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/

819 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. I am extremely disappointed in the discontinuation of the annual membership option. Why can’t I pay $48 for the year instead of $4 a month? Seriously considering letting my subscription go!

    • I feel the same way. The yearly payment option is what drew me to Pandora in the first place. Getting rid of that gets rid of any incentive to stay

    • That’s actually what I’m not happy about as well, I prefer one-time-payment a lot better instead of seeing the 3.99 every month shown on my bank account.

  2. Hey Pandora, it looks like it’s unanimous. How could you make such a lousy business decision? Even people who are willing to pay the anuual price increase are pissed enough at you to kill their subscriptions. With all of the internet fraud going on, who wants to expose themselves to 12 automated transactions a year by yet another stupid internet organization who wants to save your bank information in their own servers? And, worse than writing checks, screws up your cash flow because you have no idea what is in your bank account anymore… Good bye.

  3. Like many other commentors, I’ve been following my Pandora One subscription for years now, but if you’ve removed the annual pricing option then I’m gona have be out. I’ve got too many other obligations to do a month to month thing.

    See ya

  4. Yeah, You lost this subscriber as well. You can’t nearly double the price of your product in on year, bad business.

  5. I agree with the above comments. Unfortunately I will not be renewing my subscription. I prefer the yearly subscription and do not want a montly auto renew. I enjoy your product and would like to support you but do not agree with your changes.

    • Yes, why monthly? I would be happy to pay $47.88 annually instead of worrying about another monthly automatic payment. Please give the option to pay annually. Keep on rocking! Pandora gets me (musically).

  6. This was a terrible idea, and moving from $36 a year to $60 a year is just not going to work for me. I’ve been a Pandora listener since their inception, back when they were soliciting requests on sites like Fark, back when the idea of a Music Genome Project was incredibly exciting, and it saddens me to see it getting monetized and exploited so ruthlessly. It brings to mind a lot of great sites, games, and applications ruined by a complete loss of attention to the customer and a complete focus on the advertiser (the real customer).

    It was a good run for a while, and I got to hear a lot of bands whom I never would have heard otherwise, but I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the Music Genome Project. Feel free to send me an email if you change your mind and start putting listeners first again. Otherwise, enjoy your downward spiral into irrelevance.

  7. Their finacinal report shows that there are several Pandora executives that are paid 6 DIDGIT INCOMES every year…and they pull this shit on us?!?! WTF? I’m headed for IHeart.

  8. I’ve had an account and paid annually for four years. The new monthly approach is really bad–I’ll not subject my accounts to such trivia and danger. Your music has been great, but now money gets in the way. I guess this means good bah!

  9. I’m going to say as a stock holder in the company this is an aweful idea. Do not discontinue the annual fee it is the only selling point I have for pandora against spotify. If you want to watch you’re subscribers flee like netflix go ahead. Your stock price has dropped ~25% lately. I hate advertisements. Every aspect of our days is filled with mindless advertisements. Tv, internet, regular radio, and more. The only reason I am a subscriber is to have at least some peace from constant advertising! Yes your service is great for finding new music, but you can’t make playlist like spotify, limit on skips, and you don’t have the backing like other competitors. Add some new features at least to justify the price increase to your loyal customers. Making playlist for example and unlimited skips because really your service does repeat songs. You got a good thing going here. Pandora is the tenacious underdog that has the cheapest service, but does not have the most convenient services unlike competitors. It’s your choice pandora. It was smart to start doing business more with Ford, but you’re messing up here. In December when I have to renew, Pandora might have lost a loyal customer and much sooner have lost an investor. Come on Pandora this about spreading music. Don’t forget what you began as.

  10. So i called last month to see how i could get my billing changed from 3.99 on my ipad to annual subscription. i was told to let account expire then sign up directly on website. now i find out no annual and must pay price increase because not an existing customer
    Not very cool>>

  11. As someone with mental disabilities / learning disabilities its hard to remember most things. I commented before and in reality I mentioned the price increase being the issue, but really it’s more about no annual subscriptions. If I could have all things in my life paid annually I would. It makes it easy on registered people like myself to not have to worry about paying bills on time. This isnt due to laziness or carelessness, I actually will sit down most days to go over anything I missed for that day. I’m a busy student, in constant chronic pain, and have learning disabilities. Hell if you want charge more for annual I can even accept that, but there should always be an annual option. For myself and other people a like.

  12. I normally buy a 1 year subscription as a gift for mothers day. I will not be doing it this year as I agree do not want to start a monthly fee as well as such a large price increase. Went to sign up and have now decided not too. I thought it was worth it at $3 a month but almost twice that and having to sign up to pay monthly I will start something new for Mothers day.

  13. WTH, Pandora??? I’ve been a subscriber to service for over three years and THIS is how you treat loyal customers who helped build your business. With increased competition from iTunes, Spotify, Rdio and others, you really think you’ll GROW your subscriber base? Good luck with that! In a few years, everyone’s music libraries will be so robust that all we’ll need to do is put iTunes on shuffle.

