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Pandora Stabilizes, No Longer Completely Free

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the under-a-buck dept.

Music 268

AbyssWyrm writes "Yesterday, Pandora founder Tim Westergren announced that the music service was on safe ground once again, but will no longer be free for all users. Instead, it will be really cheap — for those with a free account, there will be a cap of 40 hours per month, and a user may pay a one-time fee of $0.99 to resume unlimited listening to music for a month. According to the blog entry, this will affect the top 10% of listeners. Certainly not a bad deal considering the price, and I suspect that Pandora is one of few free internet resources whose users are loyal enough to pay a small fee to keep it afloat. Pandora's future had been uncertain ever since the royalty rates for internet radio were increased in 2007."

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non-us? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28621895)

Now that they have payment model instructed too, why not expand it outside US aswell? Last.FM radio has something similar too, they had to start charging non-US/CA/UK users because there wasn't enough advertisers in other countries to make it profitable. That being said, we have that awesome Spotify [spotify.com] here, but I'm sure there would be lots of old non-US Pandora users that would pay a little to listen to it again.

Re:non-us? (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622275)

Now that they have payment model instructed too, why not expand it outside US aswell?

Probably because the scope of the agreement with copyright owners doesn't extend to use beyond the US; my understanding from what I've read about it is that it specifies a licensing fee that includes a portion of US revenues in exchange for allowing internet streaming of the music in the US.

sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28621897)

theyre opening their own box... which sounds dirty.

Ads & paid use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28621927)

  Why is it that we have to pay for a service that is ad based too? It might start with $0.99/month. Before you know it, it will be $5/month.. etc.

Re:Ads & paid use (5, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622091)

It is unprecedented. People will never pay for a service which also includes ads, unless you count magazines, newspapers, cable TV, movies, and riding the bus.

And yes, 99 cents per month for a service you use for dozens of hours is an outrage. The price jumped from $0.00 to $0.99 just today. If this trend continues, the service will cost over $300/month after just one year. Let's all get really mad!

Re:Ads & paid use (5, Insightful)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622131)

Always Relevant: XKCD [xkcd.com]

Re:Ads & paid use (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622395)

Scary. I thought the exact same thing when I read parent comment, as was about to go get the XKCD link =)

Re:Ads & paid use (2, Funny)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622143)

Let me be the first to say:

http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Ads & paid use (3, Funny)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622243)

Jinks, you owe me a coke.

Re:Ads & paid use (4, Funny)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622253)

It seems typing the line "Let me be the first to say:" cost you being the first to say. The guy above you didn't use any fancy extra line breaks and got there first!

Re:Ads & paid use (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622581)

I gotta ask. You guys always seem to post first.
Q: Do you subscribe (pay) for the slashdot premium service?
-jp

Re:Ads & paid use (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622189)

It's because ad supported doesn't actually work for any decent-sized service.

TANSTAAFL. So suck it up and pay something if you enjoy it.

Re:Ads & paid use (3, Insightful)

Saliegh (1368127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622383)

Yeah! Like .... radio, and network television, and google... and.

Re:Ads & paid use (2, Interesting)

loutr (626763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622483)

It's because ad supported doesn't actually work for any decent-sized service.

"Traditionnal" web ads that users have to click for them to generate revenue for the site may not work, but I think advertisers are (or will be) paying good money for one of Spotify's audio ads (in between songs, just like on radio). And they are more annoying than blockable text/image/flash ads, so they are a "better" insentive for the user to suscribe to the service (or to switch service, but if they manage to stay ahead of the competition most users will pay or continue waiting through the ads I guess).

Re:Ads & paid use (4, Informative)

dr_wheel (671305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622335)

Why is it that we have to pay for a service that is ad based too? It might start with $0.99/month. Before you know it, it will be $5/month.. etc.

**The following is not a shameless plug, but it sure as shit reads like one.**

Why not just upgrade to their 'Pandora One' subscription plan for $36/year ($3/month)? It eliminates ads entirely, includes unlimited listening, higher-quality 192 kbps streams, and some other random stuff. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.

Re:Ads & paid use (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622515)

It's $3/month with no ads, higher quality streams, and unlimited use.

Re:Ads & paid use (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622597)

'zactly. Just paid my $36 a few days ago. I don't think $3/month is at all unreasonable. Still would like to skip a bit more, but hey. I can still pop over to Imeem or Deezer.

