Pandora One Subscription Changes

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.

Pandora

The Pandora Team http://www.pandora.com/

953 thoughts on “Pandora One Subscription Changes

  1. Wow, been paying for two Pandora One accounts for myself and one for may parents.

    My parent’s account has been a godsend, as they use it to listen to the oldies all the time.

    However if I have to make monthly payments I am not interested. I will merely cancel my subscriptions and move them to another streaming music service.

    I am severely disappointed as I have been using Pandora One since 2009.

    • I completely agree with all of the posts. There is no way I can continue to listen to Pandora with monthly charges and the huge increase in costs per year ($36 to $60). I love Pandora, but part of the appeal was the annual subscription. I have no interest in seeing a charge each month on my credit card. Sorry Pandora. Wish you would listen to your customer base.

  2. Define SLIMY: Get notifications from Pandora (as I’ve been a subscriber for eons) saying I qualify for a “loyalty” discount… Then I can’t login to their site or to my account.

    Very well – I’m out. Good luck peddling your poor business decisions on others.

  3. Like everyone else here, the $4.27 a month is worth Pandora, but I’m not going to pay month to month. I already have enough things to track without having to think about this. Sure my account balance is never that low but there are alternatives out there.

  4. Maybe one more comment will help you justify a change back to allowing an annual subscription. Like many onthers here, I understand and accept a pricing increase, but going monthly on a service you are charging less than $5/mo. on is simply alienating your subscriber base. I’ve been a loyal Pandora fan for many years, but I would now opt to pay more for Spotify if I am going to pay monthly. I hope that you will listen to your customers and slow the exodus that appears to be happening. Good luck, looks like it will be needed…

  5. I don’t know why they discontinued the annual subscription, even at an increased rate. But as a small business owner, I know that a prepaid annual subscription is a liability on the books. You count the payment as an asset when it arrives and for the next 11 months you have a liability because you owe service. Too much liability makes it difficult to get credit at a good rate. It’s not as simple a decision as some of you think.

    • That’s their problem, not mine. I’ve been paying annually since Pandora opened. I refuse to pay month to month. If they can’t continue yearly accounts (like every other biz) it’s bye bye Pandora. Moving on.

  6. i have been a yearly subscriber for many years, listen everyday, and this came out of nowhere – only after looking up what happened was i informed of the change. i have missed out on the 3.99 monthly reduced fee bc i did not renew on time – something that was not penalized previously. poor business decision on pandora’s end. why alienate loyal customers that want to pay you a lump sum up front?

  7. Huge mistake Pandora! I’ve been a loyal subscriber for 4 1/2 years now. I’ve sent in suggestions that have been implemented into the functionality of the design, and usability of the program. The look, with the extended artist list, and full page feel was an idea I sent in a few years ago and was implemented a few weeks after I got a letter from the president appreciating my loyalty…Now I feel like I’m getting screwed over. Never have I had a problem paying a yearly fee, but with you ditching that option to go to a monthly fee. I can’t do that! I can do the one time payment a year, but never a monthly basis. My cash flow doesn’t work that way! Might as well go to another service to get my music, grooveshark or spotify might be getting a new customer. Once my year is up, I’m out. This is a horrible business move, just about every service (Not just Music) has a yearly sign up option, that doesn’t force money out monthly. Great job and killing off your loyal subscriber’s that have built your company up, let you use our data to better hone your system, and on top of it all… PAID YOUR PAYCHECKS for the last 8 years… Great job. I’m out once my subscription is out.

  8. Cost is not my issue, Spotify charges $9.99 a month. My problem is that Pandora keeps repeating the same songs. I might just cancel and live with the commercials.

  9. Count me among the group that won’t be re-subscribing, after 3 years as a loyal subscriber. Don’t like the fact that the subscription is monthly now rather than yearly. I could understand if the price went up a few bucks, but not nearly double. Also, my re-subscribe email said the rate was 4.99 per month, yet the price at the top of this page says 3.99 per month. I never received a courtesy email BEFORE my existing subscription expired.

    Bad form Pandora, bad form.

    • To not receive a courtesy email enraged me!! All of a sudden I see on my bank statement, $3.99 charge for Pandora?? Forget that business! With the constant repeat of songs, limited skipping, and program bugs and errors I’ve been encountering, Pandora just lost another customer.

      They probably did this because too few people pay the annual charge. And they will get a bit more $$$ because of the ammount of people willing to shell out minimal amount of money for just a month or two of Pandora.

      And now Pandora gets money on the monthly. Instead of the slower flow of annual subscription renewals.

      Bad move Pandora. I’d rather listen for FREE, with ADS.

