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/

792 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. Yep, sorry Pandora. I have enough monthly bills to concern myself with. Your decision to add another one was poor. Customer for 4 years now, and “was happy”. Good luck.

    • Ps…I won’t be thrown in with the price hike customers as my subscription ended today, so it’s a done deal. Later alligator……

  2. This is unfortunate. In my second annual and the price increase makes other subscription services look a bit more attractive. The loss of the annual subscription, (discounted or not) seems to tip the scale. I have been interested in MOG (now Beats) as all of their music is streaming at 320 kbps. I’ll also consider Neil Young’s new Pono Music. More expensive, yes, but higher bit rate too.

    • I had to let my annual subscription laps to handle more important obligations and now there is not one to return to. I will not pay monthy! If you don’t want annual subscribers, you don’t want me.

      Bye bye.

  3. I hope you will read and pay attention to the overwhelming number of comments from people who prefer annual subscriptions. I can’t help but think that there’s an agenda here to fool your best subscribers into a series of “small” increases, a dollar here, a dollar there, so soon you will be in $100/year territory. Hey, it’s only $7.99 a month, right?

    If that’s what you need to stay in business, you should come right out and say it. I don’t want to pay a monthly fee, no matter what it is.

  4. A 35% increase? Seriously, another greed driven “solution” and the direction so many choose in today’s society.

    Guess the big 6 media mongrels are coming to take you, or add you to their realm.

    I chose to be one of the paying customers. I detest ads and I detest greed even more. When my subscription is up we will be parting ways. It’s a sad time.

  5. Without the annual renewal option I will move back to the free service and likely get to know apple radio and iHeart better. Best regards.

  6. So you’re raising my price by 33% starting now… and the new subscription rate would be even higher? Without the annual subscription option my fear is that you’ll be raising my rate *again* in less than 12 months. Sorry to hear your royalties are higher, but I guess I’ll take my chances with the ads. Your catalog is incredibly small vs. your competitors and every single one of my many channels play tons of repeats. Why should I pay you more, unless I’m getting more? The others have 20x as many tracks as you do. If 2% of your users make up 13% of your revenue… it looks like you’re punishing those of us who guarantee you a steady revenue stream and are most profitable. And based on others’ comments it looks like you’ll have to double our subscription rates before subscribers alone would make up your revenue shortfalls.

    • Well said, totally agree as a 2-year subscriber myself. I did not get notification of this change in pricing, contrary to what Pandora mentioned. What a bummer, I really like Pandora over iShart, I mean iHeart.

  7. I have had a subscription for 3 years now and really enjoy Pandora. Removing the annual subscription is a mistake. After all the negative response to this change, to see that there seems to be no reconsideration has put a sour taste in my mouth and I will not renew. To get my business back now you will have to bring back the annual subscriptions and I would expect to receive the existing customer price since my subscription will now lapse.

  8. I just finished my second year of Pandora One and now with the changes to the billing I will have to move on. I would be willing to pay the $47.88 for the year but I am out on paying monthly. I totally understand the “increase” in royalties as music companies jockey to find a way to be profitable in the digital age. I want the option to pay annually and decide at the end of the term if I want to stomach an increase. I do enjoy Pandora but I am out.

    • I agree, I would also pay 47.88 yearly. I enjoyed Pandora One for two years & now miss it. I will not pay monthly. Sorry to have to part ways. Let me know if the policy changes before I find another venue.

    • I agree – I understand the price increase – But I still want to pay an annual fee. I have had 5 different credit card numbers in the last year due to fraud – that means almost every 2 months I will have to be updating my information just to get my service!

    • add me to the list that won’t be continuing with the One service. As other have said I’d be willing to pay the annual cost up front…but not in monthly payments. That is too open to hackers for my taste.

  9. I’ve been a subscriber to Pandora for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, I will not be continuing my subscriptions since you no longer offer an annual option. I don’t care if the annual option is discounted or not, but I want the ability to pay for an entire year’s subscription in one transaction rather than in 12 transactions.

    To me your decision not to offer an option to pay for a years subscription in one transaction seems ill advised since, with the annual payment, you get the entire year’s fee up front and can invest it to make a little extra money until it is needed. You also have to pay more transaction fees to the credit card companies since with an annual fee, there is only one transaction but with the monthly charges thee are 12 transactions.

  10. Since pandora profits more from the ads than our subscriptions, it appears our only option is to move onto a new internet radio provider.

