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/

858 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. Yep. i am not renewing my Subscription. Sorry mate. You are not worth the effort for me to make the monthly payments. its a pain to have monthly pay.

    • I am in agreement. I was about to purchase an annual subscription and decided against it. I find it easier to listen to commercial interruptions than deal with a monthly bill.

    • Gonna lose a lot of members by dropping the annual. Netflix all over again, although netflix’s price hike wasn’t even this much
      From 36 dollars a year to 48. That’s a 30% increase in price; hardly what is call modest!
      Now I have to waste my time finding something better. I really loved pandora too.
      Hopefully they send a mass email saying they fixed the problem when they get their heads on straight.
      How can they be so stupid.

  2. Echoing a common theme: I prefer *no* Pandora to monthly billing for Pandora One. Annual renewal would have been a no-brainer for me, even at a substantially higher price point, but I’m not willing to put up with the inconvenience of monthly billing for this service.

  3. I do enjoy listening to Pandora One…..however,I do not like hearing the same music over and over and over and over again. I even shuffle channels but after awhile, I am hearing the same songs again. They have a very large library of music to choose from; why am I hearing the same old songs all the time? This is a major factor in my thoughts of ending the relationship with Pandora One. Adding to that the fact that there is no longer a yearly subscription, just could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  4. I’m done too. My subscription runs out soon and I was waiting for them to rethink their new monthly plan but I haven’t seen any progress. I’m going to other options or with nothing. I HATE the monthly billing thing and don’t like the rate hike as it’s too much. Clearly Pandora doesn’t give a crap as all you people been complaining for a month and no positive reaction from Pandora.

  5. I missed renewing my annual subscription and just came back to renew, to find there is only a monthly $3.99.
    Nope, Sorry Pandora I will not sign up any more with this option.

  6. I always tried to convince my friends that a loyal annual subscription a responsible, ethical, way to support Pandora’s service. I am stunningly disappointed in a drop in the annual option. I will NOT be subscribing by the month. Pandora the past three years good, hopefully for us both. Got to move on, bye!

  7. To the Executives at Pandora:
    Please reconsider having a yearly subscription payment option for your loyal listeners/subscribers — a $48.00 increase from the $36.00 yearly — in my opinion — is a modest increase. However, there are many people out there who prefer to not have that amount divided out and taken out of their checking/paypal accounts every month.
    Give those who can and prefer a monthly option pay that, 6-month option (which I see you already provide at $24.00), and the 12-month option at the $48.00 or preferably at a discount.
    Music is therapy for the soul, it eases tension, brings people together and gives talented musicians a place for them to preview their new albums.
    Work with us, you might find that the revenue and prestige that you are trying to achieve will happen!

  8. Hold on, did I just read that correctly, “this affects only a small percentage of our listeners”!?!?!?!?! You mean the only listeners that actually pay and support Pandora with cash? You got to be kidding me, that “small percentage” is your most important percentage as they are actually PAYING YOU. Please do not belittle us paying customers. It’s one thing to increase prices but come on don’t down play your most important assets even if we are only a small percentage. Jeezeee!! And stop complaining about the royalties, it’s getting old. Every internet music business pays them, it’s not unique to Pandora. You guys better get you heads on straight or you will be a distant memory faster than you can say “royalties”.

    • All they want to do is sell adds. They dont care about the people who actually pay. They would actually prefer if we didnt pay so we too can be added to the list of people to sell adds to. We live in a sad, money hungry world, that eventually ruins every good thing in existence.

    • Look at the annual report for 2013. Unfortunately, your assumptions are wrong. Of 2013 annual revenue of $427 million, subscription users account for only about 13% of that with the remainder coming from ad revenue.

      • Well Good job Pandora, I just went to renew my yearly subscription and lo and behold I can’t. So you in your great wisdom have just lost another (reading below I’m not the only one) long time loyal customer to your stupid changes to what was a good subscription program. I am not going let you force me into another monthly payment especially when that amounts to a 33% increase in price over the old annual subscription rate. Another great example of corporate greed in America today driving the stupid train! Luckily we as consumers don’t have ride that train with you! At one point I was recommending Pandora to pretty much everyone for your low priced add free music look like I will now be retracting those suggestions. I hear I heart radio is good!

        Bye Bye Pandora!!!!!!

      • That’s exactly what BWHURD means. More revenue from ads means you don’t need us subscribers.

    • Not that I like what they are doing, but you read that sentence wrong. They are addressing this blog post to all of their listeners. They are just clarifying that there will no change for a vast majority, just the subscribers. It wasn’t mean to belittle us, just to state that we are statistically in the minority.

  9. Ditto to ALL the above. I’m done! Nothing learned from the Netflix fiasco?!
    No Netflix, now no Pandora. So sorry Pandora!

  10. Just for billing purposes I like the yearly subscription. I will have to cancel after years of having an account. I don’t even mind the price increase. I just hate the annoyance.

