@Rocco_TheStreet Have you read this? http://t.co/HmTQZLXBuN— Fitz Hugh Ludlow (@LudlowSeeds) June 26, 2013NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- That's a Twitter exchange I had midday Wednesday. Thanks to "Fitz Hugh Ludlow" for passing on the information. I didn't see the CNBC treatment of the story, but I hope it was more complete than everything else that has been done on the topic over the last year or so. In case, you don't know what we're talking about, allow me to refresh. You have probably seen this headline or something like at some point in the last 24 hours or so: Pandora Users Played David Lowery's Song a Million Times and All He Got Was $16.89 What have I been bitching about for months? Context. Media outlets pick up these Pandora ( P) tidbits and uncritically turn them into stories, but very few, if any, even huge music and tech publications provide the necessary context. Talk about irresponsibility and injustice. But, I digress. At his blog, theunderstatement, Michael DeGusta does an excellent job setting the record straight and putting Lowery, who is complaining about how much he made off of Cracker's hit "Low," in his place. While I have not yet gone through DeGusta's numbers with a fine tooth comb, at a glance, they seem accurate, even if off by a percentage point here or there. I'm quite confident, however, that if there are errors, they do not detract from the must-see numbers or the must-read analysis DeGusta provides.
None of this means Pandora ought to pay less in royalties. On the contrary, it seems quite likely that others should be paying more. And perhaps the non-artists involved in the transaction shouldn't be taking 53% of the total for their services. But attacking Pandora with intentionally misleading statistics just undermines the credibility of the argument.Bingo. The system's broken. That's not Pandora's fault, but, of course, there are moves Pandora can make to take the high road and move this whole chaotic conversation forward to a sound resolution. Update: Despite Microsoft's ( MSFT) entry into streaming Internet radio, Pandora shares held up today, likely on the back of DeGusta's rebuke of Lowery, but more so on positive notes from Wall Street brokerages Stifel and Cowen and Company. The firms, respectively, rate Pandora "buy" and "outperform" with price targets of $20 at Stifel and $22 at Cowen. Shares of P closed Wednesday's session up roughly 8% at $17.73. That's a 52-week closing high for the stock. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.