      • Sorry for the trouble and confusion around this, Jay. Every listener was sent an email notifying them about this change so yours may have been thrown into your spam folder. Our Listener Advocates would be more than happy to help you if you have any more questions or concerns: http://pdora.co/writeus -Katie

  10. I’ve been a user and paid subscriber since 2007, half of Pandora’s existence. I recently had to let my paid subscription lapse due to an unforeseen financial problem. Now that I can subscriber again I am greeted with a price hike and forced monthly subscriptions instead of annual. Guess I’ll take the four accounts I hold and gift and move to another option. Raditaz was a good service until they took a sabbatical year in the fall. They were a ad free service, unlimited listening, and had great library. After working on their system they will be returning in Fall 2014 to begin providing service again. More competition for Pandora, which already seems to be failing with subscriber comments above and the obvious falling stock price. Even Pandora’s investors are running! They proves bad business practice alone.

  11. Dear Pandora, been a paying ANNUAL member for 3 years until now. Today, I went to pay for my ANNUAL subscription, clicked cancel when I only saw a monthly option because I haven’t heard the news of your stupidity and forthcoming demise, and now I don’t even get the “loyalty” option to renew at $3.99 anymore, I must pay $4.99 if I want your service just like everyone else. Now this is a business expense for me and I do my own books. Do you really think I want to enter and reconcile 12 transactions into Quickbooks or one? Forget the price hike, how about the damn ANNOYANCE factor?!?! Goodbye, Pandora. It’s been nice knowing you. I’ve been complacent and haven’t bothered to check out other services because it’s been so comfy here. Well, you just gave me an excuse to wander and explore. I won’t be back until you fix your effing mess. Whose bright idea was this?

  12. I did not hear about this change to a monthly subscription until I opened Pandora this morning. At first I could not believe that the annual option was no longer available. So, thinking it must be a limitation of both the android and iPhone Pandora app, I launched Chrome to visit pandora.com to find that yearly payment option. And found it essentially impossible to use without choosing to upgrade or “no thanks”. Still believing there would be a way, I did manage to get the website rather than the auto-launch of the app (thanks Safari. Chrome, you suck), but found that the $3.99 option was gone. Seriously!? How does that qualify as a lapsed account!

    My iTunes account is not set up for automatic payment. Neither is my Google Play account. And I am not going to change that for Pandora. Nor do I wish to subject my credit cards either.

    Anyway, the Pandora app was playing in the background as I wrote this. And I thought back to my initial experience with Pandora two or three years ago. I had listened to the ad supported version up until the first add, was offered the free Pandora One trial, took it, and became a Pandora One subscriber minutes after the trial expired and the ads resumed.

    Today, sadly, I uninstalled the Pandora app as the first ad was playing. Boo.

  13. You raised your rates 66%! My subscription expired a couple weeks ago and I can’t renew at the discount rate any longer. You just lost me as a customer!

  14. Pandora management; Why wouldn’t you have learned from Netflix when they messed with subscription fees and lost a tremendous amount of subscribers. Then only later to revert back in order to bring back subscribers. Peace out; email me when you want me back.

  15. I’ve been listening to Pandora for a long time, and I love it. But I will no longer subscribe, and I will not listen to the ads. The increase is too much, and I will not pay montly. Bring back the annual subscription at a good rate, and I’ll come back. Goodbye, Pandora.

  16. Please bring back an annual subscription option….Love Pandora-Hate Monthly Payments…..I was an annual subscriber for the last 5 years….Don’t care if it cost more..Again Please bring an annual subscription……as is, I’m out.

    • Been with them (on a paid basis) for 6, and I too, will be gone once my sub runs out in June.
      I’m guessing once all the Annual sub folks run out, they’ll send us an email that they’re reinstating the yearly sub, but since we are all done, we wont qualify for the 3.99 rate, and will have to sign under the “new subscriber” rate of 4.99.

      Loyalty counts for $hit these days. Ridiculous.

  17. I was about to subscribe to Pandora One. Seriously. I’m ok with the increase to $5/month. Seriously. I am NOT OK, in a BIG way, with no annual option. SERIOUSLY. In fact, no annual option means no subscription for me at all. I will use the competition and hope that you realize the error of your ways.

  18. I am just getting around to renewing. But I see monthly payments. I am not renewing I do not want Pandora in my bank account every month. Its been really Thanks for the good years. This is sad.

  19. I couldn’t agree more with previously posted comments. Annual subscription is the way to go.

    The heavy, almost abusive, commercial play now turns me off Pandora entirely–seems like a marketing ploy to subject a significant price increase. $35/year to now over $60. As other post mentioned–there is heavy repetition on every station even without thumbing tracks (which often limits the variety).

