Pandora on Wednesday announced non-paying mobile users will get cut off at 40 hours because of apparent licensing costs. In a post on the company’s blog, Tim Westergren, Pandora founder, said the company will begin asking mobile users who exceed that 40 hour mark to pay $0.99 for the remainder of that month—otherwise its desktop only for you.
It may seem like an unfair cap, but Westergren says less than four percent of existing users will be negatively affected; users currently spend an average of 20 hours streaming across multiple devices combined, not just mobile. So, I mean, you likely won’t be affected at all.
Westergren does admit the new limit is contrary to Pandora’s mission, but goes on to explain what it takes to provide the music it does: “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.”
As users approach the 40-hour cutoff, Westergren said users will be notified. “This is an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora.” As those licensing fees go up, customers are ultimately affected. Someone should show the music industry that piracy is actually down thanks to streaming services.