CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment: Bronfman Hearts Mobile

from the it-hearts-you-too dept

Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman, in a keynote at CTIA this morning, says he's excited at the potential for growth in mobile music -- but mainly because it offers another format to deliver music, and one that uses a network that's controlled from end-to-end. Bronfman, who's always been a fervent believer in copy protection, says that the music industry has been at its healthiest and the consumer experience the "best" when multiple formats were on sale. It's not clear exactly how having to deal with multiple formats helps consumers, but record labels certainly long for the days when people had to buy different formats to listen to the same music on different devices or in different locations. Bronfman believes that mobile networks will help end piracy in places like China and Russia, since he says the entire environment, from browsing to download, can be kept closed and controlled by the operator. Bronfman tempers his message by saying things like the user interface for mobile music needs to be improved, but he doesn't seem to realize that his love affair with security and copy protection damages the user experience. The mobile phone can't be an island, a portable vault for people's music. It's got to fit in to people's existing habits and behaviors -- people don't listen to music just on a phone, like they won't listen to it only on their computer, or stereo or iPod. All these devices have to work together to provide a good user experience, but the copy protection and DRM Bronfman loves so much just put up roadblocks for users and turn them off. Bronfman seems to have the (incorrect) belief that people won't be able to hack his dream mobile system because of its copy protection, so piracy of it won't be a problem. But it's doubtful many people will want to legitimately use it, either.
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