Pandora users who listen to the free streaming music service on their mobile devices will now be limited to 40 hours per month. The online music streaming company announced it will begin charging those who exceed the 40-hour limit have to pay 0.99 cents to continue their service for that month, or subscribe to the premium service, which features unlimited music and is advertising free. Users will also have the option of listening to unlimited listening via desktop. Users will receive a warning when they near their limit.
Pandora, which eliminated a similar listening limit for desktop users in September 2011, blamed increasing royalty licensing costs for the mobile cap’s introduction. Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years.
The change will affect less than 4% Pandora’s total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month. Pandora founder Tim Westergren made the announcement on the company blog.