Pandora charges listeners for internet radio


Yesterday evening, my phone was buzzing after receiving an email from "Tim," the Founder of Pandora! The internet radio company was going back and forth with legal battles since 2007 after the Internet Radio Royalty Ruling.

Luckily, Pandora is safe, but must pay royalty fees to record labels. To do so, the company will impose an optional fee for play service. Below is a snippet of what he had to say:

"We've come up with two solutions and we hope that one of them will work for you:
• Your first option is to continue listening just as you have been and, if and when you reach the 40 hour limit in a given month, to pay just $0.99 for unlimited listening for the rest of that month. This isn't a subscription. You can pay by credit card and your card will be charged for just that one month. You'll be able to keep listening as much as you'd like for the remainder of the month. We hope this is relatively painless and affordable - the same price as a single song download.

• Your second option is to upgrade to our premium version called Pandora One. Pandora One costs $36 per year. In addition to unlimited monthly listening and no advertising, Pandora One offers very high quality 192 Kbps streams, an elegant desktop application that eliminates the need for a browser, personalized skins for the Pandora player, and a number of other features:"

To view this email in full click here.

Note that you can completely avoid being charged if you listen to Pandora Radio less than 40 hours per month.

I remember when Last.FM once offered the same internet radio service as Pandora, but due to legal battles, they only offered limited play. The company just recommends music with some songs played full, and others previewed.

I think pay for play is the general nature of the music industry and it should be expected by consumers.