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Pandora increasing ad-free subscription rate for new subscribers

updated 10:27 am EDT, Wed March 19, 2014

New rate for new users to offset dramatic increase in cost of business

Online music streamer Pandora is raising its prices for new subscribers. The current subscription cost for unlimited and ad-free Pandora One is climbing 25 percent to $5 per month, up from $4. Existing Pandora One monthly subscribers that remain active will not experience a price increase and will continue to pay $4 per month. The company cites rapidly-growing costs to deliver the service as the reason for the price hike.

In an official blog post announcing the pricing change, Pandora notes that "the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53 percent in the last five years, and will increase another nine percent in 2015."

Additionally, the company is shuttering the annual subscription option. Existing annual subscribers that remain active will migrate to the discounted "loyalty price" of $4 per month at the next renewal period.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. macdude22

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-06-01

    I was just reading an article that asserts the streaming services are already too expensive. Based on historical data of how much people spent on music in the past.

    http://recode.net/2014/03/18/the-price-of-music/

    Raising prices doesn't seem smart. Also I'm an annual subscriber. I prefer being an annual subscriber. I don't want to be a monthly subscriber, and I don't want their loyalty rate for having been an annual subscriber. I don't use pandora that much, I will probably just use the ad supported version. Real smooth pandora.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Apple's $30 for Music Match and commercial-free iTunes radio seems like a pretty nice deal now.

  1. macdude22

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-06-01

    @EstaNightshift I will be turning off my auto renew in pandora and grabbing iTunes Match. I'd already been on the fence, I'm in the Apple Ecosystem and I have hundreds of CDs ripped to itunes. Match was already cheaper than Pandora One but I'd said for years it was the best 36 bucks a person could spend. Now, not so much. Also I've found that there are some artists I can make stations for in iTunes that I can't in Pandora, like The Notorious MSG.

  1. andrewbw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-31-01

    Did you know: Apple's radio playlists are limited to ~200 songs, similar to your average top 40 pop radio station. Much like all radio stations, those playlists churn over time, but Apple currently has the shallowest radio playlists of any of the major streaming services. Don't believe me? Devote a day to listening to a single iTunes Radio station. Whether it's one you create, or one of the curated ones. Write down the songs. Track how often they repeat. You'll figure it out pretty quickly.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-27-00

    Pandora is in a tough boat. I just read that the cost to them to license music has gone up a little and now there is more competition. One thing I have noticed is Pandora does a much better job of playing music within a genre. iTunes Radio at times completely blows it (like playing a country song on a Trance genre radio station) and there does not appear to be a very large selection of music they choose from as I often hear significantly more repetition than Pandora. I know it's relatively new, so I'll continue with Pandora for the foreseeable future and keep watching.

  1. macdude22

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-06-01

    I get that Pandora (and other streaming services) are getting railed by the music industry. But for me, the consumer, I just am struggling with this decision. I mean they just removed the 40-hour-per-month limit for free users in August. That inherently devalued Pandora One somewhat. Does Pandora pay the licensing bodies more because we are Pandora One users?

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Originally Posted by andrewbwView Post

    Did you know: Apple's radio playlists are limited to ~200 songs, similar to your average top 40 pop radio station. Much like all radio stations, those playlists churn over time, but Apple currently has the shallowest radio playlists of any of the major streaming services. Don't believe me? Devote a day to listening to a single iTunes Radio station. Whether it's one you create, or one of the curated ones. Write down the songs. Track how often they repeat. You'll figure it out pretty quickly.



    Like any other service, I think that different streamers do better with different market segments. I can't get through 200 songs in a playlist, before my brain needs a gearshift to something else. That, plus the ability to "shlep" my music in the cloud with iTunes integration makes it for me personally.

    I'd think that the licensing agreements between the various groups and the streamers vary somewhat, as does the allowed music.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    As far as I can tell, that 200 songs thing is for the curated stations (which I *never* listen to). I just created a new station in iTunes Radio and am pretty sure they've offered me more than 200 (to be fair, I "salted" the station with at least 25 or so artists and songs of my own, and set the default more towards "discovery," guaranteeing some increased variety). Really enjoying the results so far.

    Pandora was wonderful back in the day, but they haven't grown in too many key areas (song database, other countries) and rely on their subscribers too much. They're like the Microsoft of streaming music -- still huge but decayiing.

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