Warner Music CEO Says Jobs' DRM Free Proposal Lacks "Logic or Merit."

The CEO of Warner Music Group, Edgar Bronfman, has come out against Steve Job’s proposal that music be sold DRM free:

“We advocate the continued use of DRM in the protection of our and our artists’ intellectual property,” Bronfman said on a conference call yesterday. “The issue is obscured by asserting that DRM and interoperability is the same thing. They are not. To suggest that they cannot co exist is simply incorrect.”

Bronfman said the proposal was without “logic or merit.”—MEGHANN MARCO

Warner hits Apple proposal [Boston Globe]


Edit Your Comment

  1. crayonshinobi says:

    Oh, by the way, Bronfman was the same guy whose kids werefilesharing music and he gave them a “stern talking to.”

    Just a point of reference for the person making assertions of logic and merit.

  2. magic8ball says:

    From the article: “The four [music distribution companies] should drop the rights management rule on online music since they don’t require similar copy protection on music sold on compact discs, Jobs said.” If they don’t, it’s not for lack of trying. Sony rootkit, anyone?

  3. bluegus32 says:


    See, the beauty of what Steve Jobs did originally with iTunes is that he worked with current trends, rather than against them. File sharing was a reality. Many companies filed lawsuit after lawsuit (a la Napster) to stop file sharing. Good f#cking luck. So what did Jobs do? He set up a paradigm where it was easier and more attractive for the average person to buy the music legally (by the song) rather than searching out ways to steal it.

    DRM is going to be a thing of the past, whether this ass-hat wants it to be or not. So find another way to make money off of the medium. Fight it all you want, but you’re just delaying the inevitable.

  4. zentec says:

    What Jobs has done is allow the consumer to purchase exactly what they want, for a fair price rather than the tying contract of one decent song, eight crummy one for $20. The music companies hate this, and DRM keeps Jobs on a leash.

    The music labels can complain about piracy all they want, it doesn’t change the fact that they ignore my music tastes and they ignore how I want to acquire my music. Music is an impulse purchase for me, I buy when I hear it. I don’t buy when I’m walking through a mall and I certainly don’t buy an entire CD online. I’m sure I’m not alone in my purchasing habits. If the music industry could end their addiction to crappy music acts and a total lack of creativity in their product, they might find a whole new load of consumers who are loathe to pirate music as long as they can make spot purchases online for exactly the songs they want.

    It’ll never happen.

  5. GenXCub says:

    Well, they did have a good point, IMO. Steve Jobs shouldn’t be talking about removing restrictions on file sharing when you can’t use iTunes Music Store to download music to non-iPods.

    Jobs’ argument is valid, but he’s being a bit hypocritical. (sorry if double-post)

  6. Yep says:

    Can I just say that Bronfman looks like the preternatural lovechild of Boris Becker and Miguel Ferrer circa Robocop?

  7. ckilgore says:

    “To suggest that they cannot co exist is simply incorrect.”

    Er, so why are they not co existing right now, genius?

  8. Art Vandelay says:

    Zentec, if you want to read a really good article, Playboy from November 2004, I believe, has several record execs and influental people from the industry’s take on the current state of music.

    While some parts may be a tad out of date now, it’s a really interesting read.

    DRM, for any media, is doomed to fail, so long as there are bored teenagers and programmers around looking for a challenge.

  9. sp3nc3 says:

    Mr. Bronfman is extremely deluded if he thinks that DRM does anything to protect intellectual property. Not one single DRM scheme has been able to keep content off the file sharing networks. What it has been successful at doing is frustrating legitimate customers and restricting the way they enjoy music. I’d even venture to guess that some people who would otherwise be happy to pay for music have become so frustrated with DRM restrictions that they have turned to P2P as a way to get what they want.

    So tell me again, how does DRM protect the interests of the artists?

  10. vannsant says:

    Anyone that does the spider hand thingy is totally full of crap.

  11. dugn says:

    “The issue is obscured by asserting that DRM and interoperability is the same thing. They are not. To suggest that they cannot co exist is simply incorrect.”

    He’s almost right on one point: DRM is the opposite of interoperability.

    In the pre-DRM world, purchases were tied to individuals. I could lend a book, a record, a CD – whatever – to you or anyone else I wanted to.

    DRM ties purchases to a device. Whether it is a computer, a Pocket PC, or an iPod – this just doesn’t work for people. Although specific DRM has been enabled in specific cases to leap devices (from PC to TV, from iPod to PC, etc.), if the ‘master’ device dies, there is a very real possibility the purchase is no longer recoverable (that’s why I consider anything with DRM a rental, not a purchase).

