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Breaking Pandora News (Read All About It!)

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BREAKING NEWS!!! Twitter is reportedly launching Twitter Music. And Pandora just topped 200 million subscribers.

More on that developing story coming in after my originally scheduled programming:

I do not hide my preference for Pandora as my Internet radio service of choice. Nor do I hide my affection for Pandora as a company. I idolize Pandora's Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren. However, I have to call it like I see it.

When Netflix puts out bogus PR, void of any meaningful context -- like our users streamed over 4 billion hours worth of video last quarter -- I call them on it. In fact, I will be on CNN at 4:00 PM, EST, Friday with Jake Tapper to discuss that very topic.

In any event, to its credit, Pandora did provide "meaningful context" alongside news that it now has 200 million registered users. But, please, what does that mean?

More registered users than households, eh?

Not the case.

I'm not sure if I still do, but, as of a few months ago, I had two accounts. How many people are like me -- multiple accounts, they forgot they had one and created another, they did another using their pet rat's email address and so on?

I just have a problem when companies with already fantastic narratives -- i.e., Pandora -- situate a story so the headline touts something disingenuous like 200 million users. Pandora would be better off burying the 200 million user line and focusing on one of the other tidbits from its official press release:

  • Pandora streams 200 million songs before 10 a.m. every day
  • Listeners have personalized their stations with more than 25 billion thumbs
  • Last month, Pandora played more than 100,000 unique artists and more than 1 million unique songs; the vast majority of that music got no other terrestrial radio airplay
  • More than 140 million listeners have tuned in to Pandora on a mobile device
  • Of course, you could nitpick with each of those, but they tell a better story than the 200 million user claim.

    Additionally, you could argue -- legitimately -- that even these data points aren't all that. In fact, you could even contend that Pandora sits in the same unworkable situation as Netflix. However, you would be missing one big distinction: Pandora has a reliable and growing stream of advertising revenue; it doesn't rely on fickle $8/month users to license only the most spare content available in the larger universe.

    But, back to that breaking news -- Twitter must be close to launching its mysterious music service. It's live. Sort of. But you cannot log in.