Pandora Removes 40 Hour Limit on Music Streaming

Pandora logo

Pandora, the popular music streaming service, has always imposed a 40-hour monthly limit for streaming on free accounts. Today, it is scheduled to remove that limit, and in the next month, free accounts will be able to stream an unlimited amount of music every month. Concerns quickly raised regarding the free portion of the service, debating a possible increased length and appearance of advertisements.

This change in Pandora’s free subscription model was made possible by improved ads in its mobile app platform. According to Tim Westergren, Pandora has more than 70 million monthly listeners and is reported to be the third largest ad revenue earner behind Google and Facebook.

pandora on mobile devices

However, it’s even more likely that this change was made possible due to the fact that only 4% (2.8 million) of Pandora’s free listeners will stream more than 40 hours of music every month. The music streaming service has yet to become profitable, however it hopes that by 2nd quarter 2014 it can change that.

Pandora still offers its premium service, Pandora One, for $9.99 per month.



  1. Ben Lion

    September 3, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I actually had emailed Pandora a while back expressing my displeasure of the new policy of only 40 hours, as I happened to be in the unlucky 4% who use Pandora over 40 hours a month. It was interesting to me because I got the hardball answer that I’d only get the 40 hours or be forced to pay the $1.99 for hours over 40. I raised concerns over this that I wasn’t sure how appropriate this charge was due to the original User agreement I “agreed” to when I started my Pandora, and that I felt discouraged by Pandora that they effectively were “discriminating” in a sense to only 4% of their customers. I’d understand a charge to ALL listeners, but you can’t simply create a business rule or charge that only applies to a certain demographic (particularly a minority of the group). I never heard anything back from Pandora, however I did notice a change in my account. I stopped seeing my warnings for almost being at 40 hours a month, and I was quite certain I hadn’t cut out music too much (at least past my original boycott of Pandora for a month or two) to the point of being always under 40 hours. Then I got a personal email from Mr. Westergren on Thursday 8-29 to notify me of the upcoming September notice of stopping the charge for free stream. At first I assumed it was a Pandora-wide message, until I read that my email was an “account specific” email. I promptly emailed Pandora back to thank them for how cordial they were directly to a consumer. To have 70 million monthly listeners, yet to personally notify one individual who originally thought the complaint went unheeded, is true business ethics. I thanked Pandora and let them know I will always enjoy and help recommend their listening service, not only because it is easy and plays great music, but because they are a large corporation that cares.

    • Brian Burgess

      September 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

      That’s a cool story Ben. Yes, it’s definitely always cool to get personalized responses from top dept heads at large companies.

      Sure as heck beats getting the lame canned replies so many of us get when we are unhappy with something.

      Another tip for getting personal responses and faster service is to raise your question in public on Twitter. Don’t be a jerk and flame the company or service, but raise the question and many times you’ll get a fast personal reply.

To Top