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New Pandora limit caps free music time at 40 hours a month

Facing a 25 percent rise in royalty rates over the last few years, Pandora has decided that mobile users don’t get unlimited music any longer. The music streaming service announced today on its websiste that it is now limiting users to 40 hours of music per month on mobile devices, the New York Times is reporting.

But then Pandora pointed out how few people listen to 40 hours of music on the service by saying this move will, “it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month.”

For listeners who do hit the new Pandora limit, they can pay 99 cents for unlimited listening for the rest of that month with no advertisements.

In the note to customers, Pandora founder Tim Westergren said, “limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission so we wanted to share a quick explanation.”

The company blamed the new limit on rising per-track ryalty rates, which are expected to increase an additional 16 percent over the next two years.

“In short, this is an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora,” Westergren said in the news release.

Users will be notified if they are nearing the 40-hour limit.

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