account to a different one to pay my monthly fee

    • I agree!!

      Annual payments for everything. Mortage, car payments, food, everything. I am tired of paying for EVERYTHING when I get it or one month at a time.


      So there, Pandora. Take that. Nyahh! Nyahh! Nyahh!


  19. I’ve been subscribing to Pandora for three years. Bothered at times with how often songs are repeated, but the price was good. I also like the annual subscription option. I would actually have continued for 46/year. Anyway, I’ve been thinking of switching to Spotify which allows more choice. I will do that now. And I already have an Amazon Prime account for book purchases and movies. Music is included. I wish Pandora well. But I won’t return to using it. If you are going to raise the price then you are going to have to improve your services. You really do have far too much repetition of music.

    • Chuck,

      Actually your comments bring out an interesting point regarding improving services. Prices for basic goods such as gas and food often increase without a general consumer demand that the service station or grocery store enhance the purchasing and/or consumption experience.

      I do believe that the royalty cost to steam these songs are increasing. However, I think that the artists ought to receive sufficient compensation so that they are incentivized to cover the costs associated with writing, producing, and then making their creations available to individuals such as myself. To me, a $12.00 increase above the $48.00 I have been paying to cover the associated increase in costs to listen to probably thousands of songs during the year seems reasonable.

      With that being said, there are a couple of enhancements that I think Pandora should consider to improve services:
      1. I would like to have the ability to create a “thumbs up” station. More specifically, I would like to have the option of sending a “thumbs up” song to, without regard to the particular station, to also go to my BEST OF station.
      2. When I select one of my stations, for that listening session, I would like to have the option of including a greater percentage of new songs (of that style) being played, OR, the ability to have a greater percentage of thumbs up songs being played.


  20. …so my yearly plan gets changed to monthly; no big deal. THEN, the monthly plan gets cancelled for no apparent reason. To reinstate, I now get to pay an extra dollar a month? Where does it end?
    Go pound sand, Pandora. Your money grab will soon backfire.

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