Warner Music Shoots Self In Head; Says No More Free Streaming

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

A few years back, it seemed like Warner Music actually had a better handle on where the music industry was heading than its 3 major label rivals. In the last two years, however, it seems like WMG has consistently gone further and further in the opposite direction. It may have hit a new low today with the announcement that it will pull out of all free streaming music licensing offers. Yes, Warner Music just told the one thing that was effectively competing with unauthorized downloads to shove off. Brilliant.
"Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed.

"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."
And thus, WMG will go out of business that much more quickly. That is the model that the market is moving to, and Bronfman and WMG appear to have decided to ignore what the market wants, to cover their eyes, stick fingers in their ears and go down with a ship that could easily be righted. Incredible.

Now, Warner may be a bit gun-shy after its investment in iMeem (a free online music streaming service) became a total disaster, but what Warner doesn't seem to realize is that a big part of why it failed was the ridiculous demands Warner put on iMeem in terms of how much it demanded in payment per stream. The problem is that WMG has totally unrealistic expectations of how much money should be paid per stream, and that's because the company's top execs still don't seem to handle basic economic modeling particularly well. And thus, the company will fail.

You don't compete with "free" by taking your ball and going home. You don't compete with "free" by pretending that old artificial scarcities are coming back after the wall has been broken down. You don't compete with "free" by suing customers. You don't compete with "free" by shunning those who have business models that work. You compete with free by offering a better product and a better business model. WMG is choosing to go in the other direction. Best of luck to them...

Filed Under: business models, edgar bronfman jr., free, licensing, music, strategy, streaming music
Companies: imeem, last.fm, spotify, warner music group, we7


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Henry Emrich, 10 Feb 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re:

    "Man there are quite a few indie record labels on there I really respect and have lots of good bands that are under the umbrella of WMG far reaching and self destructive cover of capital."

    Then you can't really call them "indie" (independent), can you?

    Or are you using "indie" as a genre label? Pretty sad if we've gotten to the level where even major-label "cultural product" that actually manages not to sound like formulaic, cookie-cutter bullshit gets called "indie".

    http://www.boycott-riaa.com/article/35487

    "I'm kind of conflicted about the audience right now, anyway. Not necessarily my audience, but the overall million or so adults in the United States that listen to music. THE audience, as it were. They think that music is Indie because it sounds similar to the Arctic Monkeys or White Stripes or something. I'm really not sure. I think the record labels are also trying to brand some of their new bands as "Indie Rock," despite the obvious hypocrisy."

    Just sayin'.
    Any musician/band who is *still* stupid enough to want to get raped (oops, I mean "signed") by the multinational corporate megaliths....well, they're guaranteed to have ONE fan --- TAM :)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.