Pandora Premium Quietly Joins Spotify and Others in Raising U.S. Prices — Individuals Now Pay $10.99 Per Month

Pandora subscribers
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Pandora subscribers
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Photo Credit: Pandora

Following U.S. price increases from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and others, the on-demand Pandora Premium offering has officially raised its own monthly costs, including to $10.99 for individuals.

SiriusXM’s Pandora just recently did away with the $9.99-per-month price point on its individual tier, also upping the family option from $14.99 to $17.99 per month and settling on $5.99 per month for the student plan.

Amid a continued push from the major labels for streaming price bumps, $10.99 (and up, in Deezer’s case) has become the norm for prominent platforms’ solo plans in the States; only SoundCloud Go+ and Amazon Music Unlimited are still available for $9.99 per month. But Amazon Music’s reduced cost is solely for Prime members, compared to the standard $10.99 monthly cost for non-Prime customers.

Returning to Pandora’s retooled pricing, it appears the change went into effect this past Friday.

According to one existing subscriber’s late-April Pandora Community post, complete with what seems to be a message from the service, the military-direct plan’s price jumped from $7.99 to $8.99 on May 24th. Other far-from-thrilled posts suggest that different plans’ pricing increased on the same date.

In response to the surprising number of complaints – Pandora had 2.4 million total subscription users as of February 2023, per the NMPA – a moderator affiliated with the service provided an explanation.

“Despite the continual rise in music licensing costs,” the follow-up reads in part, “we have been able to maintain consistent subscription prices; however, the current increase in our fees indicates how significant those licensing costs are.”

Overall, the reply doesn’t look to have assuaged subscribers’ concerns – with several posters expressing plans to exit Pandora in favor of Tidal. Based on its adjusted pricing structure, the Block-owned platform charges the same as Pandora for the individual tier and less ($16.99 instead of $17.99) for the family package as well as the student option ($4.99 as opposed to $5.99).

Of course, Tidal has long prioritized HD listening, and as we explored in a comprehensive analysis of leading platforms’ audio fidelity, its sound quality is superior to that of Pandora, which has a top-level bitrate of 192 kbps. At the risk of becoming entangled in an exceedingly involved topic, lossless technically refers to CD-level listening with 16-bit depth and a 44.1 kHz sample rate.

Spotify and many other non-Pandora services already support lossless by that definition, but bitrate (not to mention spatial audio) is a different discussion. Despite high-end limits of 9,216 kbps for the likes of Tidal and Amazon Music, competitors’ bitrates vary dramatically.

In the bigger picture, Pandora was parting with subscribers even before elevating prices, including a Q1 2024 dip of 64,000 self-pay subscribers to 5.9 million total for Premium as well as Plus.