    DRM makes it impossible to universally share a purchased item to any device or appliance you’d like.

    It’s not the devices that are at fault, it’s the DRM. The fact that there are competing forms of DRM prevents the universality we enjoy in non DRM goods. Edgar is a tool. His lack of logic and common sense is endemic of the music industry at this time in our history.

    Every time I think of DRM, I can’t get an image out of my mind: It’s the image of eating dinner with my wife and offering her a piece of my steak – to which a rabid RIAA waiter races over to our table and yelps that such ‘sharing’ is strictly forbidden.

    …and they wonder why music sales are dropping.

  12. ajn007 says:

    I have a hard time believing the major labels are going to give up anything that gives them at least a little bit of control over the distribution and use of their product.

    Job’s letter was a marketing ploy to try and woo a market segment who sees the iTunes/iPod scam for what they are worth. And his “announcement” reminds me of a Shakespeare quote: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

  13. Kryndis says:

    What a coincidence, “without ‘logic or merit'” is how I describe the RIAA.

  14. AcidReign says:

    …..I got ill with the whole concept of buying an album because of one good single WAY back in the 1970s! We igornant rednecks learned to tape each other’s albums to deprive Hollywood of junk money, WAY before the computer was anything more than a mass of jumbled punchcards and paper tape! If an album was more than a passing fancy, you went out and actually bought a copy, because your tape was going to fade or get eaten, and you liked the album art and jacket notes/lyrics.

    …..I like CDs. I don’t think $15-20 a pop is unreasonable in this day and age. I like a medium that promises that this media is good for my lifetime! We could argue about the merits of digital vs. analog, but realize that I bought a big Marshall stack early in my formative years, nuked myself with metal riffs daily, and I can now scarcely tell the difference these days between dinky speakers and a Denon high-fi system.

    …..I do buy CDs. And some of my collection, I have re-bought in three or four formats over time. I loath this, though. These days, if I buy a CD, I’m going to rip it at a bitrate of at LEAST 160k. That’s for home listening. I’ll probably make a CD-R car copy, and leave the original in the case in my nice, dry, wooden cabinet. Sony, rootkit guys, and mercantile giants, mess with this revenue stream at your peril! And while I’m at it, I’ve bought at least 15 CDs this past year due to viewing “illegal,” “unauthorized” YouTube videos. Caveat.

    …..The kids might buy some DRM’ed crap that won’t last though the next battery failure/format, but the folks with the money back their stuff up, and might well abandon newer popular music altogether, in favor of listening to their kids’ band stuff on the generic MP3 format. Choke the cash cow, Mr. Davies and co., and watch your fortunes dry up. You have been warned!

  15. eriksanerd says:

    I honestly don’t see what DRM accomplishes. Yes, it keeps that individual version of the song from being shared to no end, but considering it only takes one copy of a song (say, ripped from a CD which has no such limitations) to begin the mass sharing we see on Limewire, the DRM likely only adds hours, days at best, until any given song is free to take off any file sharing service.

    Not to mention there are tools available to record the song to MP3 format while playing it on your computer(a program known as tunebite will do just that). The DRM only ends up encumbering people who wish to legally purchase the music and use it legally. It prevents little, if any, real piracy or distribution.

    And I’m sick of the “it hurts the artists” argument from companies that take 90+% of all sales of a CD. It hurts the artists for four companies to have a stranglehold on record distribution, but I don’t see them trying to give that away.

  16. jjbelsky says:

    “our artists’ intellectual property”, he says. That’s just a lie. The music that their artists create is the intellectual property of the record label. The artists have no right to it.

  17. thrillhouse says:

    Bronfman went on to say, “…this proposal was without logic or merit. Unlike my half-beard, which is totally logical”

  18. Sudonum says:

    Keep in mind this is the same guy who lost his family’s business that he had been entrusted to run, you may have heard of it it’s called Seagrams. I believe they were in the wine and spirits business for some time.

  19. edgar bronfman sr was able to sucessfully negotiate with swiss banks for the return of nazi gold and deposits to jews.

    edgar bronfman jr couldnt even get ol’ stevie j to raise prices in the iTunes store.

    way to keep up the family name there kiddo.

  20. pestie says:

    This guy wants to look like Chuck Norris so much, he can taste it! But if he ever met Chuck Norris in person, he’d get a roundhouse kick to the face.

  21. ikes says:

    Thanks Bronfman. How’d that Vivendi merger go, by the way? That’s what i though. Thanks for the severance package, though.