Warner’s Middlebronfman: ‘We sell our songs through iPods, but we don’t have share of iPod revenue’

“Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s Warner Music Group, once derided as an awkward investment in a troubled industry, is starting to gather a little steam,” Sandy Brown reports for TheStreet.com. “Bronfman’s $2.6 billion buy of the Time Warner music division last year, along with a group of private-equity hard chargers, was written off as little more than a vanity play for a self-professed music fanatic cum media mogul. After all, the music industry has been hit by rampant piracy and declining retail sales, trends the industry has been unable to contain. But the tables may be turning. Described as a noncore asset at Time Warner, Warner Music now looks like a play on a management group that saw the time was right to get into an industry in transition.”

“Part of the reason for the uptick may be what Bronfman has said recently regarding file-sharing, industry pricing and pay-for-content as it is distributed on newer platforms,” Brown reports. “‘We are really the arms suppliers to a significant series of wars going on,’ Bronfman said at a recent conference. He noted what he called the device wars, ‘as Sony, Samsung and others come after Apple’s dominance in the device space,’ as well as content distribution wars among telcos, cable, broadcast and others. Plus, Bronfman said, there’s ‘opportunity for penetration on existing platforms like mobile, where, despite drastic changes we’ve seen in digital, we have yet to sell a single song.'”

Brown reports, “Bronfman would like to change the balance of what the music labels get paid for and what they give away. He says that 20 years ago the industry gave music to MTV and made that business successful, and that has more recently been the case where iPods are concerned. ‘We’re selling our songs through iPods, but we don’t have a share of iPods’ revenue,’ he said. ‘We have to keep thinking about how to monetize our content for our shareholders where we’ve been creating value for so many other streams.'”

“Though Bronfman and his group have seemingly put Warner Music on the right track, some investors still think Time Warner made the right choice in bidding adieu to the music business,” Brown reports. “The challenge for Bronfman is to prove those problems aren’t too big to overcome.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wethinks Middlebronfman has popped his cork. Now the greedy @#$%&! wants a share of the hardware revenue, too? Did the record labels get a cut of turntable sales for umpteen years? Did Sony pay Warner Music a percentage of each and every cassette Walkman they sold? For the love of Jobs!

From Middlebronfman’s iPod voice recorder: “Note to self: don’t forget to call the iPod case and accessory makers, we deserve a cut from them, too. And the headphone and speaker makers. Oh, and those guys that make the chips inside iPods, too. And copper smelters! And the plastics makers!! And the LCD screen makers!!! And, and, and… more later. Money, money, money! Ah-hahahahaha!!! (singing) money, money, money, money!

We hope that someday Steve Jobs is the one who eliminates the middlebronfman and allows the artists to go directly to their fans via iTunes; no more outdated ideas like making an album a year (you write a song, record it and release it via iTunes whenever the creative urge hits) and no more greedy, waste-of-space middlebronfman types always getting in the way with their stupid money-hungry ideas and disproportionately outsized takes.

[Note: MacDailyNews coined the term “Middlebronfman,” a combination of “middleman” and “Bronfman,” in an article on Monday, October 03, 2005 with the sentence, “Eliminate the middlebronfman.” Full article here.]

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Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair – September 23, 2005
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83 Comments

  1. theyre not going to be needed in the future. where does he get off thinking that hes important, its about the music, and the music comes from the artists. warner and the rest are just the middlemen, gees.
    apple is already a distributer. and the fairsest most efficient of them all. just wait until the music labels are cut out of the picture, as far as i can see the music labels are finished. its just a matter of time now. when apple make their own label and give more of the profits back to the artists then just sit back and watch the artists flee in droves. only remains to be seen how long it will take.

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