Re:Ads & paid use (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622821)

So they don't let you skip more than a few songs an hour even if you have the paid subscription?

my massive penis (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28621929)

suck it linux users

Here comes apple fanboi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622873)

Why do delusional apple fanbois have to hijack any and all discussions?

I guess (4, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28621999)

I guess a one time fee of $0.99 isn't too much to ask. I do have over that with the change in my pocket from my two coffees I go this morning.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622029)

I guess a one time fee of $0.99 isn't too much to ask. I do have over that with the change in my pocket from my two coffees I go this morning.

You only go two coffees? I go all the way.

Re:I guess (4, Funny)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622087)

It is only 10:37. I have $1.12 in change though, so I could get unlimited Pandora and two pieces of Bazooka.

Re:I guess (2, Informative)

Aphonia (1315785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622073)

its 0.99 / month, not a one time fee. Still, id pay it.

Re:I guess (3, Informative)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622185)

It's more complicated than that though.

It's a one-time fee if you go over 40 hours in a month, and then you get unlimited listening for that month. You have to pay again if you go over 40 hours of listening in the next month. But if you stay under 40 hours, it's free.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622125)

It is too much. Why should I have to pay for an internet version when the RF version of the same service is free? I would sooner download and stream from my own server.

Re:I guess (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622511)

The reason is because Pandora has to pay royalties per play while RF gets a free pass. They've spent the last two years fighting this in congress, and this fee is the fallout from the most recent royalty settlement which still leaves them with the highest royalties of all radio formats.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622691)

It is too much. Why should I have to pay for an internet version when the RF version of the same service is free? I would sooner download and stream from my own server.

Maybe because sending bits over the internet costs money on a per-bit/per-user basis while spraying RF signals out of an antenna is a flat fee no matter how many people are listening (no matter how much you're about to whine about how unfair that is)?

No, wait, I forgot, it's the glorious Age of Entitlement. "I want this for free; therefore, I deserve it for free, reality and economy be damned!"

Re:I guess (2, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622885)

RF version of Pandora? Cool! What's the frequency? And how to I create new stations and rate the songs?

Re:I guess (1)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622223)

Per month btw, at least according to the summary. That's still inexpensive enough I might come back to Pandora and chip in.

Re:I guess (2, Interesting)

Anivair (921745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622433)

the reason people on the net generally refuse to pay 0.99 for things (like porn sites) is not thrift, but fear. Usually, it's a scam. Pandora is not a scam, so I'll gladly pay.

I wish... (3, Interesting)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622111)

Pandora was available in Canada.

Re:I wish... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622517)

It's a website. Are you saying that it's being filtered out in Canada?

Re:I wish... (3, Informative)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622589)

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We believe that you are in United Kingdom (your IP address appears to be **.**.**.**). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com

Yes... he is

Re:I wish... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622993)

If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com

Well, I believe they've made a mistake. Data shouldn't care where you are geographically, in almost every instance.

Re:I wish... (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622617)

They have geolocation software that blocks IP addresses from outside the US. A while ago I tried some free US proxies and I think they were blocked as well. I am sure there is probably other ways around them blocking people outside the US and I would be very welcome to suggestions.

Never == Next Month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622121)

"[...] one-time fee [...] unlimited listening [...] for a month"

Gee, Unlimited and one-time sure aren't what they used to be..

Re:Never == Next Month? (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622399)

Oh noes you have to pay all of 99 cents if you listen to over 40 hours in one month! Those dirty fiends!

Re:Never == Next Month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622997)

It's the start of the slippery slope. Compare cable bills from the 80s to today. $10 package back then is now around $80. We have more adverts, bigger channel logos, obnoxious animated or video overlays showing other programming over the top of whatever you're watching, and channels constantly being spun off into other sub-packages that cost more in monthly fees to get them back. Maybe when you grow up you'll have to start paying for services rather than stealing them, and then you'll discover pricing always vastly outstrips inflation increases.

Re:Never == Next Month? (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622563)

English failing? The fee is one-time since it is non-recurring. And it's not (unlimited) (for one month). It's (unlimited for one month)

Re:Never == Next Month? (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622863)

Yes it is recurring, because you have to pay it every month to be able to listen to > 40 hours / month.

Skip as many songs as we want? (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622127)

If you pay, are you still forced to listen to music you don't like?

One of the reasons I never used Pandora was that unless I made a new playlist, I couldn't skip songs after a little while.

