UPDATE:  You’ve asked and we listened.  We are excited to announce that as of today, December 2, 2014, the option to be billed annually is back and available for purchase from your computer.  We’re constantly working to make Pandora One the best possible experience and we are dedicated to providing you with the best personalized radio in the world.  Thank you for your passion for our service and for your support.

For more information on the annual plan click here.


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.


  1. Kerry P
    March 21, 2014 at 9:30am
    This is not OK. Doing away with the yearly subscription is unacceptable. I actually give this subscription each year to my kids at Christmas and have for multiple years. I will be looking for a service that offers a yearly plan versus the forced month to month. Shame on you for stating this only affects a small percentage of your users. It is the same as saying - "Pandora does not CARE about 3.3 million paying users." The rate increase makes sense, the removal of the yearly plan is a bad business decision. Looks like you just handed several new accounts to a competitor.
    1. khrisztian
      March 22, 2014 at 1:08pm
      You could buy a pandora gift subscription right now for $36 and extend the current expiration date for one year (+ remaining subscription)..
      1. angela
        August 05, 2014 at 5:37pm
        how and where? i dont see that option anywhere only on the target website
    2. Joe
      March 23, 2014 at 6:04pm
      I just came back to the site to renew my yearly membership and am very disappointed to find that this is no longer an option. I agree with other posts here, that a 33% increase is unreasonable, and I also do not like the idea of recurring, automatic charges each month. $36 was a price I felt fair for a year of add-free listening. Almost $50 isn't a cost I will pay for the convenience - nor will I go on a month-to-month plan. I'll switch services to go ad-free. This is a bummer, Pandora. Your post mentions increased royalty costs over the last 5 years. I wonder, though: In that same time period, certainly your number of subscriptions, both paid and unpaid, have also increased dramatically? And following, your leverage to raise prices on advertisers has also increased dramatically? With about 247 million "free" subscriptions, certainly your ad-based revenue has boomed? Why increase prices on "only a small percentage of [your] listeners" (about 3 million in 250 million, in your terms)? Bring back the $36 yearly subscription. No more, no less. Do right by your loyal customers - and we'll do right by you. Otherwise, you can count on word-of-mouth recommendations, social media, and real dollars to switch to a more reasonable service. Best Regards.
    3. Jeff
      April 02, 2014 at 7:29am
      Yep, agreed. Think of your customers not just your desire for a steady stream of monthly dollars coming in. Manage your yearly budget or I predict you will lose customers. And what's up "I'm a subscriber" and all of a sudden I'm being asked to type in my e-mail and password every time I want to listen. Pain in the behind, somebody is overthinking this stuff...... keep it simple $%#@
  2. twodonnell
    March 21, 2014 at 9:43am
    Alyssa, is it true that one-year *gift* subscriptions are still available for $36?
    1. Ira A
      March 23, 2014 at 3:54pm
      I think this is bad business. I enjoy Pandora, but anything other than a once-a-year subscription is just not going to work for me. As others have pointed out, you are opening ourself up to a data breach. You are opening yourself up to a loss of dedicated, annual subscribers. Your price increase, while understandable, far exceeds the "value" with your product. You should focus more on your customer base and less on your stock price / Wll Street expectations, etc. Without loyal customers willing to pay a fair price for a product, there will be no Pandora.
      1. etiu
        April 07, 2014 at 3:41pm
        Monthly doesn't work for me either ~*~ Makes no sense.
  3. RSAS
    March 21, 2014 at 9:59am
    Have enjoyed Pandora for the past couple if years. Was definitely worth the $36 a year for the ad free option. Elected not to use iTunes when it was launched despite the lower cost ad free option. I am not opposed to paying more but a 33% increase on tour part with no annual option makes iTunes Radio half the price and they have a substantially larger catalog to boot. The choice to on whether or not to renew Pandora is pretty obvious at this point. Hate to say good bye but it looks like I will.
  4. catintp
    March 21, 2014 at 10:11am
    Pandora would need to make some changes to keep my business: * Let me ban "live" versions of songs * Let me ban artists I don't like * Let me create stations whose selection criteria are respected, without cross-contamination from other stations * Let me specify the degree to which I like or dislike or hate a song, to improve my recommendations * Create an algorithm that does not swing wildly between crazy, random juxtaposition of differing styles and the other extreme of the "filter bubble" that plays the same 8 songs by Chicago in a loop. If you want me to pay more for Pandora One, it has to suck less. Pandora seems like a failed experiment. Unless you want to hear Scorpion on a jazz channel, and George Strait on a Scorpion station, that is. Maybe that's OK at times. But when it isn't OK, it is really annoying. Hearing all this, Pandora?
  5. Armando
    March 21, 2014 at 12:06pm
