The world has ended, I’ve hit my 40 hour allotment of Pandora for the month. So what happens when you run out of 40 hours of Pandora. . .
This is where it gets interesting. I was joking about this with my co-workers this afternoon, since generally my Pandora is signed in and playing whenever I’m at work, which means I should hit my 40 hours in just a shade under a week every month. So expectedly I’ve hit the limit, so we figured just sign up for another account and sign in again and run through another 40 hours (which probably violates the TOS, but nevertheless. . .)
Nope, no chance, in fact the whole Pandora site changes over when you hit 40 hours. Gone is the registration link. No matter, I’ll remote desktop to another computer and register a new address and use it here since I can’t register locally. Nope! Logging in with a completely new registered e-mail address still says that I’ve listened to my 40 hours and am entitled to no more.
Alright, last try, let’s clear all of the browser caches/cookies/etc, and try again. Well, given that the site still has no register a new account link means it will make no difference. They’re clearly tracking usage by IP address, perhaps machine reported statistics, and obviously your username plays a role on some level (though obviously not entirely).
I wonder what happens on a shared IP address? Anybody out there know? Anybody else run into the 40 hour limit? I don’t mind paying the cheap cost of good quality music, but I’d like to know how their tracking these things.
After paying $0.99 on about the 20th of the last several months I finally bit the bullet and gave Pandora my hard earned $36 for the year (it’s nice that I don’t have to dig around for the “don’t auto-renew button”, it’s just presented when you pay). I have to admit that the desktop app alone is worth the money, not having a bogged down browser is immediately apparent on an older computer, even when running with Chrome or with Pandora in a separate browser.
After some “careful” research, I’ve concluded that Pandora is storing player information in both a flash object, and tracking the time played by user account AND IP address, so if you want to continue to get more than 40 hours/month you need to have a separate account, a separate data/internet connection (you don’t have to clear flash cache or anything else) and then wait until you run one account out and switch over to the other for the rest of the month. I could pay ~$12/year by waiting until I run out each month but again the higher quality, no advertisements, 5 hour timeout and the dedicated player are all well worth it! YMMV