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Warner Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. spent a good portion of his q-and-a session explaining how he is un-ringing bells, never an easy task. (The webcast is here.) One example: The music industry gave away music videos to MTV and the like as promotional vehicles to pump sales of albums; now they’re trying to make up for that by selling music videos to digital distributors. He thinks it’s time for satellite radio to pay market value after years of an artificially low price. He wants variable pricing for downloads contrary to Apple chairman Steve Jobs’ one-price world. He not only wants money for the content — he wants a share in the revenue streams. “Whether it’s ring back tones, ring tones, music videos, songs, albums etc. , we expect to be paid across all channels and to share in the revenues of those new streams as well.
Satellite pricing: He agrees with Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin that pricing for music distributed by satellite radio will wind up going to arbitration. That’s about all they agree on in this regard. “It’s now time for satellite radio to pay market rates for content. There’s no reason, in my view, satellite radio should have its content costs be a tenth of what everybody else is paying and have that specifically on the back of the music industry because satellite radio is paying market rates to Howard Stern and the NFL and to Major League Baseball. Why music should be the sole exception I don’t understand. I don’t think an arbitrator will understand either. ”
Variable download pricing: Bronfman advocates moving away from a standard sales price for all downloads, putting him — along with other record execs — at loggerheads with Steve Jobs. “I certainly don’t want to bre drawn into a public debate with Steve,” he started, then went right to it. “There’s no content that I know of that doesn’t have variable pricing. … Not all songs are created equal â