Warner pulling back from free music streaming

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It is more than likely that none of these services, or any of the others offering free music streaming, will have access to Warner artists for much longer.

As reported by the BBC, Warner has announced that they will stop licensing such services from streaming the music of their artists, saying that such services were “clearly not positive for the industry.”

Warner chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr said: "Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed.

"The ‘get all your music you want for free, and then maybe with a few bells and whistles we can move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of approach to business that we will be supporting in the future."


They have not yet announced whether or not all music currently available on streaming outlets will be removed, but seeing as Bronfman goes on to speaking of a focus on paid streaming services, it seems somewhat inevitable that that will eventually be what occurs.

"The number of potential subscribers dwarfs the number of people who are actually purchasing music on iTunes," Mr Bronfman said.

Fans could pay a monthly fee direct to a streaming service, as with Spotify, or get access to the music as part of a deal for a mobile phone, broadband connection or another gadget.

Such subscriptions could be taken up by "hundreds of millions if not billions of people, most of whom are not today either buyers or certainly heavy buyers of music", Mr Bronfman said.

What is strange is that, while Bronfman focuses on billions of people who thus far have shown little interest in buying tracks online, the head of Universal Music Group has come out in favour of services such as Spotify.

"Spotify is a very sustainable financial model – full stop," Rob Wells, senior vice president of Universal Music Group International, said in January.

Meanwhile, the artists themselves are generally in favour of any legitimate service that gets their music listened to by fans.

Jon Webster, chief executive of the UK’s Music Managers’ Forum, which represents artist managers, said the industry must support services that tempt fans away from piracy.

"Anything that’s going backwards is denying where the world’s going," he said.

"New media has to give the consumer what they want and the consumer is in a world where they want things right here, right now – and if you don’t give it to them, they’ll steal it.

"There are new business models out there and they are beginning to work and we are in a transition phase."

So we have one label heading off in a separate direction from the rest of the industry, seemingly chasing subscription sales to people showing little interest in subscriptions. I guess we’ll see which business model ends up winning out with the public.

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One Response to “Warner pulling back from free music streaming”

  1. Interesting blog, as an expat Brit, now living in Argentina, this was especially interesting.

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