Pandora Imposes 40 Hour Monthly Limit for Mobile Freeloaders

Paul Lilly

Don't like the 40-hour limit? Blame greedy publishers who keep hiking royalty rates.

Pandora this week put the word out that it's introducing a 40-hour monthly cap on free mobile listening, though the streaming service doesn't expect much of a backlash. According to Pandora, the artificial limit will affect less than 4 percent of its total monthly active listeners. The average freeloader listener spends around half that time (20 hours) listening to Panodra across all devices in any given month, Pandora says.

The streaming service says rising royalty rates are to blame.

"Pandora's per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25 percent over the last 3 years, including 9 percent in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16 percent over the next two years," Pandora stated in a blog post . "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."

Users who do end up hitting their monthly limit can still enjoy unlimited streaming on desktop and laptop PCs. Alternately, they'll have the option of paying a dollar for unlimited listening on mobile for the remainder of that month (or they can subscribe to Pandora One).

Pandora says it will alert listeners as they get close to the 40-hour cap.

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