Pandora introduces 40-hour monthly limit on mobile listening due to rising royalty costs

By , Feb 27, 2013

pandora

Popular internet radio service Pandora announced today that it is implementing a new 40-hour-per-month limit on mobile listening. The announcement was made this afternoon via the company’s blog, by founder Tim Westergren.

For most folks, this won’t mean anything. Westergren says that Pandora’s average users spend approximately 20 hours per month listening to Pandora across all devices. But for the 4% or so that go over, you’ll have to start paying up…

From Westergren’s blog post entitled ‘A note to our listeners.’

“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.”

The reason for the new cap? Money, of course. Apparently Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, and continue to rise. The company is hoping this new plan will offset some of those extra costs.

Starting next month, users who hit the new limit will have a few options. One, they can continue to listen to Pandora on a computer. Two, they can pay a one-time $0.99 fee to keep listening on mobile for the remainder that month. Or three, sign up for Pandora One.

Pandora one, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is Pandora’s premium listening service. It’s $3.99 per month, or $36 per year, and it offers users higher quality audio, no advertisements, and other features—similar to that of Spotify or Rdio.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540767290 Andrieux Querido

    Thats why i love pandoraskip. on cydia

    • Damani Brown

      ;) I agree LOL

      • bcsc

        I must wonder if Tarina shares your opinion?

    • http://twitter.com/AlbertoMS89 Alberto Martinez

      Pandora Downloader has pandoraskip integrated plus you can download the songs :)

      • Damani Brown

        Some don’t want to download. We just want to skip. :D

    • KewlDewd

      How does that help you here? When you hit the limit I’m guessing it’s still going to cut you off. As far a they’re concerned you’re a regular free account user.

      • adam lompis

        I believe you are absolutely right! Kind of pisses me off I must say..I’ve been using pandora for years and they just send me the email telling me I’m in the top 4% who will “more than likely” hit the 40 hours. I understand its not much to pay, but this is the reason why I use pandora.. I don’t pay for another music service I use it as my primary music source. Idk, just upsets me. -_-

      • J M

        Really 99cents a month to listen to more than 40 hours of pandora upsets you?

      • adam lompis

        Yeah I kinda sounded like a jerk… I half read it, as .99cents per each song you listen too after 40 hours…my apologies. .99cents a month is actually not bad.

      • http://twitter.com/burlow burlow

        40 hours is roughly 600 songs. I think asking users to pay for just one of those songs is completely reasonable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Carranza/100000844163571 Marco Carranza

      thats unlimited skips not unlimited listening… after those 40hrs you cant listen to pandora even if you have that plug in

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562065068 Justin Amberson

    Didn’t they do this in the past?

    Recording industry is shooting itself in the foot by raising rates

  • MagicDrumSticks

    I wonder if this will be server side. The first thought that came to my mind was “Pandora Downloader will fix this!”

    • http://twitter.com/klouud Timothy Polumbo

      good point. love Pandora Downloader!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaekyungwon Jay Won

    Songza

  • http://www.facebook.com/zacksloane Zachary Sloane

    So if I am reading right, this won’t affect Pandora One users, only the free/ad based users?

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      Correct. Pandora One users will not be affected

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.wayman.7 Craig Wayman

    Seeeee, record companies were crying poor house a while back and because of iTunes and other digital downloading sites costs are back up again, and this is why piracy is so rampid. If we were actually paying $2.99 for a movie instead of $19.99 for a DVD or $39.99 for a blu-ray maybe people would buy more. But until then…. Keep up ripping off. Stop the price gouging!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

      No way am I going to pay 40$-70$ for a blu ray movie that I’d watch just once. And in the EU(somewhere) we don’t even have netflix and similar services.

    • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

      That’s why you rent them.

  • http://twitter.com/klouud Timothy Polumbo

    time to start using pandora and songza to fill the gap

  • ap3604

    The IDB article above should read straight from the Pandora site:
    “pay $0.99 for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month”
    not
    “they can pay a one-time $0.99 fee to keep listening on mobile”
    So as not to confuse your readers into thinking that they just need to pay $0.99 as a one-time fee that lets them listen past 40 hours forever. It’s only for that particular month.

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      You’re right. I edited the post accordingly. Thank you for pointing it out.

