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Pandora drops 40-hour free listening limit ahead of iTunes Radio launch

On its earnings call yesterday, Pandora CEO Mike Herring said the company would be dropping its 40-hour free listening limit on mobile devices, which it instituted in February. The limit saw users having to pay for Pandora's annual subscription fee of US$36 if they went over 40 hours of free listening a month on their mobile devices.

Many in the industry think the reversal of the 40 hours of free listening cap is a sign Pandora is nervous about Apple's upcoming iTunes Radio, which is set to launch next month. However, Pandora says the reversal has nothing to do with that. Instead, according to Pandora, the change was prompted by increased advertising revenue and improved cost control measures that are now in place.

And as for iTunes Radio, here's what the Pandora CEO told AllThingsD about how he thinks it will affect Pandora's business:

"We've now been around for eight years. We've seen competitors large and small enter the market and, in some cases, exit the market. I've never seen an analysis that identifies an effect from any competitor ... we don't see the picture changing."

In all honesty, that kinda of reminds me what Palm CEO Ed Colligan said when rumors of an Apple smartphone appeared to be coming to fruition: "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."

We'll find out soon enough.

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