Pandora will lift the 40-hour/month limit on ad-supported mobile listening, it announced yesterday, but also limit the number of songs these users can skip, as a way to manage royalty costs.
These announcements came along with the company's second quarter earnings and usage reports (see today's top story here).
Since March, Pandora has limited listeners of its free streaming service to 40 hours per month on mobile (listeners could purchase additional listening for the month). Beginning in September, that limit will lifted. Paraphrasing CFO Michael Herring from the earnings call, CNet reports Pandora will use "tools like skip limits and other measures" to "manage Pandora listening patterns much more closely than the 'blunt tool' of a cap did." Those other tools include "a newly announced 'sleep timer,'" says The Wall Street Journal, "that users can program to freeze the service after they fall asleep."
Tom Taylor reports you can also expect more ads on the Pandora free service. Limited to between 3 and 4 per hour in the past, Pandora plans to go up to 5 commercial units (perhaps as much as 3 minutes of commercials) per hour, with some "stop sets" including more than one spot back to back.
One last interesting note from Tom's coverage: Pandora announced it paid $8 million to Yahoo for patents related to the now-defunct Launch Media service, which should help protect it in potential intellectual property disputes.