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.”
A recent University of Reading study finds that 75% of students polled prefer downloading music to buying hard copies or even streaming, which may speak to a sort of splitting of the difference for how younger audiences view digital music. If there was ever any debate on whether people still want to “own” music, this bit of information sheds a little bit more light.
, Pandoraand Spotify had a lot of nobs who think about these things wondering if we’d eventually hit a point wher nobody owns and keeps any form of music—be that physical CDs and records or digital files. The idea was that as broadband and wireless technology improved and the masses moved to smart phones we’d eventually just have all music available on demand via streaming tools. But is that what anyone wants?
According to the survey of 10,000 university students, “75 percent said they wouldn’t pay for a music-streaming service but would rather use sites such as iTunes to download and keep tracks on hard drives or MP3 players.”
The survey is cited in a press release apparently issued on behalf of TunesPro.com, a new download site hoping to compete with iTunes. Their angle seems to be to undercut on price. The press release quotes a spokesman for TunesPro:
We keep our prices low and concentrate of making money through volume sales. Currently we charge 19c per song and offer a further 10% when a whole album is purchased. We believe this will attract the younger users away from iTunes, which charge almost 6 times more than we do.
So for now it appears many younger audiences still want to possess something for their money. Will that hold as the ease and cost for bandwidth decreases and becomes more widespread? Will you still want to “hold” your music?