  • Guest

    Its ok i

  • Zac

    Its cool with me i use spotify now

  • Cam

    Have two accounts, multiple emails, this is a simple fix. There had been a similar limit before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    I prefer the Songza app, no adds at all. Plus pandora gets to repetitive for me.

  • notewar

    How about guvera? I really wish there is a downloader for this

  • ridonkulous

    I guess now each one of my iDevices will get it’s own acct.
    BTW PandoraDownloader rocks!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    looks like pandora needs some competition

    • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

      It’s not Pandora. It’s the record labels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Jerkins/100000284847450 Michael Jerkins

    8tracks FTW

  • http://twitter.com/amardeep504 Amar

    I guess thats why i use Songza ;)

  • Clad

    I think a lot of people are misinterpreting what apps like Pandora Downloader does. It is strictly a client-level tweak. It allows for users to bypass the client level restrictions like limited skipping and ads. The added benefit is that one can download as many songs as one wants.

    Pandora’s new time limit restriction is server-based. It doesn’t matter what device one uses or what tweaks are enabled. The 40-hour cap applies. How can I be so sure? Well, this morning, I received an email from Pandora stating that I was approaching my 40-hour limit for March (I commute so yeah, I listen to a lot of music). When I got into my office and opened Pandora on my iPad, I received a pop up stating, “This account or device has 5 hours left of free mobile listening in March.” This tells me that I basically only have today left of free listening. When I opened Pandora on my Android phone, I received the same pop up.

    Furthermore, it does not look like creating another account will resolve the issue. The warning message states, “This account or device…” I’m presuming that if I were to create a separate account and open it on either my iPad or Android phone, I would still receive the same warning.

    Looks like it is time to find a Pandora alternative.

    • Clad

      Just as a follow-up, I received the following email from Pandora this morning.

      “You can listen to Pandora again. We’re writing to let you know that, starting today, you can listen to Pandora on your mobile device again. All of your music is waiting for you, so come back now to enjoy!Just a reminder that Pandora gives you 40 hours of free mobile listening per month. If you want to listen more than 40 hours a month, you have three options:1.Subscribe to Pandora One for $3.99 per month for unlimited listening, no ads, fewer interruptions and more.2.If you run out of hours in any given month, you can pay $.99 to listen for the rest of the month (you’ll still have advertising). This is a one-time fee; we won’t charge your credit card again.3.Listen on your computer, which is always unlimited.Thanks again for listening and welcome back!–The Pandora Team”

      The subject line was. “Your Free Mobile Hours Have Reset.” So this is definitely a server side restriction and there is nothing a client side tweak can do to circumvent it.

      I VPN into my home network and stream all of personal collection that way. The only reason I am going to use Pandora is in conjunction with Pandy and record every single track I can for the 40 hour limit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kory.kasper Kory Kasper

    is it bad i hit the limit on the 4th?

  • disqus_eYsUurXG5P

    If you have root access you can modify the apk and change the apps permissions with lucky patcher…in this case you want to deny it access to the phones “read state”…then Pandora can’t identify your device thereby giving u unlimited listening time…this does work…i hit the 40 hour limit a week ago and I’m still listening for free :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Carranza/100000844163571 Marco Carranza

    why is it only for mobile devices?

  • Andrew Beyer

    There is a work around the 40 hour limit on android… ROOT is required to install. You will need to flash an (open-source) PDroid patch. See http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1357056 for download and more info.
    Once you install “PDroid Manager” load the app, and find “Pandora” and block all access except internet.
    now Pandora can’t tell the difference between your phone and a hole in the ground!

    enjoy unlimited hours of pandora!

  • Brian C.

    This isn’t new. This is the way it was when Pandora first came online. Free listeners were only allowed 40 hours of listening per month.

    What they didn’t make public during this change is the fact that Pandora One subscribers now have a daily skip limit per 24-hour period. It is higher than the 12-skip-per-day limit the free users must abide by, but I have not heard an actual number yet. This straight from Pandora support when responding to a separate issue I was having with my Pandora One account.

  • Luis Romero

    If you have two emails just make two accounts and wawla u have 80 hours and if you have even more emails means more accounts and hours

  • jose avendano jr

    I love my Oldies But Goodies ;)

  • TEE LOVER

    Pandora skips no longer works,anyone else have any other info on this