Comfortably Dumb

Holy cow, dudes! Pink Floyd is harshing Pandora's ( P) mellow, and Pandora is harshing right back.

The three remaining original members of the classic rock band put aside their differences to stick it to the online music provider in a USA Today op/ed last Sunday titled "Pandora's Internet radio royalty ripoff." The musicians behind The Dark Side of the Moon are pissed off about Pandora's compensation policies for artists and its campaign to equalize royalty rates.

"For almost all working musicians, it's also a question of economic survival. Nearly 90% of the artists who get a check for digital play receive less than $5,000 a year. They cannot afford the 85% pay cut Pandora asked Congress to impose on the music community," wrote Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason.

Not that the trio has to work anymore of course. They've made so much money they won't have to work again until pigs fly.

Still, it's nice to see them stick up for up-and-coming bands, even if we have no idea where that 85% figure is coming from. For that matter, neither does Pandora, which said as much in its reply to the fuming Floyd.

"They have been given badly misleading information -- the result of a well-orchestrated campaign by the RIAA and their lobbying arm to mislead and agitate artists. A glaring example is the assertion that Pandora supports an '85% artist pay cut.' That is simply not true," stated Pandora, which has come under constant fire from artists claiming its royalty rates are miniscule.

As to which side really is the dark one, we're not sure. We're just comfortably numb from the dumbness of it all.

We do know that shares of Pandora sparked up 7% Wednesday on the heels of a Cowen upgrade. Analyst John Blackledge raised his rating on the company to outperform from market perform, saying he expects the company's audio advertising revenue to grow from $293 million in 2014 to $1.8 billion in 2019 as people listen to its stations longer and the number of advertisements it serves increases.

Maybe if that happens, Pandora can raise its royalty rates and finally make peace with Pink Floyd.

Then again, we highly doubt it. Judging from the four decades long feud between Waters and the rest of the band, these guys are pretty good at holding a grudge.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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