Don't Tase Me, RIAA

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. has apparently changed his tune.

He is quoted as telling a GSMA Mobile Asia Conference "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 filesharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong".

Is Warner Records wising up?

It's apparent that Bronfman who went on to praise Apple and its iPhone is smart enough to understand that his industry is in deep trouble and he already knows how bad off Warner is. Don't look any further than losing Madonna to Live Nation, the concert promoter.

I want to believe that Bronfman is beginning to get it. That he's rehabbing from the mistakes of the past -- which of course, he helped make.


When Warner finally wakes up enough to tell the RIAA his label is against suing young filesharers, only then am I'm going to know that Bronfman really gets it. Better late than never.

In the words of the South Florida student who mouthed off at a John Kerry speech and was brought down by tasers -- Tell the RIAA "Don't tase me, bro".

Heavy-handed lawsuits are the equivalent of tasing their own customers. The labels need to stop it and get on with figuring out an effective strategy for the future. Suing young people, their parents and the dead is not an effective strategy.

We are all brothers and sisters in this.

The radio industry is connected to the record business. There wouldn't be an iPod without the major labels (and, to be frank, their stupidity).

Radiohead, Trent Reznor and Saul Williams offering fans the chance to pay what they want (even nothing) for free downloads is certainly not a business model. It's more frustration with the lack of progress from the labels. At least it's something -- an idea.

They want the labels to lead.

The labels don't know how to lead.

The big four operate as if they're still living in a vinyl world. As if they can bully radio stations into paying for the music it plays when its tantamount to free advertising after which the labels keep all the profits.

It's refreshing to hear Bronfman saying something intelligent about the sorry state of the industry in which he operates.

But it would have real meaning to his young customers and his own managers who need to come up with something better if Bronfman simply told them to put down the RIAA tasers and deal with the piracy issue in a more humane way -- as if filesharing is actually selling CDs -- which it is.

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