Edgar Jr. gets religion, 5 years too late

According to a post at MacUser, the chairman and co-owner of Warner Music Group — Montreal’s own Edgar Bronfman Jr. — made some comments at a recent mobile conference about how music companies spent too long pretending that the industry’s business model wasn’t being threatened, and “went to war with consumers.” Here’s the money quote:

“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.

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.”

A stirring and heartfelt sentiment indeed. And totally true, of course. Unfortunately for Edgar and the rest of the music industry, those five or six years spent dithering and suing music fans have left the major record labels in a hole so deep it might be impossible to get out. And Warner’s fight against non-DRM music hasn’t done much to help.

It’s nice to see someone admit their mistakes, even if it is years too late — but then I suppose Edgar Jr. is pretty used to admitting his mistakes by now, after having to take the rap for his disastrous investment in Vivendi, which obliterated a substantial chunk of his family’s fortune (acquired through the Seagram liquor business) back in the first bubble.


Mike Masnick of Techdirt fact-checks his distant cousin Edgar’s memory of how things happened.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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