Re:Skip as many songs as we want? (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622349)

Not sure about that. I can't listen at work anymore, but I used to have Pandora on all day. You could skip something like 3 songs in a 15 minute period or 6 songs an hour. And with the rating system you could filter out bad music rather easily. And if you ever just got tired of a song there is the "ZZZ" button to remove the song from your play list for 30 days.

Pandora had it's issues. Like I hate listening to live recordings, which I know is one of the tags that they mark songs with. But I couldn't just set that as a preference. Instead I have to give all live performances a thumbs down and hope that their engine is smart enough to realize that I just rated down a band I like because that specific song was live.

-Rick

Re:Skip as many songs as we want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622363)

I had used the service for a time, mind you, I say HAD. Most of the music -I- prefer the service had either never heard of before, or was unavailable for other reasons. I had better luck on Google or Youtube, in locating what I wanted to listen to. It's been months since I
  used Pandora, and to be honest, I can't really say I miss it all that much.

Re:Skip as many songs as we want? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622393)

Easy fix, be less picky or create a better station. I haven't had to skip a song in months (outside giving an occasional one a thumbs down). Pandora has to pay for the song whether or not you listen to the whole thing.

Re:Skip as many songs as we want? (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622577)

I wish it were that simple. There are stations where I have given thumbs up and thumbs down to over 100 songs, but it still pulls out songs by artists that I have given at least 4 or 5 thumbs down to on that station. It would be nice to have a little more control. I don't care how similar it thinks that artist is to some other things I have given a thumbs up to, I don't want to ever hear that artist on here again. How about that option?

Have you read this? (5, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622145)

Piracy Tips for Consumers [riaa.com] , I was reading the "royalty rates" link and saw that the RIAA was behind it, so I went to their website and found this jewel.
Of note: Watch for Compilations that are "Too Good to Be True". Why are they too good to be true? If customers would want that compilation why haven't you sold it to them?
Even better: Trust your ear: The sound quality of pirate CDs is often poor or inconsistent. It is a freaking digital copy, it is the exact same quality! Does anyone actually believe this stuff?

Re:Have you read this? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622229)

I believe it! But then again, I was weaned on paint thinner and I drink out of the toilet...

Re:Have you read this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622311)

The sound quality of pirate CDs is often poor or inconsistent. ... Does anyone actually believe this stuff?

Sounds like someone's never heard a CD burnt from 128kbps MP3's.

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:Have you read this? (2, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622315)

I know I shouldn’t be replying to myself, but I’m still reading the RIAA website and I found another jewel:
Even if you don’t illegally offer recordings to others, you join a file-sharing network and download unauthorized copies of all the copyrighted music you want for free from the computers of other network members.
If I own the CD's, but don't have software to burn them, don't I have the right to download the songs off a P2P network? I purchased the right to have a backup copy, does it matter how I get it? Seems to me like the RIAA is full of it on this one.

Re:Have you read this? (4, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622595)

There's an even worse one in there. How about:

Furthermore, if the record label listed is a company you've never heard of, that should be another warning sign.

That sounds to me like it's bordering on an anti-trust violation, smearing the smaller non-RIAA music labels as illegitimate and illegal. I haven't bought any RIAA CDs in years because they've been acting like dickwads, but even before they started acting like dickwads most of the CDs I bought *were* from record labels I'd never heard of. I did buy some "top 40 pop" stuff, but for the most part the RIAA labels just didn't carry what I wanted, and the "unheard of" indie labels did.

-

Re:Have you read this? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622657)

Technically, you don't have the right to download the songs off a p2p network. Practically speaking, it shouldn't make a difference if you own a copy of the CD, but realistically, that's not what's happening on those networks in most cases. In terms of backup rights, the laws are woefully outdated.

Re:Have you read this? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622779)

Can you or anyone else explain why I can't download a song that I already have purchased a license for (by buying the CD)? I'd always thought that once I'd bought a license for a piece of music, I could safely download as many copies as I wanted, and I'm curious how/why this is illegal.

Re:Have you read this? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622911)

Well, it is almost certain that the person sending you the file does not have a license to distribute it.

I still haven't decided if downloading songs from the internet is illegal in the U.S. (the RIAA cases that I have paid attention to have always gone after distribution). It seems like it is very similar to recording something off the television or radio (of course, in those cases, there is at least reason to believe that the content has been licensed for distribution, but does that even matter?).

Re:Have you read this? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622875)

I like the one about "dream compilation" CDs. It's like they're acknowledging that they're making you buy 19 crap songs with each good one in an album.