  14. I have been an annual subscriber for going on 2 years now. I don’t like the monthly option that is my only choice now but I will keep Pandora because we love the service and it is worth it. This is no different than Netflix charging a monthly fee and I’ll be that many of you (including me) who are complaining about Pandora’s changes probably have a Netflix account.

  15. I am a former annual subscriber. I would have paid the increased price without a second thought. I will not add a monthly subscription to my credit card. I also don’t like ads. Sorry, Pandora. I guess this is goodbye.

  16. Well,… all good things must come too a end I suppose.
    How I love thee, and then thee stab me in the back right in the heart.

    Far well pandora.

  17. I understand you need to increase revenue but all companies offer annual subscriptions you should at least do that. Too much online theft to risk monthly payments for music that you have no option to select the songs you want to here only the genre. Bad business decision

  18. I understand the need for the changes, but with the lack of value provided by Pandora over the past two years or so, I am going to have a hard time keeping it once my year subscription runs out. Pandora’s song library is far smaller than Slacker’s (which I also subscribe to), and Slacker has a ton of really cool channels like New Music First channels, Music festivals, and all sorts of other stuff to give a lot more variety. I get bored of Pandora so quick. Although Pandora is more oriented towards custom stations, whereas Slacker is Genre and curated stuff, I find that the custom station model that Pandora pioneered is hampered by a relatively tiny music selection, and I end up “over-training” all of my stations so that they get really boring really fast. As much as I love what Tim and Pandora did a few years back, I think I may have to move on, well sort of, since 90%+ of my listening is already on Slacker…

  19. My boyfriend keeps telling me to unsubscribe to this since there are so many other options out there. The biggest issue I have is he option to renew at a lower price has now been renewed. He just got the email and for him to renew it for me is $60/yr. iTunes Radio is at least only $24/yr. at the end of the day we all have many music options and surprised that you don’t see that. Most of my friends didn’t even know you could pay for commercial free because, your right, most people wouldn’t. See ya!

  20. With all the loyalty plans out there it’s difficult to see why Pandora would disrupt loyal users. My thinking would be, from May 1st onward we will charge new users by the month. This would allow Pandora to see how the effect changes what was once ‘the monthly average number of new users.’ Loyalty programs came about because companies learned (often the hard way- Netflix?) that it’s EASIER to keep a customer than it is to get a NEW customer. Apparently Pandora doesn’t think so….yet? Two weeks after leaving Netflix, I have never looked back. Word of mouth from satisfied customers is part of the formula that build the 11 companies mentioned in James Collins book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t,

    My beef isn’t so much with the price hike (although I figure it would be over a 150% increase) but I refuse to get sucked into a ‘monthly’ payment…and for what? Music? Seriously? In our household monthly payments are for mortgages and utility bills, PERIOD.

    Pandora, apparently you bet WRONG on this horse. If you ever make the change to yearly subscriptions, send me an email and at that time I’ll decide if I’m interested in looking back. Pandora, good luck to you.

    • I agree with you Ms. Carole. I remember paying last year 36 and some coins. and now they want 5.30 a month. I will not re-subscribe.

  21. Nope, u guys not only take away yearly sub but u increase it by $12 on top of that to even your veteran subscribers. Just 1 dollar increase is a huge profit for you guys but u increase it by 12? There’s more than just Pandora out there. I’d rather go to another company that’s less greedy, free even, like grooveshark. Bye Pandora, it’s been fun u greedy sum-bitch.

  22. Stupid. I don’t want my credit card charged every month, why can’t I just pay the 47.88 for a full year? You’d have me locked in for a year.
    Also I tried to renew my year subscription and I didn’t get the 3.99/month price for existing annual subscribers as stated above It was going to charge me 4.99.

    • Same here. Got notice it was time to renew and price was taking a huge jump. That was ok as we listen to Pandora a LOT. Then saw (1) Had to pay by the month (2) Didn’t realize as an existing customer should have been offered $3.99/mo – not $4.99+tax until I discovered this thread on the internet.

      We have been annual subscribers since day one 5-6 years ago. In fact, we have paid for 2 separate accounts to show our support.

      We are NOT going to have $3.99 charges repeating themselves on our cards.

  23. I get a reasonable price increase, but eliminating the annual subscription? If this blog doesn’t get the point across, look at your stock value falling. Peaked at the beginning of March at almost $40 and now $23 and falling… If you want to follow the fiasco that Netflix made, remember, your no Netflix… tons of other places to get music, like a radio :P You might want to gauge bringing back annual subscriptions at around $48 a year. For now I’m going to let everyone I recommended Pandora to, to look elsewhere. email me if you wise up.

  24. Time to try something new — my office, family and friends have lived with me and Pandora for years, time to introduce them all to something new. Loosing fans is not a good thing, they are the soul of an organization, bottom line I am sure it makes sense. The brands worth is a line item on the assets sheet — it will suffer as fans leave — might as well Groupon your services and see how long that lasts.

  25. So I did not get a reminder that my renewal was coming up, and now I am being asked for $4.99 a month, and not the ‘loyalty’ price, although my annual subscription ended a week ago? This seems a quite shady practice.

