Warner Music Group CEO Wants Digital-Only Music Releases
ASPEN, COLORADO - Warner Music Group Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr., yesterday announced here at The Progress & Freedom Foundation Aspen Summit plans for a new digital-only music label. Bronfman told an audience of policymakers, executives and academics that the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in MGM v. Grokster has liberated his company to try new online music offerings.
New artists sometimes find themselves dropped by their labels if their sales are insufficient to pay back the significant promotional investment spent by their labels, Bronfman said. "We believe we can create a digital-only label, an e-label, so artists struggling to get heard can have a new and happier ending." They won't have to wait until they have an album's worth of music, as WMG will release mini-clusters of digital music as songs become available. Artists also will own the masters and all copyrights while signed with the e-label. The e-label, he said, will protect artists from having to meet unrealistic expectations and grant them time to improve their craft and find an audience.
Bronfman said it was important post-Grokster for the high-tech and content industries to work together and promote innovation in digital distribution. He also said he didn't see a role for government. Some have called for compulsory licensing, but he said that takes away an artist's right to determine the use of his or her content. "Compulsory licensing is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist," he said. Bronfman added that WMG would love to see more interoperability in music players and formats, but WMG won't ask Congress for interoperability mandates. "Calling for governmental regulation is extremely short-sighted."
The PFF Aspen Summit is in its 11 th year, and is an annual gathering of public officials, industry executives and members of academia. Through keynotes, panels, and informal working dinners, attendees discuss the role of public policy in the digital age. More information is available on the PFF web site.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.