Re:Have you read this? (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622935)

Sorry about replying to myself, but I just found another gem:

Music pirates aren't in the music business, they are in the plastics business. They buy and sell plastic and get consumers to pay them 10 to 20 times their cost for a blank disc by simply loading that plastic up with stolen music.

That argument applies almost verbatim to the music industry itself.

Re:Have you read this? (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622413)

I really have to stop reading this [riaa.com] it is making me sick.

Here is something even non-pirates have done at least once in there life:
You have a computer with a CD burner, which you use to burn copies of music you have downloaded onto writable CDs for all of your friends.

So you mean that since the days of cassette tapes every person who has made their girlfriend/boyfriend a mix tape or mix CD is in violation of the law? It must be true, the RIAA says so.

Re:Have you read this? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622605)

So you mean that since the days of cassette tapes every person who has made their girlfriend/boyfriend a mix tape or mix CD is in violation of the law? It must be true, the RIAA says so.

Well, actually, yeah.

Re:Have you read this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622585)

Radio has been degrading the sound of music for years, speeding up playback slightly to get more commercials in. And yes, MP3s and other compressed formats are good for downloading, but do take some of the sound out of the music. You may not notice this on some cheap computer speakers or earbuds, but on a high end system you might.

Re:Have you read this? (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622749)

A downloaded MP3 may have lower quality, but a direct burn/ISO doesn't.

Re:Have you read this? (3, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622773)

Too Good To Be True == 200 tracks for $2. They didn't sell that because they don't want to give stuff away so cheaply. How is that hard to understand?

It is a freaking digital copy, it is the exact same quality

Maybe, maybe not. I've never heard a pirate CD, but I've seen plenty of pirate DVDs. Some are direct digital copies of the original and look great, plenty are just burned torrent downloads (and so have compression artifacts everywhere). Some are screen cams. I'm sure the same holds for audio.

Fail (1, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622169)

I for one will not be using Pandora anymore if they decide that I ought to be charged. I am clearly not at all opposed to the fee, 99 cents is dirt cheap for what you get from Pandora. What worries me about all this micropayment nonsense is having to give out my credit card number ALL THE FRAKKIN TIME. I hate giving out my CC number. This is an especially large concern for Windows users, where keyloggers are rampant. When people get more and more used to giving out their CC numbers, you can expect phishing to become even more prevalent than it already is. I don't want to have to pay for everything I see and use on the web. It is obnoxious. Even if the price is more than worth it in the actual dollars and cents definition of the word, it is still not worth HAVING to pay for it. At least that is my $0.02 (which you all now owe me btw, please reply with your credit card number).

Re:Fail (5, Insightful)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622239)

Don't hate pandora for this. Hate the record labels. Pandora is just trying to survive, but the RIAA is a bunch of bastards who want to milk everyone for money.

Re:Fail (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622739)

This is probably as much about bandwidth as it is licensing, which is why you get the first 40 hours free.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622373)

************* and the 3 digits on the back are ***

Gasp! slashdot turns the cc digits into *s zomg!

Re:Fail (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622627)

OMG LOLZ let me try mine... erm... sorry I'll shut up...

Re:Fail (3, Insightful)

I.M.O.G. (811163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622653)

Welcome to 2009... Every creditor everywhere offers choices which accomodate online security concerns. For example, one time use numbers for a transaction. There are other options also. Your fear is uninformed.

Re:Fail (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622741)

Pre-paid card.

Card with a low limit.

You don't exactly have to use your Black AMEX for Pandora if you're that worried about it...

Re:Fail (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622803)

Micropayment? Err, pay a year at a time. its 12 bucks. This is just like satellite radio. No one pays monthly, they pay quarterly or annually. Relax dude.

Re:Fail (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622943)

The do offer a yearly subscription optn, if you so choose.

Re:Fail (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622991)

paypal?

One time fee? (4, Insightful)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622197)

Not to be a terrible pedant, but if you pay a "one time fee" to get unlimited listening each month, it's not a one-time fee. It's a monthly fee. It just has a very low subscription cost.

Re:One time fee? (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622319)

It's not a subscription, though, because you don't have to pay it every month. If you go over the limit in a month, the fee really is one time to get more Pandora that month. You won't be charged the next month unless you go over the limit again and want to listen again. I agree it's not a "lifetime" membership for a one-time fee, but it's not a subscription either. Maybe they should just drop the qualifier and call it a "$1 fee".