    I would pay $48 annually because I understand costs go up and I liked my pandora one service. I do not want to pay $3.99 a month (as others have said, I do not like month-to-month auto-renewals) and I am NOT going to pay $4.99 a month.

    Sorry Pandora, but the above practices leave very bitter feelings with your subscribers, and you are losing them. You may want to do something about it now, rather than after you lose your subscribers.

  26. Yep, me too – I’m gone at the end of the month! I’ve loved Pandora and have listened to it for hours per day for years, but no more. Price is too steep to renew my Pandora One and the ads are too intrusive on the free version.

  27. Hello Pandora Executives,
    Here’s how I see it. Get the money from the advertisers,.because you won’t be getting it from me. First off nearly doubling the subscription price that ridiculous.Bad Idea. Then to get rid of yearly subscriptions on top of it. Really bad Idea. Well I guess you guys will be another fad here now gone tomorrow in the annals of internet history. Good Bye Pandora. :(

    Regards
    Ernesto Peña

  28. It is almost like Pandora would rather sell ad space than have commercial free music. All of Pandora ads are super lame anyways. Pandora could at least encourage their ad sales dept to bring on entertaining ad campaigns and also cater specific ads to certain types of music. If this happened then ads might actually work. If an ad is not clever then that company would definetly not get my $$ and I guess neither will Pandora. My money is going to Spotify.

  29. I have subscribed to Pandora for several years. My subscription expires in 3 days. I logged in to renew it and see there is going to be some changes in the billing to mounthly. Not for me! The old $36 was bad enough now they want $48 and I can not pay annually. Even if I would deside to pay the $48 per year I’m not going to screw arounf with it every month. In 3 days I will be saying GOOD BYE to Pandora. Their costs should go down because I WILL NOT listen to it with the ads!
    Bye Bye Pandora!

  30. Too many blogs to read them all. But those that I have read are in agreement with me. All I want is an option to renew for an entire year, no matter what the inflated price is. I will NOT renew with a recurring monthly charge. Looks like I am having to move on as well. Bad business decision, Pandora. I suggest you get your act together in order to save your business. “Where there is abuse, there is opportunity.” Someone is going to soon eat your lunch.

  31. This is so stupid, you didn’t actually explain why we can no longer just buy the whole year. I hate monthly charges for subscriptions, it takes once to forget about it and it could cause other more important obligations to not clear an account (i.e electric bill) What once was a great way to get commercial free radio now sucks. Why not offer it? Why?
    “Hey valued customers, you are the reason we have made so much money and now in order for us to make even more we now must charge you more. And to show you how important you really are to our bottom line we are going from 48.00 per year to 60.00 per year. You can choose 4.99 per month or 60.00 per year”

    Don’t BS the customers cause we wont buy it, you have to increase costs ok fine but don’t whine and cry and then up the cost AND take away the most convenient way to pay for it.

  32. Hey Pandora, Just figure out what price you need annually to make money and charge me. I will not pay monthly no matter what. That is the dumbest decision I have ever heard — to not accept one’s money on an annual recurring basis — at any price ??? XM, itunes, phone, cable, electric … all will accept an “annual” payment.

  33. The $3.99 price is OK, but I refuse to have it debit my credit card monthly. Therefore, I am out of here. There are too many other options.

  34. Was going to subscribe, but all the others do not want a monthy recurring. One time annual would have been fine.

  35. Pandora has been my go to site for music. Your planed increased pricing will push me out the door, for work comp only pays so much. Besides the intolerable price increase, eliminating the yearly subscription forces me to find a replacement. I’m getting up in age; so many changes…. America is no longer the America of my youth. The first amendment has been eliminated by political correctness. Attacks have been made on others, especially the 2nd. Your restructuring of price and policy are yet another strike against what we use to call, with great pride: The American Lifes,
    Sadly, I say good-bye
    WanderingC’s

  36. When I was prompted to renew my yearly subscription, I was NOT given the option of the loyalty rate, and given that there is no longer a yearly option, I have decided to find another streaming music service. Best Wishes.

  37. As a paying subscriber for years, I cannot find a way to express how disappointed I am by this change. I have happily paid my yearly subscription but now if the price is going to double, I will certainly be looking at other options. Why should I pay twice as much when other competitors, many of which are FREE, are approaching and in some cases surpassing the amount and quality of Pandora’s content?

    My year’s subscription runs out around the new year, and if Pandora doesn’t change their direction on this, I doubt they will be getting any more of my money.

  38. I’ll be keeping you! You guys are ran through apple. Go to Walmart or target and get an iTunes gift or even online and purchase iTunes bucks if its that big of a deal with security and they’ll take it off that. That’s what I did. And what a rediculous excuse that you won’t know what your funds are every month… It’s 4 DOLLARS! I hardly think you’d notice it gone. The price of everything is going up. I’d still rather not listen to the annoying people on the radio or the same crap played over and over again!

    • Amy thats not the point ~ I don’t want anyone dipping into a funding source on a monthly basis. Sure, up the fee so what ~ keep the pay once and be done with option.

      It’s the boiling frog, turn up the heat slowly and eventually he cooks without realizing it. $4.99 to $5.99 and on and on

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