    Great service learning Netflix’s faults the hard way. Maybe you’ll drop your price…but now at what cost?

    Disappointed overall with selection, business model transitions, and alienating consumer basis. Email me when you have retracted to your original model and intent.

    Drop major record labels and transition towards independent artists as Pandora had adopted early in their career. Don’t let the 3 major record labels push you into a greedy profit driven mind set. :(

  20. Yeah…have to agree…I HATE monthly charges. My utility bills, house payment, etc. is plenty for me to keep track of–I would rather pay once and be done. Also, my payment info changed after paying last year (for a year), and now I can’t get in on $3.99 anyway?? Not right. Shoot me an e-mail when you have an annual option. I get that cost go up, and I have no problem paying more, just not monthly.

  21. Clearly Pandora is trying to keep up with the thieves at Sirius. Hook you into a monthly credit card automatic billing/payment and then you’ll have to move mountains to get your account cancelled. Love Pandora and have been a long time listener/subscriber but this tact turns my stomach just as Sirius did. I finally was able to cancel Sirius and have never looked back. Won’t even listen during “free” weeks. Give me an annual renew and i’ll consider even at the higher rates……..stay monthly and…..I’m history.

  22. This is unbelievable to me. My yearly subscription just expired on May 18th and now I’m hit with monthly billing for $3.99 – WHAT?! Your substantiation for changing from a annual billing to a monthly billing holds no water. Raise the price of your annual membership for loyal customers to $47.00 AND play your game with monthly billing as a option for those who want it. This is ridiculous! You just lost another “loyal” Pandora One listener.

  23. How’s that $4.99 a month working out for you? Seems like a fart in church to me…

    Stinks to high heaven and no one wants to take responsibility for it…

    I hope the moron that brought this grand idea to fruitition gets the boot and is on to a great career with “would you like fries with that” someplace in the dialog.

    On to the next great thing that someone will surely bugger up.

  24. After years of being a big supporter of Pandora, this might be what pushes me out. The music selection has always been limited with other venues offering *5 times* more music variety. I have stations one which I *never* hear anything new. What’s kept me has been the reasonable price. If I’m going to have to pay more, then I’ll go with the service that gives me more variety.

  25. Same as above. Never received an email about renewal. The subscription just quit. And like the other loyal listeners the monthly payment only option is not an option I will opt for. 66% increase is absurd. I’ll just deal with the commercials. Quello has video and while it does cost the zame $4.99 a month they at least have the sense to offer a discount @ $44.99 per year for annual subscriptions. Pull ur head out ur……..

  26. I agree with all the above comments. Bad decision Pandora. Bring an annual membership back. I do my own books as well, and do not want an extra 11 transactions to account for. Plus your repeated songs have left something to desire for sometime. 3 year member lost.

  27. Well that was an easy decision. My annual plan just expired. I was getting ready to renew it.

    You just lost 3 subscriptions. No annual payment plan???

    Not a good business decision at all Pandora. Going to lose some serious business

    I will pay some extra why just blanket say no to annual payment???

  28. The lack of an annual option is baffling since credit card processors typically charge a fee on each transaction. Unless of course your plan is to ‘reward’ your best subscribers by passing that fee on to us each month. Great business model Pandora.

    The only good thing about the monthly charge is that I wont be tied in to your for a year once I decide which of your competitors offers the best annual plan.

  29. I’ll echo everybody else on here (and I don’t EVER take the time to comment on things such as this), I went to open my PandoraONE App on my desktop at work two days ago to find that I “no longer have a subscription”. So I began looking into it. 1) I JUST renewed my annual subscription in February and am now being asked to pay an add’l $3.99 a month, not cool Pandora. I’ve stuck by you through all the other streaming services and was one of the original users. I love the “set it and forget it” aspect of the service and use it everywhere. But now, I’m just frustrated and am considering moving not only my business account (4 retail locations) but my personal account to another service because you are not considering your users, but your wallets.

  30. Like everyone else I refuse to keep track of small monthly payments. I pay my Amazon Prime account annually and much prefer to do the same with Pandora. Looks like I’ll be going elsewhere and can’t recommend Pandora anymore. Also I won’t be listening anymore sense I prefer high quality audio.

  31. Hard to understand the logic behind monthly billing versus an annual prepaid subscription. I would think just the record keeping alone would be costly. Maybe there is a master plan but no way I am going to make a monthly payment of 4.99. I just logged in today to buy my first subscription. But no thanks.

  32. Ditto the above – my tablet suddenly displayed a message about upgrading, but since my subscription is current I ignored it. Then the ads started, now I can’t get the $3.99 price even though I’m still logged in on my PC.