Re:One time fee? (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622463)

It's not a subscription, though, because you don't have to pay it every month.

If you want to listen for more than 40 hours a month you sure as heck do. :)

Cost per transaction? (2, Interesting)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622263)

A thought about this. I know that the rates charged by credit card companies to process a transaction tend to be very high. Does anyone know how the pricing structure works? How much of the final transaction will actually be paid to Pandora?

Re:Cost per transaction? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622427)

If you pay with a credit card, the transaction fee is usually 10-15 cents + 3% of the transaction, unless they have a deal with their processor so they don't get killed with all of their microtransactions.

Re:Cost per transaction? (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622495)

In Sweden, the charge is around $0.4 per transaction. I think.

Re:Cost per transaction? (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622547)

Now only if it were available outside the US.

Re:Cost per transaction? (1)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622621)

Is that $0.04 or $0.40?

Re:Cost per transaction? (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622777)

MATHx314, is it?

Possibly great news for them (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622269)

The reason I never signed up to begin with was that I figured the music licensing cartel would drive them out of business before long. Now I'll go check it out.

lower royalty rates negotiated (3, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622307)

This comes on the same day that an agreement was announced [nytimes.com] that lowers royalty payments for internet radio stations. The original plan called for royalties of 0.19 cents per streamed song. The new plan sets royalties for large stations at 25% of revenue or .14 cents/song (whichever is greater). Small stations will pay $25,000/yr or 12-14% of revenue (whichever is greater). It sounds like it's still going to be impossible for individuals to set up stations as a hobby, which I guess it was practical to do at one point, but I'm guessing that a lot of college radio stations might find it cheaper to pay the $25k/yr than to maintain an FM broadcast station.

time to sign up for another account (1)

jluxe (200281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622333)

I suppose I should sign up for another account for use on my Blackberry, one for my wife, and another one for my home laptop.

Pandora lets you share your stations with other users, so I wont even lose my new stations. Although lately I seem to get the same 100 songs over and over, so it's time to create some new stations anyway.

Shhhhhh.... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622429)

If the wrong people hear you, it will spell the end of the most obvious work-around.

e-mail (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622359)

My friend got a e-mail from pandora saying she was in their top 10% of listeners.

She said they "let [her] down easy" and gave her alternative "solutions" to deal with capped listening times.

Slacker? (3, Interesting)

purplebear (229854) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622405)

Do none of you use http://www.slacker.com/ [slacker.com] ? I started with Pandora, but I find Slacker far superior. It is free with ads and has a paid subscription with no ads. The channels are more professionally programmed, so I don't get the odd song thrown in that just doesn't fit the chosen genre in the least.

Re:Slacker? (3, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622685)

Yes, but the whole point of Pandora is the 'music genome project' engine. I like being introduced to songs with similar attributes, not just of a similar genre or era. Seriously, I told Pandora I liked certain Jack Johnson songs and was introduced to artists that I would have never normally explored (i.e. heavy metal bands doing acoustic numbers or world music artists).

price is right, now how do I hand them a dollar (3, Interesting)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622469)

My primary concern with low-cost services, is that of transactional security. I don't want to expose my CC to compromise over only 1$. Paypal is just as bad. if I subscribe to 100 1$ services per month, how much does that increase my exposure, vs one transaction for 100$? low cost webservices may be the answer to making money online, but I'm not here so a provider can make a buck.

Usage and profit negatively correlated? (2, Interesting)

l00sr (266426) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622487)

I know there must be a good, albeit esoteric explanation for this, but the economics behind this decision are baffling to me. One would think that if Pandora had a profitable business model, then profit and listeners' usage of their service should be positively correlated; i.e., the more I listen, the more profit Pandora makes from advertising. However, if they're encouraging people to use the service less, the obvious explanation would be that usage and profit are negatively correlated; i.e., Pandora would be hemorraging money.

It's as if Sony were to suddenly decide to cap the number of PS3's you can buy to limit their losses...

