If you're a heavy user of Pandora, you won't like this news - the company has announced they're putting a limit on how much music you can listen to through their free app. There's now a 40-hour limit, which was pushed in thanks to the rise in royalty rates that Pandora must pay record companies.
If you'd like to listen to more than 40 hours of music per month, you can choose to subscribe to the Pandora One service. This service gives users unlimited listening, on top of a lack of advertisements. You can either choose this, or pay a one-time $0.99 fee to listen as long as you'd like for the rest of the month. Desktop users still have the ability to listen to unlimited music.
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.