Pandora To Impose 40 Hour Monthly Free Mobile Listening Limit

Pandora has announced that they will begin imposing a 40 hour free monthly mobile listening limit on users of their free music streaming service due to rising royalty costs for the music.

Users who access Pandora via desktop computers and other internet connected devices will face no such limits for the time being.  Mobile users who reach the 40 hour free limit can pay $0.99 for access the rest of the month or subscribe to Pandora’s One service to regain access.

Until a couple of years ago, Pandora had a 40 hour free monthly listening limit for all users.  Then they dropped it in response to competition from other services like Spotify.  Now it’s slowly coming back.

It sucks to see a service I love entering its death throes.  Pandora is the best music discovery service out there.  I understand why the music industry doesn’t like file sharing. I don’t understand why they are intent on destroying companies that pay for their content, like Pandora and SiriusXM, by charging them exorbitant royalty rates.

[C]ompany co-founder Tim Westergren said “limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission.” Pandora noted its per-track royalty rates have jumped more than 25% over the last three years, including a 9% increase in 2013 alone, and are scheduled to rise an additional 16% over the next two years.

[…]

The company had 65.6 million active listeners at the end of January, an increase of 38% from a year ago, and recorded 1.39 billion total listener hours, up 47% from the year-ago month.Pandora had been reporting wider quarterly losses, as the company’s robust listener growth has brought with it higher royalty costs for the songs it plays. However, it reported in December that its fiscal third-quarter profit jumped as the company’s sharply higher revenue helped mask a big rise in costs.