Here's CFO Mike Herring announcing the decision:
Our investment in advertising infrastructure and implementing smart levers such as reducing song skipping and limiting mobile listening have helped us drive monetization and manage content costs, as reflected by the increase in RPM and a decrease in content costs as a percentage of revenue. When we introduced the 40 hour mobile listening limit, we were confident that our scale – over 7% of total radio listening and Pandora’s number one ranking in most major markets – would allow us to take this action without impacting our key monetization initiatives in driving the disruption of the radio advertising market and driving our mobile advertising leadership. As our results have shown, the continued strong growth in our advertising revenue allowed us to cover the increased royalty costs with dollars left over to invest back into the business.
With these tools in hand, and insight into how they work, we are resetting our levers in September. Notably, Pandora plans to eliminate the blanket 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening effective September 1st. In the 6 months since we first implemented the free mobile listening limitation, we have gained critical insights into our user population that has given us greater control of our business. Because of these insights Pandora has implemented both other surgical levers to control content cost and new features that will allow for greater product usage. With these tools in place we are well positioned to continue to both optimize the cost structure of the business and further monetization progress.
Of course, this move is likely intended to combat competition from Apple who will be launching iTunes Radio alongside iOS 7 next month.
You can download Pandora Radio from the App Store for free.