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TheStreet Open House

BREAKING: Indie Artist Wants Pandora to Act Like a Charity

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I have tried to engage indie artist Blake Morgan. Pandora's (P) co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren has done the same. I can only assume others have as well.

In my case -- and, from what I understand, in Westergren's case -- these overtures receive no response from Morgan. That's not much of a surprise. Morgan must know deep down that he floats a flawed argument. However, he was at it again over the weekend on NPR's "Weekend Edition."

Morgan discusses the royalty situation minus any necessary context and nuance, which strikes me kinda funny. He's a singer/songwriter; the really good ones tend to look past talking points, war cries and window dressing.

Additionally, between the NPR piece and a Bloomberg Radio interview he did a few weeks back, Morgan speaks from both sides of his mouth.

In one breath, he says he doesn't want more money from Pandora. He just opposes the company's desire to cut artists pay ( Alert: That's a talking point with no context). In the next, he moans about Tim Westergren cashing in a million dollars' worth of stock each month. Morgan can't seem to reconcile Westergren's riches with his $15 quarterly cut of the royalties Pandora pays out for the airplay his songs receive on the Internet radio service.

It's almost as if Morgan wants Pandora -- a publicly-traded technology company with the stated and genuine mission of redefining radio and partnering with musicians -- to apply for non-profit status. He wants them to operate as a 501(c)(3), not a business. Truth be told, Westergren would much rather run Pandora like a social enterprise, but there's some crap that needs to get sorted out first.

Morgan refuses to engage his critics. That's because he realizes his argument doesn't hold up. So here and now, I offer Blake the opportunity to sit down with me and/or Westergren. Let's do it at a SXSW panel or something. Name the time and place and I will be there. While I can't speak for Westergren, I reckon he would show up as well.

We provide different perspectives on a set of issues Morgan absolutely needs to take another look at.

First and foremost, why in the hell does Blake Morgan have royalties on his radar in the first place? I'll never for the life of me understand this. The music industrial complex uses guys like Morgan, whipping them into a frenzy to generate passionate support for something wholly immaterial to most singers and songwriters.

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