“Pandora Media Inc will increase fees for its ad-free service by $1 a month to almost $5 a month in May, a move to cover the rising cost of licensing tunes that may annoy some longtime fans of the popular music-streaming service,” Reuters reports. “The company, which streams music from virtual radio stations to mobile devices such as Apple Inc’s iPhone… said in a Tuesday blogpost that royalties paid to artists had risen 53 percent over the past five years and will rise another 9 percent in 2015. The increase of $1 to $4.99 a month takes effect for new subscribers in May. Existing monthly subscribers will not be forced to accept the higher charges for now, it said without elaborating.”

“Annual subscriptions will be discontinued however. Yearly subscribers paying $36 a year currently will move to a monthly, ‘loyalty’ $3.99 [per month] plan once their memberships expire,” Reuters reports. “Pandora is already one of the world’s most popular streaming music services though it has plenty of competitors, including Spotify and Apple Inc’s iTunesRadio [sic].”

“The company said that active listeners in January fell to 73.4 million from 76.2 million in December, due to normal seasonality,” Reuters reports. “However, year-over-year active users were up 12 percent.”

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