updated 11:10 am EST, Wed November 14, 2007
Warner praises iTunes
Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman has praised Apple's iTunes Store while promising "many, many more" bundles of tracks with ringtones in what appears to be a complete 180-degree stance on digital music. The executive admitted to fighting consumer demand for digital tracks, which only fueled the illegal P2P transfers online that helped to shrink CD and DVD sales at a rapid rate. Bronfman used Apple as a prime example of digital music done right, citing the company's successful iPhone with its slick user interface and easy-to-use nature.
Warner Music had long expressed its dissatisfaction with Apple's pricing model for digital tracks offered via its iTunes Store, arguing that it and other music labels should have the power to mark up newer songs at higher prices than older tracks. Apple argued that a major plus to its iTunes Store is the flat-rate pricing model that promises customers a simple, constant price for every track they purchase with no surprises.
Now, however, Warner appears to have taken on a new attitude toward digital music and Apple in particular.
"You need to look no further than Apple's iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window. And let me remind you, the genesis of the iPhone is the iPod and iTunes - a music device and music service that consumers love," he said.
"For years now, Warner Music has been offering a choice to consumers at Apple's iTunes store the option to purchase something more than just single tracks, which constitute the mainstay of that store's sales. By packaging a full album into a bundle of music with ringtones, videos and other combinations and variation we found products that consumers demonstrably valued and were willing to purchase at premium prices. And guess what? We've sold tons of them. And with Apple's co-operation to make discovering, accessing and purchasing these products even more seamless and intuitive, we'll be offering many, many more of these products going forward."
The chairman also issued a warning to mobile operators, and offered advice to those aspiring companies hoping to cash in on that underdeveloped market, according to MacUser.
"The sad truth is that most of what consumers are being offered today on the mobile platform is boring, banal and basic," Bronfman said. "People want a more interesting form of mobile music content. They want it to be easy to buy with a single click - yes, a single click, not a dozen. And they want access to it, quickly and easily, wherever they are. 24/7. Any player in the mobile value chain who thinks they can provide less than a great experience for consumers and remain competitive is fooling themselves."