    This sucks. I’ll do the $3.99 price, but if I’m excluded simply because I cancelled a message on my tablet and am stuck with $4.99 I’ll do without.

  33. I understand you need more money .
    So do the rest of us.
    But being willing to do away with annual subscriptions at the cost of loosing customers makes no sense.
    Is pandora management that stupid?
    I ll give you one month to get it together and then Iam out of here!

  34. Not happy about the monthly charge. Please bring back the annual payment. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the annual charge. Your product is great, but there are other options out there now, not like when I first signed up…

  35. Please reconsider adding the discounted yearly subscription. I will sign up again if an annual option is reintroduced. To get rid of the annual subscription without fair and just warning was not a sound business decision in my opinion. Existing customers are being punished and will go elsewhere. A discount of $5-10 would make it worth while and easier on bookkeeping on my part and Pandora’s…

  36. I ended my subscription but it went strait to $4.99 monthly. I didn’t get any type of discounted rate as it says. I love Pandora, but I can not afford to pay $60 a year for a subscription, I thought $40 was a little much but worth it. I guess I will just go back to listening to commercials or just find something else.Even if it was a discounted rate for the year it would be worth it… and its nice to only pay once… I get all the reasons but seems like with all the listeners your loosing more by ending the yearly subscription. I guess notify me if it comes back….

  37. Don’t not want to make monthly payments. Bring back the annual subscription or I will not subscribe (Upgrade). It is a downgrade to make monthly payments!

  38. My guess is that pandora is generating way more than $30-50/year selling ads per subscription…that’s the only way it would make sense to not want us 3 million commercial-haters out there. After all it’s only about 1.3% of their customer base. Oh well, there are so many other options now. Peace!

    • WOW….all of a sudden I got a raft of emails in my inbox from this forum, obviously generated from an earlier post. I’ve had numerous direct emails discussions with Ian and kind, yet scripted, as he might be it’s clear that Pandora doesn’t give a rat’s ass about customer billing convenience. I agree, I’d pay more for the service but WILL NOT get into that abyss of ever increasing monthly hi-jacking of my credit card account. Consequently, I’m gone!!! With that in mind let’s turn this forum into “Pandora Alternatives”. Forget price, let’s look at what might be offered, annual billing, formats, selection, etc. and gain from each other’s experience. We’re all big boys and girls and can make a decision as to whether or not any other service justifies the price. I’ve been out there on the LOYAL Pandora island for a long time and don’t know what is in the rest of the world. I’ve tested Aupeo, Spotify, 8-Track but not extensively. WHERE DO WE GO FOLKS?

  39. Please bring back the annual subscription option. Or at least add a semi annual option. I fail to see how this is not cost effective to the company. I love Pandora and use it almost daily but I don’t like monthly payments. It makes it feel like I am racking up credit card bills rather than staying debt free like I try to do.

  40. Don’t you folks understand… If there isn’t a yearly rate, everyone will have to pay the higher rate every time the rate goes up… You are never locked in at a price for more than 1 month. How long before the rate goes up??

  41. I was going to subscribe (finally) to Pandora, but I am not interested in paying a monthly fee. I hope you go back to a yearly subscription option. I will subscribe if you do, but until then I guess I will hold off on paying for Pandora.

  42. Add me to the list of people who will not renew unless there is an annual payment option. I’m fine with the rate increase, but I refuse to pay month to month. I’ll go find another service who will be willing to take my money all at once for the year and not 12 individual payments.

  43. I have been an annual subscriber for 3+ years and just learned of the subscription changes (two months after they were announced) because Pandora never notified me personally. I would gladly pay a $50 annual fee for the service, but looking at it on my statement every month makes me re-think. I will enjoy the service until the end of my subscription in November, by which time I am sure a competitor will offer a comparable annual subscription service. Seems like a sign you are in trouble if you can’t promise a full year of music in exchange for my one-time payment. I LOVE Pandora, and I will miss it…thanks for the music!!

  44. I’m with everybody else…and it’s a BIG everybody else! I was taking care of a family health crisis and my annual subscription expired, logged in to renew to find there’s no yearly option. If you need to raise the rates that’s one thing, but to remove the yearly subscription option makes absolutely no sense. I’m like everybody else, I don’t want to have to keep records of $4.99 a month some indefinite amount of time. We customers should have the choice and clearly it has enraged all of us to take the option away. Bring back the yearly subscription option Pandora, you’re about to lose all your loyal customers.

  45. I would rather pay an annual fee, not interested in monthly charges. I was going to sign up for another year, but hit cancel instead.

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