NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I figured I would try a new technique.Maybe if I beat others who "cover" Pandora ( P) to the bottom of the barrel, if I apply absolutely no standard whatsoever to at least a portion of what I do, if I have no shame at all -- maybe then we'll hit a point where the articles people publish about Pandora can get no worse. Call it an attempt to put the notion of hitting bottom -- having no place to go but up -- in motion. Because right when you think it can't get any worse, it does. A handful of scribes take the Pandora story to new and even more shameful depths. Already this week we have seen Business Insider publish an eight-month old blog post passing it off as "today's" news. Then there was Greg Sandoval's Pandora hit job over at The Verge where he passed off Tim Westergren dining on a "truffle-infused Kobe beef burger" with investment bankers as somehow germane to the royalty conversation. Earlier in the same article, Sandoval passes off the inability of All Things D's Peter Kafka to conduct real reporting as a pockmark against Pandora. Of course, that's what they teach you in Journalism 101: Tweet the CTO of a public company to get answers to your most vexing questions. This is where we are -- next these guys will pick through Westergren's garbage and produce smashed vinyl copies of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. They'll mark it as "EXCLUSIVE" or "BREAKING" and take pats on the back from the clique of colleagues and "industry sources" they work so feverishly not to piss off. Forget doing actual work to get the real story or find something closer to the truth; it's not about the reader, it's about the personal relationships they maintain that the general public couldn't care less about. We have come to a point where not only in this story, but, sadly, in the broader scope, journalists routinely make something out of nothing and expect companies to spoon feed them information in lieu of doing actual journalism. It's a pretty crappy day when I have to use relationships I have worked to establish to find out that Tim Westergren selected the "truffle-infused Kobe beef burger" off of the buffet at a reception hosted back around 2006. What bearing that has on the royalty dustup, I'll never know. And, newsflash to Sandoval, most urbanites can walk a few blocks from where they rest their heads to secure truffle-infused Kobe beef burgers and equivalent fare.
But, I will tell you this with my left hand placed on the bible, right hand in the air, Pandora has never said, never will say and definitely does not want or expect an 85% decrease in its performance royalty. What it has said, wants, expects or, better yet, hopes to secure is a more equitable structure. One where, theoretically, Pandora's rate comes down and, say, cable's and satellite's go up (and, ideally, broadcast radio pays something!). A structure that clears up the present unjust, outdated and glaring discrepancy. I do agree with Sandoval's article to a certain extent. Pandora has a PR problem. It's something I have been writing about for several months. Sandoval should take note. Pandora must back off the larger piece of the pie argument and focus on shifting the discussion to a place where the emphasis is on what it can do for major label and independent artists. Pandora can pay less and give artists more -- as Kafka recently put it -- if the music industry collaborates in a way that puts less emphasis on the ancient and myopic royalty system and more focus on using data to harness the marketing power of music in relation to everything from touring to advertising. Guys like Sandoval and Kafka are apparently tech reporters; they should understand this inside and out. Speak the language. It's shocking that they don't and even more disappointing that they focus their energy on conducting road-to-nowhere "research" via Twitter. I'll keep fleshing out these issues and demand better not only from the media covering Pandora, but, when appropriate (and it is right now), from Pandora itself. For color and context on the real issues, use the three links in the paragraph just ahead of this one as starter. Also see the results of my recent conversation with ASCAP President and Board Chairman Paul Williams. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in New York City