by Carlos E. Castañeda

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Popular Internet radio firm Pandora will soon raise the price for its commercial-free streaming music service by a dollar to $4.99 a month for new users, beginning in May.

Existing monthly subscribers to the Pandora One service won’t have to pay the additional dollar, at least not for now, according to the company.

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The Oakland-based firm is also doing away with its yearly subscriber option of $36 a year. Current subscribers on that plan will be moved to a $3.99 a month plan when their membership expires.

In a blog post Tuesday, Pandora said the royalties it pays to artists have jumped 53 percent over the past five years with another nine percent rise slated for 2015.

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“The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably,” Pandora said in its blog post. “We hope that you understand why we have taken these steps. Our goal is to continue to be your go-to internet radio destination.”

Among the services Pandora competes with for streaming music customers are Spotify, Apple’s iTunes Radio, Rdio, Google Play and the recently-launched Beats Music.

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Pandora says 3.3 million people pay to use the Pandora One service to listen without commercials, compared with out of the 250 million registered users.