  11. Well if you are raising the subscription I also will be done as I can’t get more than a couple of songs to play without having to restart it, my whole reason for paying was ad free, no interruptions, I will go back to my cds at least I get hours out of them while playing rather than minutes!

  12. I can accept the need for a price increase, but I don’t understand why there’s no annual option. What if I pre-pay $47.88? Will Pandora debit my overpayment for 12 months (allowing me to only need to pay once per year)?
    I’ve been a paid subscriber for a few years, since Yahoo MusicCast went away. I even paid there. I can NOT handle listening to the same couple of commercials repeatedly throughout the day.

  13. I have been on the monthly plan for a couple months since I forgot to change back to my annual sub. Even if they bring back the annual, the $48 price tag is still a very good value for what I get (on average about 5 hours a day at work, and at least 5-10 hours a week at home). My wife (who also has her own sub) and I have said for years now (5 years and counting!) that the price was too low, and this increase puts it right near the value we placed on it (about $50-60/yr).

    I hope everyone complaining about a dollar/mth increase (OMG 33%!!) has complained about their triple digit cable and/or cell phone bills just as fervently as they are on this blog.

    Thank you, Pandora Team, for having such an awesome service that has been under priced for years. I intend to stay a loyal customer and look forward to hearing more new artists come across my channels in the future (going to see Lindsey Sterling in a couple weeks, whom I would never had heard of if it wasn’t for Pandora).

    -jc

    • Sadly yours is the only logical reply on this thread. I have been subscribed to Pandora since I first heard of it 3-4 years ago. I used to use it only while driving to/from work, but now I listen to it while doing school work (back in college) as well. This price increase is a dollar folks… Its 12 dollars more a year. Pandora is a great service and while I’m bummed to see the annual & discount go away, people seem more worried about being charged once a month, not the increase in cost. If your so worried about it get a debit card and hook it up to the account.

  14. I had my card out and was just about to reupgrade to a Pandora one subscription, planning to keep it indefinitely. Came to check out why I couldn’t find the annual subscription and found this article. I don’t like this and won’t be upgrading after all. Terrible move by Pandora in getting rid of the annual subscription. I can just get Spotify unlimited for the money you’re charging and choose what I want to listen to. I’ve been a loyal Pandora listener since you guys launched but I am severely disappointed in the ad increase and now this. After over a decade, I’ll be going elsewhere for my music needs.

  15. I had my card out and was just about to upgrade to a Pandora one subscription, planning to keep it indefinitely. Came to check out why I couldn’t find the annual subscription and found this article. I don’t like this and won’t be upgrading after all. Terrible move by Pandora in getting rid of the annual subscription. I can just get Spotify unlimited for the money you’re charging and choose what I want to listen to. I’ve been a loyal Pandora listener (and defender against competitors) since you guys launched but I am severely disappointed in the ad increase and now this. After over a decade, I will be going elsewhere for my music needs. Get it together Pandora.

  16. I have kept Pandora shielded from my list of revocable frivolous expenses. Two reasons: annual renewal and $3.00 or less a month. Pandora has excluded itself from both of those exemptions. I’m renewing, but I will likely stop my monthly subscription when budget time comes around next quarter. Also, this price increase has driven me to investigate your competitors, an exercise I never felt compelled to do prior to today. I hope you’ve got some impressive business intelligence tools handy. This segment treatment could be a catalyst to significant loyalty drop-offs…

  17. I will not pay for a monthly subscription. I have zero monthly recurring charges. I would gladly pay a little more for a yearly subscription. Good bye Pandora.

  18. After 6 years i guess I finally part ways. Monthly costs are the worst thing financial wise so I will save my $36 and use itune radio. It is free and I can choose sports, music or talk radio based on my mood.

  19. Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of raising the membership price is not to generate more profit by having you pay them more. The purpose of raising the membership price is to get you to CANCEL your subscription to use their “FREE” ad-based radio. Think of Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads. Those ads can run anywhere from a few cents to a a few dollars +. You could imagine the ads that play on Pandora pay a pretty hefty price, as you are forced (bold;) to listen to them as the listener (pay-per-listener– I imagine). Your meager $4-5 bucks a month is nothing compared to what you would allow Pandora to profit by being the “free” listener. If you listen to Pandora like I do, you would bring Pandora several dollars a day and possibly a few hundred + dollars a month– multiply that by 12 — now by a few million (us small paying customers)…

    If you are angry with their steps towards satisfying greed, simply find a new provider. By cancelling your subscription to use their free version, you are only bringing them further profit. The POINT of their email was to make you feel small, in hopes that you would cancel your subscription, but to also make you feel important enough to keep it– forcing you to listen to their high profiting advertisements.

