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. 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.

  2. 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…”

  3. 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.

  4. Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

    The Jupiter Research study looked at attitudes to Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems in Europe music firms.

    Analyst Mark Mulligan, one of the authors of the report, said the survey was carried out between December and January. This was before Apple boss Steve Jobs published his thoughts on music DRM and galvanised the debate about these protection systems.


  5. There’s that word again…


    That’s apparently becoming the new buzz word that those companies who want something but can’t have it will say needs to be provided because they want their slice of the revenue from that pie.

  6. I take great encouragement from seeing that some of these people are very concerned about the threat from Apple.

    To his credit, Bronfman is at least aware of the threat, but doesn’t seem to have a practical response. Most of his colleagues prefer to bluster about how the iPhone will fail because it isn’t like existing phones.

    As a consumer, I reckon that anything that can threaten the mobile phone industry AND the music industry at the same time has got to be a great thing and I look forward to seeing how it all pans out.

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