Pandora Family Plan Pricing & Details: Is It Worth It For You?

Pandora music streaming service

Pandora Family Plan Pricing & Details: Is It Worth It For You?

Not to be confused with the figure from Greek mythology (or the planet in James Cameron’s Avatar), Pandora is a music streaming service that emphasizes shuffled recommendations based on users’ tastes. Some call it a personalized internet radio service, and it’s an accurate description — especially considering all the ads. In 2017, Pandora launched a Premium plan that brought several new features. In 2018, they launched the Pandora Family Plan. What are the details? How about pricing? And is it worth subscribing to? Let’s break down the ins and outs of the Pandora Family Plan below.

Pandora Specs

FoundedJanuary 2000
LaunchedSeptember 2005
ServiceInternet radio
Music streaming service
Parent CompanySirius XM (2019 – present)
Next Big Sound
FoundersWill Glaser
Jon Kraft
Tim Westergren
Key FiguresRoger J. Lynch (CEO)
Aimée Lapic (CMO)
David Gerbitz (COO)
Chris Phillips (CPO)
Active Users55.9 million (2021)
Subscribers6.4 million (2021)
Plus LaunchedSeptember 15th, 2016
Plus Pricing$4.99 (monthly)
$54.89 (annually)
Premium LaunchedMarch 15th, 2017
Premium Pricing$9.99 (monthly)
$109.89 (annually)
Family Plan LaunchedMay 28th, 2018
Family Plan Pricing$14.99 (monthly)
$164.89 (annually)

The History of Pandora

Pandora is an online music streaming platform that offers personalized recommendations based on user preferences. The streamer was first founded by Will Glaser, Jon Kraft, and Tim Westergren in January of 2000. The three wanted to create a music discovery service — not necessarily a music streaming service, however — that would introduce listeners to a variety of new artists and songs. They based their service on the Music Genome Project: a comprehensive analysis of songs according to more than 450 unique attributes such as rhythm, lyrics, harmonies, and melodies.

This intricate analysis and categorization was then used to help Pandora create personalized radio experiences for individual users based solely on their music preferences. They first launched a prototype under the name “Savage Beast Music Player” in August of 2000. However, it was not very successful at all (due in part to its focus on businesses instead of consumers). Glaser, Kraft, and Westergren had exhausted two million in funding after just one year, and by 2004, the company knew they’d need to rework Savage Beast. Thus, in 2005, Pandora was truly born.

Now geared toward the consumer market, Pandora launched as an internet radio service in the fall of 2005. It once again relied on the Music Genome Project for its personalizations, using the sophisticated algorithm to recommend similar songs to users based on their particular likes and dislikes. This time, Glaser, Kraft, and Westergren had a real hit on their hands. By the end of the year, the newly repurposed streamer had accrued more than two million users. Today, Pandora stands as one of the most popular music streaming platforms in the world with more than 60 million active users.

Pandora and other music streaming services on an iPhone.

Pandora stands out against the competition for its focus on shuffled recommendations based on users’ tastes.

Benefits Of Pandora Subscriptions

Let’s break down the benefits of each one of Pandora’s subscription plans: Pandora Plus, Pandora Premium, and Pandora Family Plan. Each comes with its own unique price, which varies depending on if subscribers want to pay monthly or annually. Additionally, each comes with its own unique set of benefits. Allow us to elaborate on the nuances of each of these Pandora subscriptions, including factors such as unique benefits and individual pricing per subscription tier. Then, we’ll discuss these subscriptions in depth.

Pandora Plus

First IntroducedSeptember 15th, 2016
Price$4.99 (monthly)
$54.89 (annually)
BenefitsAd-free personalized stations
Search and play what you want after viewing ads
Access to podcasts
Unlimited skips
Limited offline listening

Pandora Premium

First IntroducedMarch 15th, 2017
Price$9.99 (monthly)
$109.89 (annually)
BenefitsAd-free personalized music
Search and play what you want, ad-free
Access to podcasts
Unlimited skips
Unlimited offline listening
Freedom to make and share playlists

Pandora Family Plan

First IntroducedMay 28th, 2018
Price$14.99 (monthly)
$164.89 (annually)
BenefitsUp to six individual accounts
Ad-free personalized stations
Search and play what you want after viewing ads
Access to podcasts
Unlimited skips
Offline listening

How Pandora Subscriptions (Including Pandora Family Plan) Came To Be

Not unlike Spotify, Pandora offers both free and paid subscription options. These paid options provide listeners with numerous additional features such as ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and greater freedom of choice in the music played. Even with strong competition from rivals such as Apple Music and Spotify, Pandora continues to thrive as a popular choice for music lovers the world over. Its three subscription models — Pandora Plus, Pandora Premium, and Pandora Family Plan — are partially to thank for this. Plus was introduced in 2016, with Premium in 2017 and the Pandora Family Plan in 2018.

