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. kc
    March 26, 2013 at 7:30am
    Why wouldn't you just increase advertizing to us 4%ers? I like Pandora but hopefully for them I wont find another service that does get by on advertizing before the end of the month. This is like a radio station or TV station saying you know we don't want you watching our adds for the rest of the month...Dumb... so obviously I heart radio or slacker here I come.
  2. John
    March 26, 2013 at 9:21am
    Not impressed. If you ads don't generate enough revenue and you can't entice folks to sign up for Pandora One, figure out another alternative. The end users is why you exist. Don't tax us for your in ability to raise revenue accordingly.
  3. Falen
    March 27, 2013 at 2:50pm
    Honestly, I've been a pretty avid listener of Pandora for years. It's like listening to the radio. The only plus is that you get to skip a song or two that you absolutely hate. I use my phone at work for the whole office to listen to, or when I don't want to share, I listen in my cubicle and jam out. Therefore, I do listen to ALOT more music that you're average person. I can say that I am personally disgusted that you have done this. IF there is only 4% of people who listen to fourty hours per month of music using YOUR product, YOUR app, then why change it? It makes no sense. Sincerly, A loyal person to you, now will find my musical need else where such as iHeartRadio
  4. Mike
    March 29, 2013 at 5:00am
    Sad. In an age where we are breaking away from desktops and laptops, I too will be out. From work, to school lunch, to office, commuting, to dinner and to bedtime, pandora has always been there on my phone. Even my school gives us ipads as our main computer. I realize that you are thinking, then pay a bit. But there are too many alternatives that are offered for free. I'll just have to find one that works best for it won't be pandora. Great run!
  5. tim
    March 30, 2013 at 11:23am
    I have been listening to Pandora for a while now. I mostly listen to it at work on my phone so I easily hit the 40 hours a month. However I already pay quite a high price for data, so I'm more likely have to look into a different radio program.
  6. christinabell25
    March 30, 2013 at 1:39pm
    It looks like the odds are stacked against Pandora..I wonder how many people sat around a table and came up with this idea. Pandora's popularity rating has dropped substantially in less than a month. I wonder how much this is going to cost Pandora in the long run? I wonder if all those people sitting around the table took this into consideration?
  7. Kelsey
    March 30, 2013 at 5:24pm
    seriously? If its only 4% of users (which I'm one of them) Why is it this big of a deal? There must be more than 4%. I rather switch than to see I only have 5 hours left of listening. I've loved pandora since the begging and this is totally stupid. Technically, this isn't really free until you reach your crappy 40 hours per month limit. I'll switch to iheartradio because this simply isn't fair.
  8. ian e
    March 31, 2013 at 12:10am
    Been using Pandora for two years now..loved it..,I use way over the 40 hour limit on my phone and I have a data plan that limits my use so I use it on wifi as well as on the network.. I would totally subscribe because the fee is honestly not that much for how much I enjoy the music and the app but the thing that makes me say fu Pandora is that even if I subscribe I have a skip limit but wow AD free listening no way if I pay the fee I should be able to skip 60 times a day and have no problem before this listening limit I used 90 + hours a month so now I reached my limit for this month so BYE PANDORA hello I hear radio!
  9. Deb
    March 31, 2013 at 1:28pm
    I just paid 36 bucks. Yeah. Ad-free baby. If you listen to it a lot....just pay. Buy what you love.
  10. mickey
    March 31, 2013 at 2:35pm
    I'm perfectly fine with the whole limiting the amount of hours for all users, because I understand the reasoning behind it. I just wish that you had some way to show how much I'm using so I can keep track of my hours so I don't use all of my hours in the first half of the month because I am defiantly up there in the 4% bracket.

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