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TheStreet Open House

The Meaning Behind Pandora's Brilliant Legal Maneuver

Stocks in this article: PAAPLCCMO

Here's what's even more shocking about that number -- that's 42,000-plus unique listeners. So I am one, you are two, your brother is three and so on all way past 42,000. Pandora has 42,000 listeners in freaking tiny Rapid City, S.D. I guess we can safely assume its national scale is real.

When you consider Pandora's ubiquity and ability to promote artists of all sizes for a music industry in disarray, it's tough to understand why the music industrial complex continues to bite the hand that feeds it.

And what's even funnier -- and more pathetic -- is that it would not surprise me to see "certain powerful music incumbents" (and a big radio company such as Clear Channel (CCMO)) attempt to hold up Pandora's purchase of KXMZ (I assume it still requires FCC approval). That's because, as Harrison stated, the complex "sees Internet radio as a threat to the status quo."

Funny and pathetic, yes. But definitely not surprising. There's a reason why the music industry and radio broadcasters want to see Pandora fail. It's because, unlike Pandora, a company that wants to "shift the equation away from big industry players towards a more democratic and inclusive industry for both listeners and artists," this cartel doesn't give a damn about music.

Radio stations view music as an expense. Noise between the commercials.

And the music industry -- led and hogtied by the major labels -- only cares about lining the pockets of a chosen few. From fat and happy executives to big names and only the most prolific songwriters. They have zero interest or incentive for promoting anything but a continuation of the status quo. Disruption terrifies them.

They're more than willing to take money from Apple (AAPL), a company indifferent to promoting the music industry, but unwilling to work with an organization that displays a power to promote national and local music at a scale and with a vigor we haven't seen since the glory days of terrestrial radio.

Again. No surprise. An aversion to innovation is exactly what got the music industrial complex and broadcast radio into the jams they're in now.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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