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TheStreet Open House

Tech Media Misses (Badly) Again

Stocks in this article: P

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If technology reporters adopt Google (GOOG) Glass en masse, it will make perfect sense. They appear to always be looking for new and "innovative" ways to push themselves deeper into their own worlds.

Coverage of Pandora (P) throughout much of the tech (and financial) media shows a refusal (or inability?) to look past one's own nose. I don't think the people who write about Pandora are dumb. Quite the contrary.

Many are simply lazy. They regurgitate what they read in press releases, op-ed pieces and other people's articles (OPA) without any meaningful analysis beyond the accepted and obvious. Others are so hipster-like they can't bring themselves to learn anything about Pandora because it has been around so long. As such they effectively support the music industrial complex's much longer-standing and broken model.

Case in point... Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes who -- unable to hold back on the snark -- restates the obvious, even gets the obvious partially wrong, misunderstands Pandora's hybrid model and closes with his heaviest dose of cluelessness by dismissing the company's intention to personalize terrestrial radio in Rapid City as a "splendid nugget of nonsense."

On Wednesday, I addressed what Clark Estes calls nonsense in The Meaning Behind Pandora's Brilliant Legal Maneuver. I add color to the situation; not even more bad reporting and errant analysis to an already bulging scroll.

I stay away from the legal aspect because, at this point, there's not much to say other than what's obvious. For a better-informed opinion, it's best to talk to people closer to the situation, particularly those who know more than you about it, and wait for the court to unseal key legal documents. That's what I'm doing.

However, to address Clark Estes' rant, Pandora isn't "gaming" anything. As it attempts to fight a series of unjust (for Pandora, for all of Internet radio and for working musicians) music royalty schemes, the company actually does nothing but play by the rules to gain an advantage its competitors enjoy.

As for Pandora's model, yes, it has fewer paying subscribers than Spotify, but the comparison lacks necessary context. One of the things I have criticized Pandora on in the past is not pushing its subscription option. It's ad-supported radio first -- by a mile -- and subscription-based personalized radio second.

It wasn't until Pandora instituted a successful monthly mobile listening cap that the paid subscriber number became somewhat relevant. The company added 700,000 new subs in Q1 alone for a total of more than 2.5 million and a year-over-year increase of 114%.

But enough squabbling over the facts. When Clark Estes waxes subjectively, he also misses the mark ... badly.

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