    Pandora, there’s an easier way to go about this to make more profit. Making 2-3 million people angry for greed isn’t your best step forward, considering how rapid information like that spreads. Your PR needs some work– I’ll do it for much less.

    • Well said… I have been monitoring the comments on this blog since the beginning and was just getting ready to point out the sound of crickets from pandora in response to all the negative responses from the most loyal segment of customers when I read your post. Clearly pandora has NO interest in a response or dialog of any sort on this topic. Too bad…

  20. or need to stop just putting mediocre quality sounds on phone because they are so much better than Spotify a spot if I had the sound quality

  21. I would not complain about the subscription price increase if my Pandora service, classical music, was curated much better. Many classical music selections are repeated several times a day every day incl. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. This is unconscionable and annoying. There is far more than 24 hours of classical music with low or no royalties (small orchestras or marginal production companies) out there to choose from. Many composers are never or rarely heard at all including Wagner, Nielson and Mahler. It is also unconscionable to play parts of symphonies and concertos instead of each entire piece in its entirety.

  22. Hey Pandora time to drop subscription all together! Take over Shazam and /or Sounhound, lobby-in new “fair use doctrine” (timing in US and EU is perfect) and become 5 billion dollar music store and 30% controller of 100 billion dollar industry. Time to act is overdue. Subs and ads came with BBC Radio in 1927 and NEVER been primary source of income.
    Industry is trending into 30 billion dollar mud paddle with Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify, and YOU in this shallow and dirty environment.

  23. OK, there has to be a price increase for Pandora as there is for everything else. The option of an annual rate, even at the higher rate, would make subscribing much more attractive. My uneducated guess is that an annual rate with about a 10% or so discount would probably bring in more net revenue that a monthly fee. As a very minor stock holder in Pandora, my interest extends beyond just the music.

  24. Yeah…annual payment was fine…I don’t like having my account tapped for $5 a month when I could just pay it and be done with it….bye bye Pandora.

  25. I’ve been a Pandora fan for years and paid for a subscription a couple of years ago. I was preparing to renew primarily to show my support when I read the of the changes and subsequently followed the comments here; I found them to be spot-on regarding Pandora’s motivation. I have little to add as I would simply echo the dismay. I do not care for the notion of allowing a business monthly access to my credit card information so that rate increases can be enacted ad lib, as well as showing preference to non-subscribers who generate ad revenue. It’s a pity as you had a rather nice project here. Then leaf subsides to leaf…

  26. I’ve been an annual subscriber for a couple of years. Taking the annual option out is a mistake. I will not return unless this option is brought back.

  27. No Go Here!! Loved the annual subscription…WILL NOT do monthly. It makes it way too easy to up the rates at a moment’s notice. Thanks for providing a great service….UP TO THIS POINT!! Hate to see you go!!

  28. I enjoy Pandora – but even if it was non-discounted, having a annual plan just seems less expensive for Pandora – each time any CC is charged Pandora pays a transaction fee or a percentage or both. I would think it’s less expensive to charge once, than 12 times. Is it simply because Pandora wants the flexibility to bump the price at will during that 12 month period?

  29. I have been a 2 year annual subscriber, logged on to renew and found out the news. It is very unfortunate that the price has been hiked substantially. Pandora is heavily endorsed by well known sponsors and receives enough revenue to withstand any demands. Forbes has mentioned their sustained growth and profitability forecast as well.
    I will not be renewing alike many.

    – Former Annual Subscriber,
    Jenna T.

  30. As a loyal Pandora listener, I loved the option of renewing the annual subscription, for the sheer purpose of being able to watch my money. Being in school full-time, and working freelance, sometimes I don’t always have money in my account and/or don’t remember that the charges are going to come out every month. I agree with most on here who would like to see the option of the annual subscription put back in place – it’s easier for me to pay and forget about it for a year than to remember why you are charging me every month. Please give us this option! I don’t want to cancel my subscription because I love Pandora and it’s options, but this is one option that may cause me to cancel my account altogether.

