Warner Music has decided against licensing new music to online streaming sites like Last.FM, Pandora and others. Citing his belief that these sites, which deliver his artists’ music to untold potential new fans, was not “positive” for the music industry, chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. told the BBC that Warner would not issue licenses to new sites.
“Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed,” Bronfman told the BBC. “The ‘get all your music you want for free, and then maybe with a few bells and whistles we can move you to a premium price strategy’, is not the kind of approach to business that we will be supporting in the future.”
Instead, Bronfman said Warner will focus on launching their own fee-based service to compete with streaming sites and online retailers like iTunes.
“The number of potential subscribers dwarfs the number of people who are actually purchasing music on iTunes,” Bronfman said. He sees the potential for subscriptions in the “hundreds of millions if not billions of people, most of whom are not today either buyers or certainly heavy buyers of music.”
Yeah, right. Good luck with that.
Other majors aren’t so sure and seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
Rob Wells, senior vice president of Universal Music Group International, recently said that Europe’s popular streaming service Spotify had a “a very sustainable financial model.” Spotify is in negotiations with labels to launch in the US.
You would think that the majors would support anything that kept fans from piracy, as Jon Webster, chief executive of the UK’s Music Managers’ Forum, which represents artist managers, said.
“New media has to give the consumer what they want and the consumer is in a world where they want things right here, right now – and if you don’t give it to them, they’ll steal it,” said Webster.
It’s debatable whether filesharing is “stealing” but it’s clear that at almost every opportunity, the major labels have made the dumb move against innovation. I’m wondering if WMG will even live to see the error of their ways?