Bronfman Defends 'Big Labels' At Conference
November 7, 2008 at 5:37 AM (PT)
WARNER MUSIC GROUP CEO EDGAR BRONFMAN JR. thinks there is still a big place in the world for much-maligned major record labels, writes CAROLINE MCCARTHY on CNET.COM.
"The value that we have is both on the editorial side, and on the marketing and promotion side," BRONFMAN said in a panel at the WEB 2.0 SUMMIT on THURSDAY afternoon. "Those channels are getting harder, not easier." In other words, it was an argument very similar to the one that newspapers and magazines have made in justifying their place in an industry that's getting flooded by scrappy bloggers -- big music labels provide the quality and experience.
Every new artist we sign, we sign now with rights in all their revenue streams: ticketing, touring, merchandising, sponsorship.
Even in the face of "In Rainbows," the label-ditching, revolutionary effort from RADIOHEAD, he said he hasn't changed his mind. "There will be different models (as opposed to labels, particularly for artists or bands who have built up a long and distinguished career, whose products don't necessarily need marketing or promotion, whose editorial is going to go out unfettered, but there are very, very few of those," BRONFMAN insisted. "It's getting harder to build a multi-year, certainly a multi-decade career, than ever before."
BRONFMAN shared the stage with moderator and conference host JOHN BATTELLE, and co-panelist CHRIS DEWOLFE, co-founder and CEO of MYSPACE. BRONFMAN'S WARNER MUSIC GROUP, along with each of the other major labels, has taken a financial stake in MYSPACE MUSIC, the NEWS CORP.-owned social network's ambitious retail and streaming hub.
BRONFMAN said that WARNER MUSIC GROUP is also adopting a "360" strategy in the face of a need to adopt more solid revenue streams. "Every new artist we sign, we sign now with rights in all their revenue streams: ticketing, touring, merchandising, sponsorship. We're only signing artists that way and we now have over a third of our current roster signed to 360 rights."