Top Listener Email (3, Informative)

Mondo1287 (622491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622583)

Here's the email I received from Pandora: Hi, itâ(TM)s Tim - I hope this email finds you enjoying a great summer Pandora soundtrack. Iâ(TM)m writing with some important news. Please forgive the lengthy email; it requires some explaining. First, I want to let you know that weâ(TM)ve reached a resolution to the calamitous Internet radio royalty ruling of 2007. After more than two precarious years, we are finally on safe ground with a long-term agreement for survivable royalty rates â" thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our listeners who voiced an absolute avalanche of support for us on Capitol Hill. We are deeply thankful. While we did the best we could to lower the rates, we are going to have to make an adjustment that will affect about 10% of our users who are our heaviest listeners. Specifically, we are going to begin limiting listening to 40 hours per month on the web. Because we have to pay royalty fees per song and per listener, it makes very heavy listeners hard to support on advertising alone. Most listeners will never hit this cap, but it seems that you might. We hate the idea of capping anyone's usage, so we've been working to devise an alternative for listeners like you. 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: http://www.pandora.com/pandora_one [pandora.com] . If neither of these options works for you, I hope you'll keep listening to the free version - 40 hours each month will go a long way, especially if you're really careful about hitting pause when youâ(TM)re not listening. Weâ(TM)ll be sure to let you know if you start getting close to the limit, and weâ(TM)ve created a counter you can access to see how many hours youâ(TM)ve already used each month. Weâ(TM)ll be implementing this change starting this month (July), Iâ(TM)d welcome your feedback and suggestions. The combination of our usage patterns and the "per song per listener" royalty cost creates a financial reality that we can't ignore...but we very much want you to continue listening for years to come. Please don't hesitate to email me back with your thoughts. Sincerely, Tim Founder

still free, slightly more annoyingly so (2, Insightful)

riishell (1410097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622599)

Maybe I'm over-looking something here, but couldn't you just create additional free accounts? Yes, I'm that cheap...

Re:still free, slightly more annoyingly so (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28623007)

Probably, but that is still an additional hassle. I think most users would rather pay $1 than go through however many log-ins and log-outs.

Last.fm anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622625)

http://www.Last.fm does all the stuff Pandora does, and more. With no ads. I don't know how they do it, but they do and I listen to it all day @ work. Oh yeah, it's free too. Cmon people.

microPayPal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622633)

the problem with the micropayments is that the CC companies charge enough for a processing fee that the micropayments are really as micro as they could be. If the CC company charges 0.50 for the transaction, then this really could be a .50 per month thing.... what you need is some service which can agregate all the things you want to pay via micropayment type systems (podcasts or blogs that you contribute for, pandora or other music services, etc) and then tack on a small fee for doing this and then pay the "subscriptions" minus the credit card fee, basically do what they do now, but be less greedy.... Why pay $1 to each of 10 services per month when the credit card companies take half that in transaction fees. Why not pay microPayPal or whoever, $7 and let them keep $2, but contribute the $0.50 to each of those 10 services. Pandora or whoever would get the same amount of money in the end, a single aggregation service that handles this could make a nice chunk on the 20% surcharge, and the consumer would save 30% in the end. If they are doing this for enough services like Pandora, they would even recognize savings by the fact that THEY make a single $10,000 payment to Pandora each month for the 20,000 people using the service and still only pay the single payment processing fee, even if they pay by credit card. Sounds like a pretty simple business to start, it would only be an issue of getting enough "customers" who would trust this middleman service, which is why it would be perfect grounds for GoogleCheckout or PayPal to jump on now and claim the segment.

Say what again (2, Insightful)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622703)

one-time fee of $0.99 to resume unlimited listening to music for a month

How is it you pay a one time fee for a monthly service?

Should it be:

  • A $0.99 fee per each month of music
    -- OR --
  • A one time fee of $0.99 for unlimited music

Re:Say what again (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622945)

It doesn't automatically happen the next month...

Only around 5.5% (1)

OpsFace (1549111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622759)

We can only listen to Pandora online music for free for close to 5.5% of a month. If you factor out sleeping (assuming most techies get 6 hours) we can get close to 7.5% of our month in free music! Can't wait till February rolls around and we can get close to 8% of our month!! Who really cares about paying a dollar for music, thanks Pandora for not ripping us off like itunes.

European users (1)

siilarsi (836310) | more than 5 years ago | (#28622763)

It's *still* only available for US citizens.

Of course this is only a correction to the article if you belive that this still means Pandora is available to all the world, as some US citizens seem to belive... Sorry for spilling my guts like this but I'm profoundly tired of that particular issue, and I realise not everyone in the US like that.

Excerpt from pandora.com

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

Pandora sucks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28622843)

As far as music sites go, Pandora's functionality is one of the most limited out there.

Sites like deezer.com or songza.com offer the ability both to search for all the individual songs you want and create a playlist + it allows you to create a random radio.

Pandora is full of itself if it think it's worth any money.

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