Bronfman, Warner Music To Internet: Gimme

    March 28, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Music tycoon Edgar Bronfman, Jr., would like to bundle a fee into your Internet access in exchange for unlimited access to music.

To borrow a little Internet vernacular, I LOL’ed when I heard about this. The music industry kindly requests that you save it from sliding farther into the tar pits and suffocating under its own weight. Because, you know, you don’t have unlimited music access online today.

Portfolio picked up a nice interview with Jim Griffin, Bronfman’s front man on selling the music access fee proposal to the world. The plan would create a pool of money to hand out to artists and copyright holders.

Especially the copyright holders, we’ll guess.

Griffin summed up the state of the world of music, not to mention the Herculean task before him, in noting “Today, it has become purely voluntary to pay for music. If I tell you to go listen to this band, you could pay, or you might not. It’s pretty much up to you. So the music business has become a big tip jar.”

Gee, the sue-em-all approach of the RIAA not working out for you, Mr. Bronfman? Still haven’t seen a replacement for the $5 billion a year the music industry lost over the past decade as people decided $18.99 for a CD with one or two good songs on it wasn’t that great a deal?

Griffin also held out the carrot that the monthly fee he’s proposed could be complemented with an ad-supported model, for people who would rather see ads than pay an extra $5 each month. Five bucks sounds awfully generous. Why not a dollar a month?

It could be much lower, in countries like China and India. Like a nickel per month. “Fair is whatever you agree upon,” he said.

Here’s the little tidbit Griffin and Bronfman won’t tell you: they are negotiating from a position of weakness. They want everyone to pay for music whether they actively seek music online, or don’t.

They need to do something in good faith first, to gain some goodwill from music fans. Put an end to the RIAA lawsuits against alleged filesharers; withdraw all current and pending complaints in the court system.

Griffin should have no problem going along with this. The industry stands to make a lot of money with Griffin’s plan, which should easily replace whatever gains they hope to make in settlements and judgments against music fans. The lawsuits aren’t stopping file sharing anyway.