Warner Music supremo in Apple-fondling mea culpa

'Jobs was right. I was wrong.'


Two years after he publicly badmouthed iTunes, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. now thinks it's just peachy.

Speaking earlier this week at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress in Macau, Bronfman admitted that the music industry was dead wrong about the digital music revolution, before spewing some Apple sweet talk that still has us wondering whether someone had a gun to his head.

"Take it from us music industry folks," Bronfman said. "We used to fool ourselves. We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. 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."

He acknowledged that Warner Music Group (WMG) and the other mammoth record labels had gone so far as to attack their own customers. "How were we wrong?" he asked himself. "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."

But that was just a warm up. Hoping to show that Warner is now very serious about delivering digital tunes to nifty mobile gadgets, Bronfman started channeling Steve Jobs.

"You need to look no further than Apple’s iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window," he said. "And let me remind you, the genesis of the iPhone is the iPod and iTunes — a music device and music service that consumers love."

Yes, this is the same Edgar Bronfman Jr. who tussled with Steve Jobs over iTunes back in 2005, calling it's 99-cent pricing model "unfair" and "indecent". But now he's seen the light. Or there's a gun to his head. ®

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