These Pandora, Spotify Comments Should Go Viral

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As much as I love Billboard, I have to call them out for a worthless series, most obviously titled "World War P: The Battle Against Pandora (P)." Talk about lazy journalism, focused on (an albeit decent job of) regurgitating and summarizing what we already know during a time when we desperately require somebody to move the Internet radio royalty conversation forward.

We should all expect -- and demand -- more from institutions such as Billboard.

But then, thankfully, there's this. An article that required a fraction of the time and space to produce that, in a perfect world, would go viral and have the impact it deserves.

I want to apologize to Steve Knopper and Rolling Stone for doing something I typically do not do.

I am going to provide them with a link to an excellent story they published Tuesday, however, I'm going to excerpt from it more than I usually would in this article.

It's just that important, telling, constructive and, at the same time, so damn frustrating.

First, reacting to news that U.S. album sales hit another record low in July, Knopper cuts to the heart of what's happening to the music industry:
The dismal sales strongly suggest growing streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube have begun to cut into CDs and download sales.

Knopper then quotes Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records. Glassnote reps some solid acts, most notably Mumford and Sons. Given the pressure the music industrial complex exerts, even if indirectly, to conform to the MusicFirst, David Lowery, Pink Floyd company line, it takes some balls for Glass to express his vision, which bravely goes against the grain:
We're in a transition. Streaming is up. The economic model is not there today, but it will be there.
I'm from the school of embracing the technology to find that wider audience. (Glassnote's) business is up. Ticket sales are great. Our groups are thriving. We can't afford to have a dying model.

I have one more brother from another Mother. I could have used Glass's comments in one of the dozens of articles I have written over the last year or so articulating the very same position.

And let's not forget an equally-as-worthy-of-repeating nugget from former Island Def Jam president Jim Caparro:
The record companies have to re-engineer themselves around subscription services to continue to be relevant and profitable.

I would extend that to include not only subscription services such as Spotify, but pure-play personalized Internet radio pioneer Pandora. While the models and prospects for success are distinct between the various players, the notion that the music industrial complex needs to "embrace technology" and "re-engineer" itself around Internet radio warrants broad appeal.

And, make no mistake about it, that notion absolutely does have broad appeal.

Here's why it does and why the media roundly ignores it ... on page two.

There's just little incentive for the labels and artists who share Glass and Caparro's takes to speak out. Plus they're under lots of pressure to either conform or stay silent. Again, it's largely an indirect, mob mentality type of pressure. As far as I know the major labels haven't begun arranging hits and dropping fish heads at people's doors. At least not yet.

Of course, at this juncture, the media would normally come in. It would expose alternative explanations and viewpoints on such a controversial story. It wouldn't package old information as a "special report" like Billboard did. And, generally, it's coverage of Pandora and Internet radio wouldn't border on criminal.

If you have a second, reread the story I link to in that last sentence. It calls out the media for its pathetic coverage of this issue. I focus on Business Insider and their poster child example of hack journalism -- repackaging an 8-month old story (I helped write "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and Pandora only gave me this lousy t-shirt) as current news to piggyback on the hysteria triggered by David Lowery's "Pandora played my song "Low" like a million times and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Why isn't anybody taking the Rolling Stone story and running with it? After all, Mumford and Sons (though I cannot confirm that Glass speaks for them on this) is a pretty big name these days. Why wouldn't comments from their label make as much news, if not more, or even come close to the splash Lowery, BI's effectively "fake" Belinda Carlisle rehash and, subsequently, Pink Floyd's comments have made?

Sadly, I'm asking a question I already know the answer to. It really is sad. It's much easier to generate mileage off of a snappy headline "exposing" how 1,000,000 spins or plays or why bother defining it (!) only generated less than $40 in royalties from Pandora than it is to actually dig into an issue and provide readers with facts, context and, if you like to editorialize, something that even resembles an informed opinion.

-- 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.

More from Stocks

Markets Look Confused After Latest Beating

Markets Look Confused After Latest Beating

General Electric Expulsion From Dow Symbolizes Unsettled Week in Markets

General Electric Expulsion From Dow Symbolizes Unsettled Week in Markets

How Small-Cap Stocks Can Protect Your Portfolio From a Trade War

How Small-Cap Stocks Can Protect Your Portfolio From a Trade War

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

3 Great Stock Market Sectors Millennials Should Invest In

3 Great Stock Market Sectors Millennials Should Invest In