Listening limited to 40 hours per month via mobile devices

Pandora Begins Limiting Free Service

Pandora, the music streaming service, will begin to restrict its formerly unlimited free services, as The New York Times reports. Starting this week, users who use the free version of Pandora on mobile devices will now have access only to 40 hours of free music per month.

The changes come due to increasing royalty costs that Pandora is required to pay each time a song is streamed on the service, according to a blog post by Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren. Though only fractions of cents per play, those costs have risen 25% over the past three years and will increase an additional 16% over the next two years, according to Westergren.

But as The Times points out, also contributing to Pandora’s decision are advertising rates and revenues, which are lower for mobile apps than the desktop service, which will remain free and unlimited. Read more here:

If you hit the limit, you can either listen on the computer rather than your phone, pay 99 cents for unlimited listening for the rest of the month, or opt into Pandora’s paid service, which costs $36 per year for unlimited, ad-free music.