Pandora Media will increase fees for its ad-free service by US$1 a month to almost US$5 a month in May, a move to cover the rising cost of licensing tunes that may annoy some long-time fans of the popular internet music-streaming service.
The company, which streams music from virtual radio stations to mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone or Google Android smartphones, said in a blogpost on Tuesday that royalties paid to artists had risen 53 per cent over the past five years and would rise another 9 per cent in 2015.
The increase of US$1 to US$4.99 a month takes effect for new subscribers in May.
Existing monthly subscribers would not be forced to accept the higher charges for now, it said without elaborating. However, annual subscriptions would be discontinued.
Yearly subscribers now paying US$36 a year would move to a monthly, "loyalty" $3.99 plan once their memberships expired.
Pandora said the fee rises should affect an estimated 3.3 million listeners, out of 250 million registered users, the bulk of whom tune in to the free, ad-supported service.
"The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably," Pandora said.
"We hope that you understand why we have taken these steps. Our goal is to continue to be your go-to internet radio destination."
Pandora is already one of the world's most popular streaming music services though it has plenty of competitors, including Spotify and Apple's iTunes Radio.
The company said that active listeners in January fell to 73.4 million from 76.2 million in December, due to normal seasonality.
However, year-on-year active users were up by 12 per cent.