  11. I have had Pandora one for two years and I WAS going to go for 3, I will be dropping it completely with this move, I liked Pandora, and have been a loyal customer, but it seems Pandora doesn’t want to be loyal back. This change with no notification to their customers, and wont offer a annual subscription to those who are use to it, what bullshit, good bye Pandora.

  12. I have had Pandora one for two years and I WAS going to go for 3, I will be dropping it completely with this move, I liked Pandora, and have been a loyal customer, but it seems Pandora doesn’t want to be loyal back. This change with no notification to their customers, and wont offer a annual subscription to those who are use to it, what bullshit, good bye Pandora.

  13. You guys really need to reconsider. I will not do a monthly withdraw from my account. I started with Pandora but there are other options. Please reconsider. Email me if you reconsider as I may not be listening be listening.

  14. I agree with many above that I will NOT be using Pandora if the monthly payment is the only option. Also I find myself “thumbs downing” many of the selections included – are they trying to sell specific songs or what? Get it together, Pandora, or you’ll lose many of us!

  15. Making it more painful without annual subscription…. plus increase in price?? You guys wanna go out of business?
    I’m not renewing …. just registered iheart and looking into songza.

  16. I was planning to gift my mom an annual subscription for her birthday, since I know she likes Pandora and uses the free version now. I don’t want to have a monthly bill of this for her or to start something she’ll have to continue paying for, so I guess my mom will not be getting a Pandora gift as planned. :( Please reconsider the annual option.

  17. Unfortunately, like many others, and due to uncertain personal finances being a small business owner, I can’t worry about a monthly fee. I can understand increasing costs and rate hikes, but the economy isn’t supporting it and those expenses that your feeling aren’t allowed in other business sectors. I can’t continue my subscription with those terms and I have always been a big fan of Pandora, having subscribed so we could play it in my store.

  18. Dear Pandora-

    I just started my subscription tonight @ $3.99…because I LOVE music and HATE commercials, and I won’t pay $4.99. I truly think the right and most beneficial action for Pandora to take is to — at least for current annual subscribers, would be to continue their annual subscription. LOYALTY should go both ways. It means you appreciate each other. Keep the customer. Anyone subscribing before May, should have the option to do an annual subscription @ $48. Monthly auto-pay can be a headache. Anyone willing to pay $60 per year should DEFINITELY have the option of an annual subscription.

    I think this is the solution. Otherwise, I believe you will lose many subscribers. You are the FIRST and the BEST, which can only stand the test of time, by way of staying loyal to your loyal subscribers and listening to what’s important among the majority. I believe this will provide a stable subscriber base as you deal with the increases you are facing.

    I’ve always loved Pandora (since 2002).

    Hoping you stay relevant…

  19. After several years as an annual customer we have to part ways. I don’t need another monthly bill for music. Hopefully the Pandora folks read these comments and heed the warning before it’s too late.

  20. I was just about to renew my Pandora but seen that it was monthly and I changed my mind. I will take the commercials over monthly payments anytime.

  21. Unfortunately, It seems I will be joining the many others that are not renewing there subscription. Mine expired today. Between the cost going up, and the subscription now being month to month it’s just not worth it to me.

  22. I’m surprised to many people don’t want the monthly subscription. I pay Netflix, Hulu, my life insurance policies and other entities by the month. No hassle. I know when the payment is due and I make sure the money is there. Not hard at all. I will not abandon Pandora over a payment stipulation. A huge increase, maybe, but not for $3.99 a month. I guess I am the minority on this comment page.

  23. I’ll start with the solution for the whiners: Open a 2nd paypal account with a different email address and a different credit card than the first. Deposit $48 to the paypal balance, and use that for your recurring fees with pandora. Was that so hard? If you only have one credit/debit card, then this isn’t an option; however, in that case monthly billing from Pandora is the least of your financial concerns.
    First, to person saying they don’t care about paid users–you’re wrong. Look at their 2013 annual financial report. They’re operating at about 10% loss, and subscription users represent 10% of revenue, so those users are important to the bottom line. How they are able to piss away ~$170 million after content acquisition costs is beyond me. Sounds like mismanagement and poor budgeting.
    The million dollar question is–why is everybody so bent out of shape about the monthly billing plan? I’m not thrilled about the price hike, as I too pay annually, but who cares whether you pay monthly or lump sum. Money now is always better than money later, so it actually doesn’t make much business sense for Pandora to take the money in 12 installments; if 25% of the 2.5 million paid subscribers opted for lump-sum annual payment, that’s $30 million in cash they could hopefully make work for them. Regardless, why do people care about the monthly vs annual charge?
    Personally, my main complaint with Pandora is the music format and bandwidth provided to different clients. Paid subscribers should be able to receive 240kbs VBR quality music via mobile, roku, or desktop, which is far more efficient that 192kbs CBR. There’s a decent percentage of users who would pay a premium for higher quality content, and why it’s not offered seems like one more place Pandora is letting revenue slip through its digital fingers.

  24. Sorry, have to chime in and say I won’t be renewing either. Have been a subscriber for 2 years now and enjoyed the annual renewal option. One more monthly payment to keep track of is simply not appealing to me. My subscription runs out this month and I guess that will be it for me. It was nice while it lasted.

