Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’

“Warner Music Group, the world’s fourth largest music company, said on Thursday it will keep anti-piracy copy protection for digital songs sold on services such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes Music Store,” Reuters reports.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday called for DRM-free music sales online in an open letter posted on Apple’s website.

Reuters reports, “Warner Music chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. said in a call with analysts that the argument to drop copy protection also known as digital rights management (DRM) is “without logic and merit. We will not abandon DRM.”

Full article here.
The situation is crystal clear: Apple is anti-DRM and at least one major music label, along with their partner in crime, Microsoft, favors DRM.

Warner’s Middlebronfman has in the past also expressed his desire for a cut of Apple’s iPod sales; a desire that defines the phrase “without logic and merit,” not only because such a deal is unprecedented in the history of music playing devices (besides Microsoft’s desperate deal with music labels and the failing Zune), but because Warner would presumably get a cut of all iPod sales regardless of whether any Warner music is actually on each device.

Note also that the vast bulk of Warner’s music profits comes from selling DRM-free CDs. Talk about illogical! DRM is so easily removed, that it’s pointless. The mass pirates, about whom the music labels are supposedly worried, aren’t going to let a little DRM get in their way, so the only people that DRM is affecting are regular, law-abiding consumers who just want to listen to their music. Thankfully, Apple’s iTunes Store does allow music to be burned without DRM to music CD to be played in CD players and/or transferred to any device they desire. We are all for selling music without DRM.

It is time to eliminate the Middlebronfman and allow the artists to go directly to their fans via iTunes; no more outdated ideas like making an album a year (you write a song, record it and release it via iTunes whenever the creative urge hits) and no more DRM. With The Beatles’ Apple Corps settlement behind them, Apple is free to do just that.

[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.]

Related articles:
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Apple Inc. and The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. enter into new agreement – February 05, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007
Clash, Pink Floyd manager: ‘DRM is dead’ – November 06, 2006
Study reports the obvious: most music on iPods not from iTunes Store – September 17, 2006
Warner’s Middlebronfman: ‘We sell our songs through iPods, but we don’t have share of iPod revenue’ – October 05, 2005
Warner music exec discusses decapitation strategy for Apple iTunes Music Store – September 28, 2005
Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair – September 23, 2005


  1. ChrissyOne – you’re 100% correct and that’s why they so desperately want DRM on downloads. They know CDs are going away over the next decade so in a rare show of thinking ahead they want protection in the next business model where they have none now.

  2. Well dudes, the way I see it is this: Apple can sign up artists themselves to sell direct on the iTunes store (without DRM). And when each of the big fat four record companies eventually cave in one at a time they can mix and match DRM and DRM free music files. If they put [protected] or [CP] or [drm] next to the song names with DRM we can choose whether to go for the stuff that makes life a little awkward or the nice easy to use music.

  3. I realize I’m preaching to the choir, but:
    1) There’s “logic” in getting a cut of the iPod revenues? Did music labels get a cut of the Sony Walkmans and tape decks that were sold? NO!!
    2) There’s “logic” in making sure digital music is “protected,” yet I can create THE SAME digital music from CD’s without protection (and proceed to share with the world if I really wanted to)? NO!!!!

    This is why I will never buy music CD’s ever again (with the exception of artists I like, and even then I sometimes get them from iTMS). I believe in supporting the musicians (except Metallica), but I do not believe in support the Record Labels, who are obsolete.

  4. Oops – I forgot –

    Peter J – you say “thanks to the labels a JT CD will cost $12.99” which actually isn’t true. It’s thanks to the *retailers* that it costs this. The labels will discount a new release by 3-7% of wholesale or 30 – 90 cents. All the rest of it comes out of the retailers pocket and marketing budget.

    BTW – I don’t mean to be supporting the big 4 – just explaining a bit. I buy quite a bit of music, 90% from iTMS.

  5. How cool would that be if Apple did create its own music label? They could then split the profits directly with the artists. At that point, it could be up to the individual artist to consider DRM-free music, which then could be purchased at iTunes and technically played anywhere.

  6. why the outrage? THe labels didn’t get a cut from Walkman sales, they got something better. A new product line that was more profitable for them than vinyl and a way to crank out scads of back catalog. The walkman greatly increased label revenues which at least so far is not true for iPods and downloads. It’s not a valid comparison.

    Look, I hate the labels for other (better?) reasons but they gave a lot of nobody bands a shot at making it. Yes, they only did it to make money and yes they cut the kind of deal you can cut when you hold the cards but they still gave money to lots of acts knowing they were flushing it down the drain.

  7. Seriously, take 20% of the cash pile that Apple has, mix in some new AAPL paper and buy Bronfman’s private equity partners out of WMG.

    Apple could buy the whole piss-ant operation for less than $4 billion and put this c**ksucker out to grass once and for all. Seriously, I don’t know how much of the family product Bronfman Jr. consumed as a child but it was too much.

  8. Of course they will not stop DMR. The Music Industry are Robber Barons. They are the worst of any Industry.

    They are monsters and I think EVERYONE should steal music until they realize that the consumers come first, not them at the cost of the consumer.

    I’m done with paying for music.

  9. @not evil
    OK, so the retailers are also part of the whole unfair model of distribution. I’ll give you that. But it doesn’t change the fact that basically the labels take risks with acts but want those risks to be subsidized by the consumer. I have no say in what they decide to push on me but I have to carry some of the cost by way of higher priced CDs. Sure they’ve given nobody bands a shot but they’ve also pushed what they deem to be viable ad nauseum. I don’t have to like the latest pop idol, but I’ll know their name and their song and their video because it’s being hammered into me. Meanwhile a band that I do like I may not even find because they don’t have the support.

    As for your comment that labels were happy with Walkman’s–maybe they were eventually happy but initially they were afraid of cassettes claiming it would be the end of the recording industry because people could copy the music and distribute it. It’s the same thing with MP3s now (only amped up for the 21st century with no loss of quality and the sheer ease of distribution).

    They’re fighting the future and they should be figuring how to embrace it and make it work for them. Will their profits be as much as it used to be? Don’t know. Maybe not but, and this gets back to the DRM issue, trying to put restrictions on what’s already out there won’t work. They need to look ahead.

    You sound pretty intelligent and I think you’re just trying to see things from a Bronfman’s business perspective, but, as far DRM goes, I’m sure he’d think a little differently about DRM if he looked to the future and was a little less afraid

  10. Jobs is a sneaky scumbag.

    1. he knows studios won’t go no-DRM
    2. so he says only way is no-DRM or Fairplay DRM monopoly
    3. Fairplay DRM monopoly remains, he washes his hands
    4. profit
    5. dumbass Maczealots cheer their “hero”


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