Pandora Introduces Monthly Listening Cap: Free Until 40 Hours

28 February 2013, 6:30 am EST By Prarthito Maity email: Mobile & Apps

Pandora fans and listeners seem to grow almost every day, and now it seems like they are set for some not-so-pleasing news.

Per reports, the popular free and personalized radio streaming service Pandora has announced that the company is set to introduce a monthly listening cap for non-paying mobile users.

According to the new plans made by Pandora, users will get exactly 40 hours of music each month. After the allotted 40 hours, Pandora will ask users to either pay 99 cents to cover the remainder of the month or stick to the radio service via desktop.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren, however, is hopeful that the new plan will work out for the betterment of both the listeners and the company. He states: “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.”

This is not the first time that Pandora has come with such a plan as earlier the company used to enforce a similar limit for desktop users, although it later decided to abandon the policy in 2011. However, if the user is not willing to agree with just the 40 hours of listening cap, there is always the option of subscribing to Pandora One, which also carries the benefit of ad-free listening.

However, Westergren is quite aware of the current situation and states that “limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission,” and so the company wants to clear every doubt the user may have with the new arrangement.

Westergren has directed his blame towards the rising licensing costs and states: “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 studying the company’s overall listening, it has been decided that “a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption.”

The company also added that the decision was made in “an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora.”

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