Middlebronfman kills Warner Music dead

Apple Store“Warner Music, if you don’t know, was once run by people like Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Tommy Lipuma. They produced everyone from the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne to James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Joni Mitchell, George Benson and so on. It was a staggering achievement. And that doesn’t even include divisions like Atlantic Records or Elektra Records,” Roger Friedman reports for Fox News. “Got the picture?”

“In the two years since Edgar Bronfman Jr. bought the company from Time Warner, Warner Music has been destroyed. It’s gone. There’s nothing there,” Friedman reports.

“This week, they announced they were firing 400 people, 70 of whom were said to be from the WEA sales force. In the last quarter, WMG says it lost $27 million, compared to $7 million in the same quarter last year. Mind you, three months ago they announced a 75 percent drop in profits,” Friedman reports.

“It’s very sad. This week they also announced that instead of developing artists, making hits happen or pretending to be a music company, WMG has hired two guys to make videos. They called them Den of Thieves. They also hired a guy from JetBlue airlines to maximize the Warner catalog online. While Sony BMG and Universal at least try to release new acts, market them, sell them, get them played on the radio, WMG is giving up,” Friedman reports.

“We hear every day that downloading has ruined the music business. I say that is ridiculous. Laziness and greed have destroyed the industry from within. Warner Music has been turned into a venture capital pawn. It doesn’t matter if they don’t release anything; they will just lay off 400 people to show a profit. The people don’t matter and neither does the music,” Friedman reports.

Friedman writes, “Here’s a suggestion: Why not just give up and change the name to Warner Management Group or Warner Miscellaneous Group? Because the music is dead there, and so is the hallowed legacy.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Archie” for the heads up.]
Perhaps Warner is susceptible during the ongoing negotiations with Apple regarding the iTunes Store and Steve Jobs’ quest for DRM-free music? As always, we advocate eliminating the Middlebronfman.


  1. I think what the labels should realize is that with digital, DRM-free music, the labels can set up their own site and sell directly to customers who can then do with it as they please. They can skip iTunes store as the middle-man as well. I never thought that selling music was done for the money, it was done to support the iPod. They could take back their content, charge what they want, and stop bitchin.

  2. So bye, bye Miss American Pie
    Drove my chevy to the levy
    but the levy was dry.

    And good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
    Singing, “This will be the day that I die.”

    The day the music died.

  3. Labels could then sell music from their own sites, and that is all.

    iTunes delivers music, not just from one label, but all of them – plus independants.

    Do the labels also provide a management system for all your music on their website? Can they make playlists, provide TV shows, podcasts and movies, with the ability to organize all of this, and get this content to your stereo and TV easily? No, no, no, no and uh, no.

    Labels selling their own music via their own sites will also hack off the Targets and Wall-marts of the world – they best not try that, or Wallmart will pull out the big stick and tell them to warehouse their own music.

    Lables selling music (oh and music videos, which = who cares) from their own sites that no one visits anyways, it is irrelevant to the market and to iTunes, and how people acquire, manage and playback music and other content.

  4. It’s very sad. This week they also announced that instead of developing artists…

    Look at it from the other end of the microscope. It’s not that they are not developing new artists, it’s that new artists are not signing with WMG. They are staying independent and self producing.

  5. There’s plenty of good music out there. You just have look a little harder. Can’t rely on “the charts” in this country. Hell, I never have. They’re so skewed towards absolute crap that if Warner Music was behind any of the pop crap then it’s about time then went under! Many more must die (including American Idol) before American’s wake up and realize what real musicians are and do. It’s not about a pretty face who can gesticulate (Elvis was an anomaly) it’s about THE MUSIC!!! When music companies get that then they will find profits…period!

  6. I do not think H is wrong from a practical perspective. Nor do I buy the argument that because iTunes is single gateway to many labels and organizes your music that it is better. Done correctly, there is no reason the average consumer couldn’t learn the one step process of importing their downloaded files.

    However, the sticking point is that the labels would not allow themselves/could not figure out/would have nothing but disdain for doing it correctly.

    I think at this point, even they realize that a new format would be suicide, but that may be giving them too much credit. ATR
    AC anyone (ever wonder what that meeting was like…”Hey, sounds like 8-track!”)? But they would probably :
    – offer an even lower bitrate that iTunes
    – insist on some clunky software of their own (Windows only!) or some nightmarish maze of a website
    – want to have the song report back every time it is played
    – maximize creativity in pricing, ie gouging you, and then wondering why their fucking stupid store doesn’t sell any songs

  7. [I say that is ridiculous. Laziness and greed have destroyed the industry from within. ]

    Yes. Bronfman doesn’t think the public knows about and/or remembers: ENRON; World.com…

    Nicking funds from the till, then blaming the customers for shoplifting. We understand this Edgar — it’s called diversion. Soon enough you will be getting you tan with stripes.

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