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TheStreet Open House

Do Artists Really Hate Pandora?

Stocks in this article: P

NOTE to readers, indie artists, music types: I'm putting my Twitter contact up top because this article is, in part, a request for engagement. So hit me up on Twitter: @rocco_thestreet.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Check out this sampling of comments from an article, published by The Hill, that details the music industrial complex's outrage over Pandora's (P) decision to purchase an FM radio station.

They sort of fly in the face of the message the music industry attempts to craft. One that effectively claims Pandora hates musicians and wants to pay them as little as possible. As I have illustrated, repeatedly, it's a shallow talking point of an argument lacking context and nuance. But, if the commenters to The Hill's piece are at all representative of the general public, not everybody blindly falls for the music industry's propaganda.

But only a tiny percentage of artists have ever profited from radio royalty payments... Ever. if pandora is paying a higher rate per song than clear channel, then individual payments to artists can only be lower because it is playing a wider selection of music... because it's a music discovery service. exposing listeners to new music should drive sales of albums, tracks and concert tickets through other channels...
they are following the law... to bad if greedy musicians and songwriters don't like it. the laws say if you own a terrestrial station you pay so much...they have conformed to the law...
Pandora has a link to bookmark and purchase a song I like. I'm buying more music than ever before ... The dinosaurs just can't see a new opportunity and position themselves for it...

Now, granted, I'm the first to point out that commenters make up a minuscule portion of the larger readership (often way less than one percent). And that particular article didn't, as of my writing, get many comments. However, as anecdote, and, as the types of comments you do not always see pop up in this chaotic, emotionally-driven conversation, they're a breath of fresh air.

Which leads to the question -- do independent artists, working musicians, struggling artists really hate Pandora? My sense is absolutely not. Certainly, you have guys like Blake Morgan, who hit Pandora from time to time and then run. Of course, there's the various arms of the music industrial complex whipping guys like Morgan into a misguided frenzy. But, outside of that disillusioned core, does the larger population -- generally and of singers, performers and songwriters -- really hate Pandora?

I think not.

Because they recognize how irrelevant, how immaterial Morgan's fight and the industry's message on Pandora is to their lives. Seems to me artists -- large and small -- should attack the broken system, not Pandora.

Without Internet radio, spins and promotion narrow to nothing but the select few we hear on terrestrial radio. Now again, this isn't about making money off of royalties. As one of the commenters pointed out -- and as I have railed for months -- that doesn't happen much. It's about leveraging spins and promotion -- exposure -- into maximizing your opportunity as an artist/small businessperson.

This issue cannot die. We must cut through troves of misinformation and deal with the subjects that matter. We need independent artists to come together and take control of the conversation. I'm willing to back these guys, but I can't believe for a second that Blake Morgan and the unwieldy music industrial complex represent anything close to consensus on Pandora, Internet radio and the royalty discussion in general.

The focus of the fight must shift. To topics such as access to data, touring, pay for play, etc.

Hit me up on Twitter: @rocco_thestreet.

-- 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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