  25. I am also a yearly subscriber, and a music artist with music on Pandora. I don’t mind the price increase too much, but I still think you should reconsider keeping the yearly cycle active, or you will lose a lot of customers. Yes, I don’t argue that having higher royalties are better, but not at the expense of loyal fans of music.

  26. I would be happy to annually pay $48 – or even more – but I am very annoyed by the thought of this monthly subscription thing. Please reconsider this lame decision Pandora.

  27. I’ll not be renewing my subscription either. While you have an outstanding product, your competition does, as well and without charge. Count me as an ex user/subscriber.

  28. Reading these comments really got me thinking about how difficult it must be for people to allocate $3.99 a month to an auto-renewing subscription that they don’t even have to take time out of their day to click or fill out anything. How can it be annoying to do each month when you don’t have to do anything? :-/ Just sayin’.

    • I agree with you, I don’t see the difference if it’s done automatically. I guess some people just don’t know how to budget their money. Since they know that it will be taken out monthly, they should set some money aside so they know that they’ll have it.

  29. Between all the thumbs down and skips I’m doing lately, right up until I hit my limit on skips (really?), I’ve become more and more frustrated with Pandora over the years. Now you want to jack up the price and eliminate my annual subscription? Forget it, I’ll take the ads while I look for another service that actually appreciates my business. Maybe I’ll even hear some music that I enjoy.

  30. I agree with all opposing to have to deal with a monthly bill (the least I need is something else digging my account every month) also I used to love the convenience of those physical gift cards to give out to my acquaintances and friends, I’m sorry but I have to say NO to renewing my subscription in a monthly base…Pandora team, think what really is best for your company (have or not have costumers) bring back the gift cards and the annual plan and we will have business again. Thank you so much.

  31. Same here. Very disappointed, Pandora. My iTunes Match subscription ($25/year) should fill in nicely instead. You just lost $36 this year, and the next, and the next…

  32. I have been listening to Pandora (free) for several months now, and decided to check into a yearly subscription, only to find out that Pandora is eliminating the yearly option. I do not like the bother of monthly subscriptions, so I will not be signing up for a subscription. Sorry, Pandora.

  33. I also want to request the return of the yearly subscription option. I refuse to have a $4 charge taken out of my account monthly. I have been using and paying for the service for over 5 years, but this is definitely a deal breaker for me.

  34. Sorry Pandora, but you have lost me, another annual paying customer leaving because you dropped the annual option. I will not tolerate audio ads, so goodbye, it’s been great.

  35. Damn that sucks :( I literally was JUST trying to renew for the year! Which brought me to Google which brought me to this post. Gotta say, I won’t renew with a monthly charge; i’d even take the updated pricing in a single payment….come on P….Ive been a stockholder even when the stock was beat up and still standing by you..but this is not good for me.

  36. As many other said the billing change is unfortunate and I don’t think I will be renewing my subscription.
    Apple’s iRadio is included with $20 yearly fee and includes a lot of additional features, but until now I liked to switch between iRadio and Pandora.
    However increased price + no annual subscription is enough for me to reconsider Pandora.

  37. Count me as a lost subscriber too, after years of being a paid subscriber. I can handle a slight increase (though I hesitate to call 33% slight), but no annual billing is rediculous.

  38. This is pretty disappointing not to offer a yearly sub option anymore. Guess im out. Second guessing my stocks now too; this is just a bad decision. Look it’s not about the increase it’s about taking away the option to pay up front for a year for me. Sirius pays for it’s music and I pay them up front for the year….whats the deal?

  39. Was just trying to figure out why I can’t do an annual renewal when I found this article explaining why. I would have been willing to pay up to $60 a year to have an annual subscription, but the monthly option just SUCKS. No thanks. Even though I’ve spent years building up and curating my stations, it is a no brainer to me to find a better option for streaming music. Additionally, there was zero real reason to cancel yearly subscriptions. It isn’t explained in this post, you just say it won’t be an option anymore. PANDORA STINKS.

  40. I also enjoyed the annual subscription without renewing every month – this way was more easier. Bye Bye Pandora!!

  41. I do not understand all of these angry or upset comments. I’m actually subscribing now, before the price goes from “great” to “slightly less great”. Monthly auto-pay is one of the most convenient things we have nowadays and they are at least giving us time to get the current price before it goes up. Pandora was under no obligation to give us as much warning as they did about this change.

    • Very true, much like I’m not obligated to continue my service because of this poor decision on their part. I was happy and ready to renew, but not under monthly terms. The marketing department had to have seen this coming by pulling one of the most popular payment options. If they didn’t, they failed to survey current and new customers to see how this would affect subscriptions. It’s not the increase that put customers in an uproar, it’s just the terms.
      Amazing how something so simple can truly affect business. It won’t be long before grandfathering customers is gone and the increases continue in order to make up for tarnished customer image.
      You get the cheap price now, but with the number of lost customers, Pandora will have no choice but try to recoup some that loss next year when your rates go up. Good Luck.

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