What Would Happen If Napster's Co-Founder Owned Warner Music?

from the questions,-questions dept

An interesting possible scenario arose last week, when it was reported that Sean Parker (recently fictionally immortalized by Justin Timberlake in the movie The Social Network), who was a co-founder of Napster with Shawn Fanning, is considering a bid for Warner Music Group, which has been fishing around for a buyer. Of course, Parker’s money mostly comes from Facebook (and I assume, some from Plaxo), rather than Napster. And if there is a bid, it appears Parker would just be one of a few investors involved. But it certainly raises questions about what kind of impact there might be. Would Parker actually look at business models that really embraced file sharing? Or would he view things differently? It certainly would be interesting to watch…

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Companies: facebook, napster, warner music group

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Comments on “What Would Happen If Napster's Co-Founder Owned Warner Music?”

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Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Taking it in new directions

In one article I read on this, he said he feels that Warner’s digital music is “undervalued,” which I would assume means he thinks they’re either marketing it wrong or that Warner themselves don’t view it as viable. Either way, I can’t help but think that, with his background, he’d be willing to try something that the others won’t.

It also helps knock down one of the holdouts on getting Spotify to the US. Warner hasn’t signed on yet. This would help turn them around. He’s just got Universal left to deal with after that.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Tin foil hat time

Under the city, down a dimly lit hallway, there is a room. Inside this room are a few chairs and a projector. The new owners will be escorted in and sat down. The projector will start playing a little movie of the Kennedy shooting from the point of view of the second gunner on the grassy knoll. When the movie is finished, the new owners will turn to the old owners and ask “What is our agenda?”

This is why nothing changes.


I don’t remember where I got that from, but that’s the first thing I thought when I read this post.

Dwayne (user link) says:


Sean isn’t directly buying the label, he is merely buying a stake in it with other investors. He would have to own quite a substantial amount of the label to have any influence on major decisions like changing business models, otherwise he’s just another fat cat collecting cheques every month like everyone else.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for change, things are not that easy and you’ll probably pass out before things change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Mike didn’t get this story right or wrong (it’s opinion), I just think he missed a pretty logical conclusion for what happens to someone when they buy something of value that other people are taking for free. Either he is a horrible investor, he has a devious master plan, or he is smelling which way the winds are blowing and realizing that the piracy era may be drawing to a close.

I don’t say I agree with Mike’s opinion, but he didn’t get anything wrong here (intentionally or otherwise).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The scarcity is Facebook and the many features/services it provides, which are apparently quite popular so they must be responding well to their market, making it all useful, etc.

Facebook (the platform, the service, the maintenance, the features, the advertising deals) does not make itself, it has employees and structures, yet somehow it turns a buck. Seems they figured it out, giving themselves away like they do.

iTunes is also freely given away, but gets paid somehow. Like Netflix.

They. are. services. That people will pay for in some way, by item, monthly, or with their eyeballs on ads.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Sorry. Facebook isn’t scarce at all. Facebook is like an over the air TV station, it makes it’s money when more people watch it. It isn’t free, just without apparent cost to the user.

There isn’t anything of value to Facebook unless access is open. There isn’t a lineup of people to pay for this stuff (ask the guys at Classmates how it is going for them). They don’t sell product, plain and simple. They sell advertising.

Music industry sells a product (recorded music). If you give that product away, the only thing you have left to sell is the office furniture and supplied you won’t be able to afford in that sort of business model.

So it is doubtful that someone with a past in Facebook would spend tens of millions of dollars just to give it away mindlessly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Until you pull your head out of the ‘thou shalt pay directly for infinitely reproducible goods!’ playpen, you will continue to miss opportunities that surround those goods.

You need to ask different questions of yourself or your industry.

A great many features offered by Facebook can be done elsewhere, via email or chat or personal website or Photobucket, etc., but people choose to use Facebook. Why?

You are fixated on the wrong things, or so it appears. You are fixated on violation of your rights, instead of what you could do to make money off of a product. You seem to have boxed yourself into only one way of seeing or thinking.

Perhaps you could start by asking this: how would you make money from production of art if copyright DIDN’T exist?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Please, explain it to me then. Facebook is a lucky coincidence of factors, none of which alone mean anything. More than anything, they created a “whitelist” style system that (without their intention) replaced both email and instant messaging for a lot of people.

No matter how you spin it, however, Facebook is in the business of page views. They have no “commodity” to sell to individual users (except those newer facebook dollars, nasty idea). They are selling ad space, created by usage.

Can you please explain how you would apply this to the recorded music industry, in direct terms? No wiggle here: What would be your personal plan to give music away and make a killing as a record label owner?

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