Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is now steering the ship into more diversified waters.
But he is also retreading the strategy in other ways, and introducing a plan that includes digital scarcity. “Music is ubiquitous to a degree that also I think is probably not helpful for the industry,” Bronfman told investors this week. “I think one thing you’re going to see going forward – at least as far as Warner Music is concerned – is a more careful strategy about who we are going to partner with in our online efforts.”
According to Bronfman, that spells less digital deals ahead. “We may not take the approach that we have taken, in the past, to have digital distribution deals with every conceivable digital distribution partner,” the chairman said.
The comments were mostly glossed over by the media, though Bronfman is only realistically discussing paid, controllable channels. Ironically, the Warner Music catalog is more available than ever across P2P networks and ad-hoc sharing channels, though the label benefits from just a sliver of the action. That situation has drawn derision among executives, especially those preaching a far different approach. “The one thing a label needs to make ubiquitous is the ability to pay for it all,” quipped a top-level, digital music store executive. The Bronfman comments were made during the fiscal third quarter earnings report on Tuesday.