Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone

“Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. walked into the 3GSM World Congress today and pointed right at the pink elephant in the room: The iPhone. Bronfman warned the industry that if it cannot improve mobile music services, it could lose the market to Apple,” Stephen Wellman blogs for InfoWeek.

Wellman writes, “Bronfman said that while there are millions of music phones on the global market, only 8.8 percent of users of these handsets have ever downloaded a music track over the air. Why? Because carrier mobile music services are too expensive and too hard to use.”

“Ouch. Score one for Apple,” Wellman writes.

Full article here.

Marguerite Reardon reports for CNET, “Edgar Bronfman Jr. said in a keynote speech here… ‘We need to make it easy, affordable and quick to get music on mobile phones, he said. “Until we achieve this goal, we will be leaving billions of dollars on the table. On average, Bronfman said, it can take a person 20 clicks to buy a ringtone, depending on the carrier network the consumer is using. He also complained about the fact that ringtones, full-track songs, music videos and album art are all sold in separate virtual stores. ‘It’s amazing we have generated as much money as we have, given how cumbersome it is to buy music,’ he said. ‘Imagine what we could do if it was fun and easy for consumers.'”

“Apple has raised the bar in terms of what users expect even before the product has been released,’ Bronfman said. ‘While this presents a challenge, ultimately I think it will be positive for the industry because it’s getting people excited about music phone devices. Now it’s up to providers and manufacturers to fill the emerging demand.’ While Bronfman wants device makers and mobile operators to make it easier to purchase entertainment on their phones, he disagrees with Apple CEO Steve Jobs when it comes to protecting mobile music and video,” Reardon reports.

“Earlier this month, Jobs urged record companies to abandon digital rights management (DRM) technologies,” Reardon reports. “Bronfman said it is important to have DRM systems that can interoperate with one other, but he also emphasized the importance of protecting copyright and ensuring that content creators and the people selling the content all get paid.”

Full article here.
DRM is like crack to the music labels (besides their actual crack, of course).

Here’s the deal: Apple is anti-DRM and at least one major music label, along with their partner in crime, Microsoft, well, they just love DRM to death.

And so, death it shall be.

The vast bulk of Warner’s and every other major labels’ music profits comes from selling DRM-free CDs. DRM is so easily removed, that it’s pointless and illogical. DRM protects nothing. 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, paying 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.

Related articles:
Windows Vista’s DRM is bad news – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
Microsoft’s Bach talks Apple iPhone, DRM, Zune, and more – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
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. Someone needs to take this guy out. He is the devil. The planets alignged when he was a baby, and a witch tatooed a 666 on his forehead, which is why he always has bangs.

    I say we cast him into economic outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And when he realizes he is in the music equivalent of gehenna, we will enlighten him with our enlightenment sticks until he cries uncle and makes a case for me being president.

    God told me so…


    p.s. – Jerry Falwell agrees.

  2. Wireless music, AKA Ringtones, is the biggest scam out there. Really. Why should people play HUGE prices for stuff they might already own? Why not just allow people to put music from their iTunes or MP3 collection on their phones? It makes no sense at all. The phone industry is the worst. Monopoly. Locking people into contracts.

    I’m hoping the iPhone will be the first step against the phone industry.

    MDNews Magic Word: “Decision” as in “I’ve made the decision to stick it to the man”

  3. Why is he warning them? How did Apple suddenly become the big meanie in the music industry? Just because they aren’t sharing the profits from iPods this guy has to get all pissy and start painting Apple as the enemy.

    Screw this guy. If the shareholders of Warner knew what was good for them they would throw this guy out on his ass.

    They can either choose to cooperate and make this thing better or they can lose the whole thing over the next 10 years.

    buggy whips

  4. I love reading these daily updates from 3GSM about iPhone this, iPhone that…and its not even on the market yet!
    The mobile phone market is ripe for disruption – and the impact Apple’s entry has made on these ‘established players’ just confirms the obvious.

    MW better – they’d better watch out for Apple!

  5. From:Artists Everywhere
    To: Steve Jobs and The Record industry.

    Steve we greatly appreciate the products you and Apple bring to market. They help us create art and enjoy the art of others.

    I have yet to meet an artist who is happy with their relationship with the record companies.

    Record companies take a ridiculous premium of what an artist makes for them.

    What artists dream of doing is being able to sell their music directly to their fans.

    Artists would rather give that money to a company that knows how to create truly innovative technology fulfilling that dream. Both Apple and Artists would gain from this relationship.

    Apple should allows artists to upload their music directly to itunes for sale.

    This is the message.

    Give us the platform.

    Say goodbye to the old ways. Embrace this future.

  6. Set asside the DRM issue for a moment. What is the guy Bronfman really afraid of?

    He’s saying to the mobile phone makers, “Don’t be like Rio, Creative and all those other MP3 player makers. Apple is coming and they’re going to take away all your business if you don’t beat them at their own game.”

    He’s afraid that Apple is going to be the only company who can sell his music digitally.

    MDN magic word: given
    As In: Sorry Bronfman. It is already a given.

  7. So….. the choice will be the iPhone with all the songs you have already bought via CDs and iTunes at 99c each versus the mobile industry DRM music at $3 per track which you lose each two years when you upgrade your phone.

    Not really a choice. The middle man is about to go away…

  8. Denial

    Can you imagine what it must have been like when the rumor began to spread the the world was round? Very similar to the level of denial in our societies today that Apple is not going out of business, but rather, is actually thriving. Hell, they’ve even been called a ‘freight train.’

  9. Good luck competing with Apple in this arena, Mr. Bronfman. Gooooood luck there buddy, because you’re about to get housed.

    Well, you gotta give him credit for at least seeing the train that’s about to run them over.

  10. Actually, jobs is being a bit disingenuous about the 3% thing.

    As time goes on, downloaded content will become the dominant sales method.

    Eventually, if Gates is right, and in this I think he is, there will be no more hard copies of content sold.

    When that happens, either all content will have DRM, meaning no more copying from non-DRM’d sources, or nothing will have DRM.

    Bronfmam sees that. Their way, everything will have DRM. Job’s way, nothing will have it.

    I’m not speaking here either for or against DRM, but just what the alternatives can be.

  11. My only regret is that Apple couldnt have kept this thing a complete secret until the FedEx trucks started unloading these things at Apple retail stores.

    The thrown chair/crapped pants totals would be much higher than they already are.

    MW ‘sound’ as in “Stop children, what’s that sound…”

  12. pay close attention to what happens over the next 6 months.
    1) Apple needs to renegotiate with the Labels. So everybody is busy posturing: the Labels want anybody else to be in competition with Apple so they can negotiate from strength. Currently it does not seem to be happening.
    2) Apple Inc. has settled the lawsuit with Apple Corps. This frees Apple up to enter the “music” business. If negotiations with the Labels turn nasty, I predict that iTunes will become its own label with artist getting paid directly from Apple for the songs that are downloaded. If this happens, the Labels need to be very scared.

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