Talking to suits at the GSMA Mobile Congress this week, Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. admitted the music industry is at least partly to blame for the woes it's been mired in for years now as well as the fact that they've been "at war" with their customers:
We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."
He then went on to wag his finger at the mobile industry for offering content that's "boring, banal and basic," telling them they need to step up or suffer the same fate as his own realm:
"People want a more interesting form of mobile music content. They want it to be easy to buy with a single click - yes, a single click, not a dozen. And they want access to it, quickly and easily, wherever they are. 24/7. Any player in the mobile value chain who thinks they can provide less than a great experience for consumers and remain competitive is fooling themselves."
But then he goes on to pat Warner themselves on the back for "offering a choice to consumers at Apple's iTunes Store the option to purchase something more than just single tracks, which constitute the mainstay of that store's sales." Wait. Stop. Warner sells whole albums? For one price? On iTunes? No way! That's an absolute deconstruction of the current model of online music sales! Oh, wait.
Anyways, we totally agree with him up to that point: The music industry should get with the program, open up new avenues of sales with reasonable prices, decent bitrates and no DRM. Tossing "ringtones, videos and other combinations" in with albums isn't really more choice, and it's not going to save your business. If you're so enthralled with the iPhone "throw[ing] all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window," why don't you follow suit?