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Pandora Could Die If It Doesn't Start Listening

Stocks in this article: P AAPL LVY

As I showed Carlos the artist page, I explained what Pandora can do for bands like it if it only unleashed its promotional power as a partner. It can take an unknown act with a tiny following, such as Freefall Rescue, and pair it on a bill with a better-established group -- say, Golden State -- and put on a show where music fans judge Freefall Rescue on the merits of the work it does, without the distraction of the stressful baggage that goes along with needing to "bring people out" under the unjust pay-for-play sweatshop-like system.

The articles I link to in this piece add context and specifics to the point I am making here. I will continue to evolve these arguments. Because this is critically important on so many levels.

As it pertains to Pandora's future, it's really about survival. Maybe Pandora thinks it can't afford to go all-in on promoting the music industry -- from major labels to the independent producers that dominate the streaming radio service -- under its present royalty burden. That's a valid concern; however, it's quite tenuous.

Pandora currently spends considerable amounts of money on a fight there's a good chance it will lose. The more I cover this story -- and I am getting in deeper by the day -- the more I feel like Pandora stands a better chance mortgaging its future by going all-in on the promotional front, not the royalty fight.

Because, after all, how to promote and generate new, robust lines of revenue for the music industry and all artists in the digital age is a much more important issue than royalties for most labels and acts. Pandora needs to make that point with as much force, if not more, as it makes its royalty arguments. At present, it's not doing a good enough job.

-- 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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