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TheStreet Open House

Pandora Isn't the Enemy, the Music Industry Is, Part 2

Stocks in this article: PSIRICCMO

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In Part 1 of this series, I expose the absurdity of indie artist Blake Morgan's criticisms of Pandora (P).

But it's not merely an absurd rant Morgan continued on Bloomberg Radio, it illustrates how emotionally charged music industry propaganda dupes guys like Morgan into wasting time lamenting issues that have little, if any, impact on their day-to-day existence or careers as singers/songwriters.

Who in their right mind blasts Pandora over minuscule amounts of royalty money while effectively ignoring the injustice struggling musicians have to deal with, on the ground, on a daily basis? Pandora pays what it is supposed to pay, as per mandate and negotiated deals, to parties who then distribute those payments.

On Tuesday, in Pandora Must Promote Indie Artists, Expose Music Industry Injustice, I told the story of a local Los Angeles band's experience playing the Hollywood bar and club scene. Read that article if you haven't already because it's important. It exposes an issue the music industry never talks about. It's a status quo everybody in the business not only accepts, but shamefully ignores.


I got something wrong about that band I wrote about earlier in the week. They did not draw 34 people to their gig. My count must have been off. Or maybe the people at the door got it wrong. Officially, they brought 28 people out to their show. That means they had $80 to split between five people, not $140.

After the show, however, the world famous Troubadour offered the band the "opportunity" to play the legendary venue.

Dig some of the history at the Troubadour. Dylan played there. Names such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffalo Springfield and Billy Joel made either worldwide, U.S. or Los Angeles debuts there. Don Henley and Glenn Frey met at the bar. In 1974, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band played an epic 90-minute set that started at two in the morning. Pearl Jam, formerly Mookie Blaylock, plays for the first time as Pearl Jam in 1991. Joe Strummer performed his final LA shows at the Troubadour in October 2001. The list goes on.

There's a catch, however, if you're one of the many relative "no-names" who gets asked to play the Troubadour. You need to -- and this has become the deflated catch phrase of countless local bands in these parts -- "bring people out." The band I wrote about claims they needed to "bring out" 60 to 80 people. If they fail to do this, they're on the hook for every cover charge below that number. So, because of the lopsided risk/reward, they're not playing the Troubadour. At least not now.

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