Warner Music v iTunes, Redux

26 Sep ’05

Irritation continues to grow on the ‘net as bloggers get on Edgar Bronfman’s case for complaining about the $.99 song. The reaction reminds me of Kramer’s seizures whenever he heard Mary Hart’s voice – I think geeks simply have a natural antipathy towards the man. Today’s highlights:

Fred Von Lohmann

The gist of the complaints is that Warner is promoting price-fixing. I’m not sure that that’s right, at least at first instance – Bronfman wants prices to vary by song, and wants them higher. Both are aimed at increasing his revenues, obviously, and that’s a reasonable thing for a seller to want. OK … so why doesn’t he just do it? Why doesn’t he just increase and vary his prices to Apple?

The obvious answer, I suppose, is that he can’t, at least not without ghettoizing Warner music and attracting negative PR.

Techdirt also jabs a pointy stick at Bronfman for complaining about being shut out of the revenues from digital music players:

Bronfman’s quote: “We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue. We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only.” Hmm. So, because for years and years you fought any kind of system for digital music distribution and even (yes, remember?) sued the original makers of digital music players, you now suddenly think you deserve revenue from those who actually did create something and did get something to market while you fought them the whole way?

Somebody help me out here – did the record companies (other than Sony) generate revenue from the sales of CD players and amps through the 80s and 90s, and from turntables etc. before that?

If Bronfman wants to take a shot at revenues from the mp3 player market, perhaps he should try selling them. Rio may still be available.

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