    Yikes! That's a big hit on us annual subscribers. Going from $36 to $48 a year doesn't feel as a discount price...it's a 33% increase!!!. Several months ago you guys made some changes to the free subscription by removing the monthly time limit; that was IMO the mayor advantage why users made the decision to become paid subscribers (I listen to +100hrs a month). After that change the only tangible advantage of paid-vs-free became the ad-free experience (additional skips and fewer timeouts are overrated); paying ~$50 a year to have ads removed seems a bit overpriced. If anything, I believe this change will result in many Pandora One Annual Subscribers change to the free option, which will end in you guys losing money. And @Alyssa, I will share my thought with your Product Team. I do believe Pandora is an awesome service but, as other users have mentioned in the comments, other options have become available that offer very similar features with lower costs. This doesn't seem like a smart move, at least not to us loyal customers.
    1. Bob
      April 01, 2014 at 1:40pm
      So agreed this will sadly be the death of Pandora! You have now caused hundreds of thousands of once LOYAL listeners to search for a better alternative , and sorry for Pandora it's not like it once was Pandora, you DO have competition now ! Pretty sure this a bad business move.
  6. mandin82
    March 21, 2014 at 12:14pm
    Yikes! That's a big hit on us annual subscribers. Going from $36 to $48 a year doesn't feel as a discount price...it's a 33% increase!!!. Several months ago you guys made some changes to the free subscription by removing the monthly time limit; that was IMO the mayor advantage why users made the decision to become paid subscribers (I listen to +100hrs a month). After that change the only tangible advantage of paid-vs-free became the ad-free experience (additional skips and fewer timeouts are overrated); paying ~$50 a year just to have ads removed seems a bit overpriced. If anything, I believe this change will result in many Pandora One Annual Subscribers like myself change to the free option, which will result in you guys losing money. And @Alyssa, I will share my thoughts with your Product Team. Thanks for the link.
  7. Joseph Hull (@the_darkboo)
    March 21, 2014 at 12:42pm
    Been a subscriber for years, and don't mind the price increase, but i only pay with the yearly option. I do not want a reoccurring monthly bill. If you don't offer a yearly option, i will be cancelling my service. When you limit option, you loose customers.
  8. Robert Branch
    March 21, 2014 at 12:55pm
    Dear Sir or Madam: I read yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that you will be going to a monthly subscription fee starting sometime later this year. I am a Pandora One annual subscriber and have been one for five years now. I enjoy your service greatly and use it at work to help me concentrate. I am an 'ideal' customer for your service as I am a college professor and community leader. I am also not poor. I am also not stupid when it comes to business as I teach entrepreneurial skills, with a heavy emphasis on e-commerce. I do not mind paying a one-time annual fee. I would not mind paying a slight price increase this year. Your rates appear to be going from $39.99 annually to $48.00 or thereabouts for long-term subscribers. Frankly, I do not want to pay you a monthly 'rent'. I do not want you tapping my checking account that often. I don't want anybody tapping my checking account on an 'automatic' basis. There is simply too much opportunity for fraud and misdirection with computer based services. The less contact that is software directed, the better, in my opinion. The recent experience with Target, Inc. and the hack of their customer accounts through automatic billing services is an example. If you continue with your monthly subscription plans, I want to inform you that I probably will not be renewing my subscription for next year. I will find another service, and there are choices in the market that match what you currently provide me. I will do this regretfully as I do enjoy your service, as my long-term subscription indicates. However, I will not subject myself to increased risk for financial fraud and misappropriation by committing to a monthly, automatic draft subscription service. Finally, please realize that although I may be one of a small handful of customers who is responding to your plans (or is even aware of them), I am probably not alone. Also, in my estimation, your margins are too thin, your customer base is too small, your annual new subscription and renewal rate is too low, and your paid advertising side of the business has too much competition (and it is increasing every month) for you to be able to lose too many customers like myself. Losing 5% of your base of customers like myself would probably be enough to turn you from a barely profitable enterprise to a historical footnote in e-commerce history. Think about it. My uncle, who trained me as an auto mechanic when I was a teenager had a saying. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
  9. Andy
    March 21, 2014 at 3:29pm
    Please bring back the annual subscription with a small saving for the annual customers. The increase is OK but annual is more easy to me.
    1. Andrew Fidel
      March 26, 2014 at 11:14am
      Agreed 100%, plus people are less likely to stop the subscription if it only happens once a year and the credit card companies take a significant chunk to do small transactions. Unless they are expecting another large price increase in the next year it seems to make significantly more sense for everyone involved to allow the annual option.
  10. Rick
    March 21, 2014 at 4:10pm
    I too hate the monthly access to my account. We don't need another credit card / data breach like at Target because you guys aren't as secure as you think. Plus the 33% increase doesn't pass the smell test. Are you kidding me? How about something reasonable like 8-10%. Or a rate reduction for long time subscribers especially those willing to pay for a year upfront. Wake up you guys.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Please complete all required fields.
Required fields marked with *. No worries, your email address will not be published.
Leave a reply