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Is Pandora Panicking; Should Investors?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I write this from one of the most vibrant environments in the world -- Wall Street. Right across from the New York Stock Exchange. At TheStreet, if I may speak for an entire organization, we like to call the TST headquarters a key hub in Cramerica.

The original reason for my journey no longer exists.

I was supposed to do an on-camera interview with Pandora (P - Get Report) co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren, but, instead, the company opted to connect me with Westergren via telephone Thursday morning.

Readers, particularly those who follow me on Twitter and saw me promote the Westergren interview, deserve an explanation.

Long story, short -- Westergren and I had been communicating via email. Together, we hatched the idea to do an interview on leadership in perpetual startups such as Pandora.

I let Pandora know that I would be asking about two crucial and very topical issues as part of my time with Westergren -- royalties and the competitive threat from Apple (AAPL). Everything was a go.

But then both the royalty story and competitive threat angle blew up with a Westergren blog post and Microsoft's ( MSFT ) xBox Music announcement.

The interplay of those two factors shifted the interview's focus from the original discussion to royalties and competition. As a result, Pandora opted to cancel and shift to a phone interview.

To be fair, Pandora told me they wanted the change simply because of the move away from the originally agreed upon topic, not because of the sensitive content. While the folks at Pandora assured me they're insistence on the phone interview was simply because of the change in topic, it's hard for me to believe the new emphasis on royalties didn't have something to do with it. But whatever the cause, that decision led me to pause and reflect on my bullishness.

Here's my take.

Westergren created issues for Pandora when he decided to run the above-linked blog post. This is the widely publicized one where Pandora discloses how much money it pays individual artists.

Pandora claims it pays musicians you've never heard of up to $100,000 a year, while the company noted that it sends annual Pandora-generated income of over $1 million to the likes of Coldplay and Wiz Khalifa and nearly $3 million to Drake and Lil Wayne.
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