This week we will begin communicating directly with a small number of our listeners as we introduce a 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening.

Most of you reading this will never hit the limit. In fact, it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month.

That said, limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission so we wanted to share a quick explanation. Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption.

For listeners who do hit the limit, we have a variety of options available to keep the music you love flowing. Listen for free for as many hours as desired on desktop and laptop computers; pay $0.99 for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month, or subscribe to Pandora One for unlimited listening and no advertising.

In short, this is an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora. We will be sure to alert any of our listeners that start getting close to the 40 hour limit. As always, your feedback is welcome.

Thanks for listening,
Tim (Founder)


  1. Doug
    March 21, 2013 at 8:37am
    This is a really bad idea, why not just increase the ad rate? You're simply going to push listeners to Spotify.
  2. Broooozzz
    March 21, 2013 at 10:21am
    I don't see how this is really fair for those who can't pay for the raido, isn't that why you call it a free raido station? I don't i'm just throwing my 2 cents in because i just hit the limit today and i didn't even get a warning before i hit it. Wouldn't make sense to just contiune using advertesments insteaded of limit users who can't pay but listen to your music for you to get money?
    March 21, 2013 at 1:05pm
    Well apparently I'm one of the "less than 4%" of listeners on pandora as I just received this BOGUS "5hrs Remaining to listen on my mobile device" !!! I AM ENRAGED AS I DO NOT OWN A DESKTOP, LAPTOP, TABLET, or ANY OTHER DEVICE CAPABLE OF PLAYING PANDORA BESIDES MY iPHONE 4S, which happens to be THE ONLY option to continue listening "for free", or I can "upgrade to pandora one" for a monthly fee, or I'm able to pay $0.99 to continue listening on my phone for rest of the month..... FIRST OF ALL, I've been a member of Pandora since its first release on App Store, so for over 3yrs now, AND NOW IM GETTING HIT UP FOR CASH.... Doesn't seem right to me!? I only own a motorcycle for transportation and therefore do not have a radio so I have to use Pandora to be able to hear music while I ride, I use it at home because I can't afford a stereo and now I'm being told I HAVE TO PAY TO LISTEN!? EFF YOU PANDORA EXECUTIVES!? WHAT'S THE EFFIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LISTENING ON MY OHONE AND LISTENING ON MY COMPUTER? IM STILL LOGGED INTO SAME ACCOUNT!?
  4. Ashley
    March 21, 2013 at 9:00pm
    Considering it said I reached my limit even though I've been phone less for a while now I don't really understand how that works, but oh well. I switched to aol radio anyway. :)
    March 22, 2013 at 3:59am
    So I just found out I am one of the top 4% of users and seeing as how I've been using Pandora since its first introduction, and that my iPhone 4S is the ONLY device I own that can stream Pandora, I only own a motorcycle for transportation (so no radio but I have Bluetooth speakers in helmet) , and music just flat out keeps me in a good mode throughout the day.... So I pretty much rely on Pandora yet feel its COMPLETELY unfair that they are ONLY CHARGING THE TOP 4%. If they charged everyone $0.05-$0.10 instead of just the 4% paying $0.99, that would solve all their issues..... I don't have a single issue with paying, its not the amount that matters, its the principle that they are being PREJUDICE towards who HAS TO PAY.... So hopefully they can revisit this topic and figure something out that treats EVERYONE EQUALLY!!
    1. nuttypr0f
      April 03, 2013 at 6:16pm
      i only listen about 10-20 hours a month, why should i pay the same as you if you want to use it for multiple hours a day? they're only charging the higher users because the other users don't use it enough to cause the higher royalties to be an issue... it's just like cell phone plans, if i text 20 times a month and you text 2,000, why should we both pay the same price?
    2. Mikey
      April 12, 2013 at 5:43pm
      Hell yeah man I'm with you!!
  6. Ben
    March 22, 2013 at 2:23pm
    So, if it's still unlimited for computer use, does that imply the royalty costs are different listening on cell phones? Your advertising revenue should ostensibly cover the time one listens to the music, ie, shouldn't the ratio be the same? This sounds like a way to quash unlimited data plans from cell providers, personally, because the logic makes no sense. Pandora is an awesome app, but with a 40 hour limit, I'll be forced to exercise my free market rights.
  7. Bye
    March 23, 2013 at 10:40am
    Pandora's nice, but really better than its competitors (Spotify) enough to justify paying. I've used Pandora since its launch, but I'm out.
  8. Morgan
    March 23, 2013 at 12:30pm
    I use it 40 plus hours a week during work... this will be the end of my Pandora use. Instead of waiting around to get cut off I'll just switch over to I Heart Radio. Good run.
  9. dave
    March 24, 2013 at 7:50am
    I've been cut off - that means from free music and from ads. Just removed the Pandora app from my phone!
  10. Matt
    March 25, 2013 at 11:03am
    Hey Tim I already know a few people (not my self) who have switched to Iheart Radio.

Comments are closed.