  31. Pandora, I personally have no problem with the price increase. However, I do have a problem with removing the annual subscription. For me, the issue is mostly mental clutter: I want to worry about Pandora once a year, not 12 times a year. Ironically enough, your move prompted me for the first time to seriously consider what other vendors (Spotify Premium, Google Music All Access) are offering, which I doubt was the intended outcome of your move. For the moment, I’ve chosen to renew, but again, ironically enough, your new move allows me greater freedom to leave you as a customer should I change my mind, again a detrimental effect to your business.

    • Excellent point about the irony with the flexibility to jump ship…I love Pandora so I too will do the monthly; loved the annual option though. It is definitely time to look at the competition. The Music Genome Project is a culturally enriching aspect to Pandora that the competition doesn’t seem to offer; it’s worth supporting…Pandora should not underestimate the prowess if their subscribers as articulate and influential. This I surmised simply by reading all the great comments… Cheers!

  32. I had my card out and was just about to reupgrade to a Pandora one subscription, planning to keep it. After some research I find the annual subscription is gone and this 33% increase for month to month subscription is my only choice to keep my no ad service. I don’t like this and won’t be upgrading after all. Terrible move by Pandora in getting rid of the annual subscription. I can just get other services for less money you’re charging and choose what I want to listen to. I’ve been a loyal Pandora listener since you guys launched but I am severely disappointed in the ad increase and now this. Good luck..you’ve lost a great customer and referral partner.

  33. I guess all great things come to an end. $36/year was a great price point – a simple one-time yearly cost and a good value. Revolving $4/month on my CC is a right-in-my-face monthly annoyance. Fortunately there are many, many options and alternatives to consider besides Pandora. Lately I’ve been doing ‘books on CD’ from my public library – it’s free, I get a little education, and now a $4/mo lunch from my Pandora savings.

  34. Well I was ready to renew my annual subscription and notice that you don’t offer it any more, I have been a Pandora annual client for two years and that’s the only option I’m interested in, so, you don’t let me any other option but to say good bye.

  35. Love Pandora One, don’t mind the price increase, but absolutely hate not being able to pay for a full year. I don’t like recurring charges on my credit card. Please consider bringing back the annual payment option.

  36. I don’t even mind the increase. I am totally willing to pay. But why abandon the yearly option? $3.99 a month billing is just an accounting nightmare for me!

  37. Sorry Pandora, but like so many others are saying, this is asinine. Dropping the annual subscription makes no sense, it simply allows you to raise the monthly cost to ALL subscribers in one swoop, rather than waiting for contracts to end.
    Sounds like it’s time to look at other options.
    I’ll deal with some ads if I’m desperate, but I strongly doubt you’ll see another dollar from me or my family.

  38. Looking at the positive, since i like ad free music, I can go month to month while I try the other services.

  39. There are other services I can purchase that offer a 1 year subscription. I will be taking that option. I don’t mind price increases, after that is part of doing business. What I do mind is a month by month requirment. I don’t want to sign up for a recuring deduction to my account.

    By the way Pandora, I purchase 3 additional year long subscriptions for my parents and brother as Christmas gifts. I will be moving them too. You really should have done a better job of testing your market for reaction.

  40. Thank you Pandora for being greedy! Now I am exploring all of the other services! No annual renewal now = Spotify! Their FREE SERVICE is way better than Pandora any day of the week! Say GOODBYE to another long time subscriber no doubt AND no monthly billings either… Get a clue Pandora… MAJOR FAIL!!!!!! Bye Bye.

  41. If what Pandora wants is to encourage subscribers to become free listeners to increase ad revenue, then canceling or not renewing a subscription will give them the end result they want. Although, even at $4.99 per month, they still are less expensive than Spotify, Google and Rdio (all $9.99 per month, I believe). So let’s switch to Apple’s iTunes Radio, or one of the other services (or wait and see what Amazon is coming up with), and just delete the Pandora app from our phones and tablets. THAT would get their attention. I’ve been a One subscriber for several years but am like many others in that I do not want to have to worry about another monthly recurring fee, and preferred the annual charge.

  42. I had an annual and now there is not one, Hmmmm not a very good move on your part, but this is my part to cut ties and move on. Hope that goes in your equation.

  43. Wow, looks like you blew it. And what about the people that don’t pay and don’t mind the adds? What percentage are they in? You should just lay the whole spread sheet out for us consumers so we can judge ourselves. I am so curious it’s killing me. As a business person myself where is your marketing department and what do they do? Where’s your PR person to squash just what you said and lost a lot of customers over itl.

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