Do you like Pandora and use it regularly? Are you particularly addicted to that free, unlimited streaming that was taken away in February of this year? Good news for you then, as Pandora executives have announced on an earnings call that this restriction will once again be lifted. This has been a trend for Pandora over the years, where they once supported unlimited free streaming of Pandora radio content on the mobile side of things as long as you listened to some ads every few songs. Unlimited streaming was last restored in September of 2011, and was capped again in February of this year. Now Pandora CFO Mike Herring is explaining just why they are lifting this restriction yet again, starting September 1st. Essentially the cap was used as a "blunt tool" to limit usage and costs, but since the previous cap Pandora has figured out more "surgical techniques" for cost cutting, to put it in the CFO's own words. TechCrunch has also pointed out that when the latest mobile cap was put into place, usage dropped 10 percent.
Mr. Herring stated that Pandora doesn't expect to see usage hours jump significantly again though because of different types of caps like skip limits. These sorts of limits are put in place because, as estimated, subscriptions should make up about 20 percent of the company's revenue. Another reason for lifting the cap is because ad revenue has apparently been optimized to the point where every hour past 41 hours of monthly listening can be monetized at a higher rate than before. This all adds up to Pandora doing pretty well for itself, despite heavy competition. Interestingly enough competition wasn't talked about at all on this earnings call, even though Google's recent Play Music service launched in May to much fanfare, and the upcoming iTunes Radio service will be launching with iOS 7. This doesn't even begin to consider things like Spotify, Rdio and other competing services in the marketplace. Even with all this competition though, Pandora beat Wall Street revenue estimates, with revenue up 58 percent year-over-year. Pandora continues to flex its muscle by integrating into new hardware as the newest update did. Will Pandora expand its services to compete more toe-to-toe with services like Spotify and Google Play Music? While it wasn't discussed in this earnings call, there's no doubt things like this could be considered at some point.