Pandora Will Limit Users To 40 Hours of Free Streaming Per Month

Pandora announced in a blog post yesterday that it will begin limiting mobile users to 40 hours of free usage per month. If you have Pandora One, you’ll still have unlimited access and no advertisements. Also, listening to Pandora from your computer will not be affected by the limit.

In the post, Pandora founder Tim Westergren says this change will only affect 4% of their total monthly listeners, as 96% of users only have Pandora running for 20 hours a month, regardless of the type of device they’re using.

Why the change? Pandora pays royalties to the record labels for streaming their music. That cost, they say, has already increased more than 25% over the last three years, and is expected to jump an additional 16% over the next two years. As the gap between users streaming music and actually buying individual tracks closes, I expect we’ll see similar changes being made to other streaming services, as well. Put another way: as record labels make less from selling tracks (and full albums), they’ll look to make up that revenue by charging more for streaming music (which you don’t own).

What do you think of the change? Do you fall into the 96% of users who use Pandora 20 hours or less a month? Let me know on Twitter: @mbchp.

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