Bronfman On Digital Music: Apple Did It Right, We Did It Wrong
November 16, 2007 at 10:43 AM (PT)
After months of bashing APPLE and its business practices, WARNER MUSIC GROUP CEO EDGAR BRONFMAN, JR. did an abrupt about face, telling the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress in MACAU that the major labels have basically screwed the pooch in adapting to the digital economy, and that the industry should replicate APPLE's digital business perspective.
PC WORLD and MAC USER quote BRONFMAN as admitting that "We used to fool ourselves ... We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won.
"The sad truth is that most of what consumers are being offered today on the mobile platform is boring, banal and basic," he continued. "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."
We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And we were wrong.
The Apple Of His Eye
And who has been serving this new appetite correctly? The same company BRONFMAN previously took to task for its fixed price model on content (sold through iTUNES) and for its CEO's (STEVE JOBS) support for DRM-free music.
"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," he said. "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."
BRONFMAN went on to laud the iPHONE and iPOD touch as the epitome of successful mobile platforms. "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."