WMG CEO Revelation

Here’s some welcome sounding news: Edgar Bronfman, head of Warner Music Group, tells a mobile conference that the music industry was wrong to forestall the burgeoning of online music.  The admission is somewhat surprising, considering Warner’s recent public strategy.  They have twice recently been in the news for refusing to license DRM free music: Amazon.com’s download store has no WMG catalog and Nokia also hasn’t been granted a license.

Also much of the blog comment chatter has been less than supportive.  While I would rather see actions more than words, I hope this means we are turning the corner on the bullheadedness regarding digital distribution.  If we have started this war against our customers, it’s time to change course and win them over.

In my role as armchair music CEO, the first task would be to declare an end to the RIAA litigation against file sharers.  If this is indeed an “inadvertent” war, Bronfman’s admission could serve as the cease-fire.  The public’s appetite for music is a good thing for our industry, and we just need to forge new alliances and relationships to monetize this hunger.  The lawsuits should be a last resort when good faith discussions are impossible, instead of the first negotiation tactic.  This alone would generate goodwill among forgiving music fans.

The road to recovering a healthy music business will be difficult, but I hope that today’s comments signal the dawning of our rebirth.  And I must commend Mr. Bronfman for showing his leadership and taking a difficult step of publicly admitting mistakes.  Integrity has been overshadowed in much of our culture, so it’s refreshing to see an industry leader show some spirit.

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~ by Som on November 14, 2007.

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