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Warner reverses stance, praises iTunes

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."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. godrifle

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    hahahah

    hahahahahahahahahahahah.

  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    backroom dealing

    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."

    This sounds like the crux of his change in attitude. There's obviously been some back-room compromises going on. The question is what is Apple offering to Warner to engender such a sea change? A bigger slice of the front-page iTunes store feature slots?

  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    they can't offer....

    ...extra shelf space to every dissenting label - you'd run out of premium shelves. so it's likely a combination of some other incentive, and AAPL just flat out calling their bluff.

    the labels don't have a clue how to flourish in this new world. they show their ignorance at frequent intervals. buh bye, dinosaurs.

  1. garmonbosia

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Is there a Dr. in the...

    I think I have whiplash ;-)

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    we'll see

    I hope he shows he's really serious by adding Warners music to iTunes Plus - if he does, probably everyone else will follow.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Huh?

    While I'm glad for the news, I can't stand people like this. He needs to figure out just where he really stands and stick to it. As it is, he could turn around tomorrow and start bashing Apple again.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    credibility...

    ...He'd have a lot more credibility if he hadn't as vehemently bashed Apple, iTunes and the iPod earlier - as it stands, this reads more as if someone is majorly eating crow (after seeing how dismal his revenues were from competing efforts with Amazon, or other vendors, and how much money iTunes is making them), or as someone else pointed out, some backroom deals are forcing him to reverse his stance.

    Mostly, his 'speech' reads like the usual canned content, though if you pay close attention, there is the crux of what this is all about plain to see, hidden in the middle of his statement:

    "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"

    Magic words: 'bundle', 'premium prices', 'packaging'

    Looks like Warner gets to do with Music, what Universal failed to do with videos. No wonder he's playing nice.

    You might think he's had an epiphany because he finally bought an iPhone, but really, it's just another deal to make more money, it seems.

    Nothing changes the fact, though, that Bronfman's a clueless a**, who'll say anything if a buck can be made -- the real winner, as always, is Steve.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    C'mon...

    Don't get carried away. We're talking about Warner here, not Universal.

    Now that would make me want to fork feed crow.

  1. chas_m

    Joined:

    0

    Argh!

    I was going to post a comment, but godrifle stole it! :)

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA

    I don't think he started his with a "bwa," which I think makes the laugh distinctly more evil, so I will.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA

    How's that crow taste, BEEE-YOTCH??!

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Jobs

    Actually, going back a few years, Jobs praised Warners for having some smart people - as I understand, they were quick to get on board with iTMS, and generally got the idea of digital music early on. (And as a label they've often been good at taking 'cult' acts like REM, Mary Chain, Flaming Lips, etc into the mainstream without expecting immediate success on the first LP).

    That doesn't mean that they have to agree 100% - I'm actually of the view that variable pricing would be a good thing - we can, after all, usually cope with it when we go to a supermarket, or record store. [And competition between the labels, and with p2p, should actually keep prices down].

    The ideal would actually be lots of stores POWERED by iTMS as the delivery engine.

    But yes, it would be good to see them getting on board with iTunes plus, and realising most consumers value convenience above all.

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