Pandora Plus is the most basic and affordable subscription option at $4.99 a month. It allows Pandora users to listen to ad-free music and enjoy unlimited skips — effectively circumventing two integral components of Pandora’s free plan, which comes riddled with ads and a limited number of skips. Pandora Plus also gives users the ability to replay particular songs they really love, as well as create personalized playlists and listen to music offline. Pandora Premium offers everything included in Plus, but adds unrestricted song playback and unlimited skip-free playlists for $9.99 monthly.

The Pandora Family Plan is the priciest tier, but it’s also the most feature-heavy. It allows up to six users to create accounts under one master account holder. Each user is given their own personalized account. Beyond this, each personalized account comes with ad-free listening, an unlimited number of skips, and the ability to listen to music offline. This subscription costs $14.99 per month, which breaks down to less than $2.50 per account with six accounts. With the annual discount, that comes out to be less than $2.30 per account per month.

Woman at desk listening to podcast music

The Pandora Family Plan allows up to six members of the same household to enjoy Pandora Premium at a discounted rate.

Pros And Cons Of Pandora Family Plan

All the benefits of the Pandora Premium plan for up to six usersFamilies with more than six people will need an additional family plan
No ads and unlimited skips for all members of the Pandora Family PlanNot able to join if you are subscribed through Apple, Google Play, Roku, or Amazon
Plans as low as $2.30 per account for six users when paying annuallyCannot play music from the same account on multiple devices simultaneously
More affordable than the Spotify Premium Family plan, which costs $15.99 a monthEach family plan account can only play one stream of ad-free content at a time

Is The Pandora Family Plan Worth It?

There’s no doubt the Pandora Family Plan is a great deal. At $14.99 a month for up to six users — each getting to enjoy their own personalized account with ad-free streams and an unlimited number of skips. and the ability to listen to music offline — it’s easy to see the appeal here. (Not to mention the need for its existence alongside Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium.) But, the question remains: Is the Pandora Family Plan worth it for you personally? The answer depends on what exactly your family situation looks like.

How many people are in your household? How often do they listen to music? Would they use all of the features associated with the Pandora Family Plan? Or would some of these features go to waste? Ask yourself these questions to determine whether the Pandora Family Plan is right for you. For example: If there are only three of you, and you don’t need all the added benefits of Premium, maybe you’re better off with three Plus plans instead. Ultimately, the Pandora Family Plan could — and, in all likelihood, probably would — be a great investment for you and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I start a Pandora Family Plan with friends?

According to Pandora’s terms of service, the Pandora Family Plan is designed to be used by people who live in the same household (such as family members or roommates, for example). While it is technically possible to share a Pandora Family Plan subscription with people outside your household (such as your friends), it does violate Pandora’s terms of service. As such, you risk your Pandora account being suspended or terminated by sharing with people outside the home.

Does the Pandora Family Plan support offline listening?

Yes, the Pandora Family Plan does support offline listening. This means that subscribers to the Pandora Family Plan can download songs and playlists to listen to later without the need for an internet connection. Offline listening makes for a great feature for anyone who travels outside of the range of cell service or simply someone who wishes to listen to their music without needing to use mobile data.

Is it possible to upgrade a Pandora Premium plan to a Pandora Family Plan?

Yes, it is possible to upgrade from Premium to the Family Plan via your Pandora account settings. If you are currently a subscriber to Pandora Plus or Pandora Premium, you can quickly and easily upgrade to the Pandora Family Plan by visiting your account settings and selecting “Upgrade.” From this point forward, your ongoing subscription will be prorated (meaning you will only be charged the difference between your current subscription and the cost of the family plan for as long as you’ve paid for the subscription, then regular pricing will begin).

Can Pandora Family Plan owners limit what others listen to on the plan?

While one might assume that the account owner supervising over the Pandora Family Plan would have ownership over all accounts, the truth is that each user gets to create their own personalized account. This means that no one is allowed to restrict what an account owner does or does not listen to — not even the account owner. However, you can always set parental controls on an individual device or account instead.

Can I still use my Pandora account after canceling my Family Plan?

Yes, you will still have access to your Pandora account after cancelling a Family Plan. You will simply be downgraded to Pandora’s free tier (unless you are merely adjusting your subscription to a Plus or Premium membership). To cancel your Pandora Family Plan, visit your account settings and select “Cancel Subscription.” You will still have full access to all Pandora Family Plan features and benefits until the end of your current billing cycle (whenever that may be).

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