Bronfman Exudes Bullish Enthusiasm, Talks Turnaround

Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. offered an incredibly upbeat forecast for the recorded music sector on Monday, despite calls for serious downturns ahead.

During a discussion at Convergence 2.0 in Manhattan, Bronfman acknowledged the seriousness of the current industry depression, but rallied around emerging formats and untapped markets.  “Almost every core operating principle in the recorded music business has been shaken or challenged,” Bronfman conceded.  But the label honcho was quick to highlight opportunities from newer arenas, particularly those related to online and mobile formats, international markets, and artist relationships.

Indeed, the consumer appetite for music has never been larger, and emerging formats are displaying aggressive gains.  “The growth in the sale of music on the internet and via mobile devices has been awesome, and there is a lot more to come in video content, ringtones and bundling of albums, tracks, concert tickets, video, merchandise, games … you name it,” Bronfman enthused.  Meanwhile, the street is less giddy on the prospects, mostly because of an accelerated erosion of the core CD.  The downward spiral is punishing bottom lines, and raising serious  questions on whether Bronfman and Warner can engineer a reinvention quickly enough.