Warner slams free music streaming but will still use Spotify

World-famous record label Warner Music has announced today plans to stop providing content for free music streaming services such as Spotify and Last.fm. Speaking to BBC News, Warner chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr said that "free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed."

Instead, Warner has expressed interest in a subscription-based model. Similar to Spotify's premium service, the model would allow consumers to pay a monthly fee in order to get access to the streaming catalogue. Claiming that there are more potential subscribers than people buying music on iTunes, Bronfman believes that subscriptions could be taken up by "hundreds of millions, if not billions of people."

Spotify has rejected claims that Warner Music may stop providing content for its free music streaming service. According to a post on Spotify's official twitter account Warner Music is not pulling out of Spotify and the company claims it's the media "taking things out of context".

Disapproval of services like Spotify is nothing new in the industry, with both artists and executives expressing concerns that the amount-per-play is not high enough, and Calvin Harris calling Spotify a "piss-take". But only last month Universal's Rob Wells stated that "Spotify is a very sustainable financial model - full stop." With so many new models and methods still being trialled by corporate executives, it may be a while before the dust finally settles and we are left with an overall satisfactory solution to digital music.

Updated: Title edited to reflect Spotify denial.

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32 Comments

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Izlude said,
Google will buy record companies one day and then we'll all be happy.

Are you sure about that? If Google's in the state where they're able to buy the entire music industry and have control over it, I'd be worried.

It seems as is these people are only concerned about charging money for music every chance they get, and the thought doesn't occur to them that a lot of people will eventually buy music that they initially discovered for free on sites such as last.fm and spotify. If they remove their music from services such as these, then I wouldn't know that they existed, let alone purchase any merchandise from the artist. They should think of it as free advertising of the best sort, not only because of the streaming aspect, but because of the enormous amount of social interaction that occurs on the site. Millions of people introduce each other to artists that they aren't familiar with, who in turn buy albums from these artists that they wouldn't have even known of in the first place.

+1. Maybe you should write a letter to some of the record companies, with you're pretty well reasonable assertion that streaming sites with options to purchase legally will complement digital music sales, rather than have a negative effect. Just saying.

I can already stream music with my Zune Pass... It lets you listen from the web site wherever you log in. What's this about "if" and "iTunes"? ;)

I guess standard free over ther air radio is bad too :|

I like internet but people wont be able to pay monthly fees for everything they do over the net. Games, music, tv, bla bla bla.

People can't pay for that twice. Once for the hard copy and once for the internet services.

Some services will succedd like WoW. But lot will just die simply because the average joe (like me) doesn't have this kind of money.

Bronfman believes that subscriptions could be taken up by "hundreds of millions, if not billions of people."

Billions of people? You got to be ****ing kidding. I doubt they would even manage hundreds of millions. Talk about being disconnected from reality. With over 6 billion people on this planet, I doubt some ****ty music from WMG will be on the majorities priorities considering so many are without clean water.

Should-have said,
Billions of people? You got to be ****ing kidding. I doubt they would even manage hundreds of millions. Talk about being disconnected from reality.

lol ya thats accurate. I seriously doubt that many are interested in this. Maybe over time but billions, not anytime soon.

Athlonite said,
radio isn't free it's ad paid all radio stations pay a royalty to play tracks on air

Yeah but we're just fishing for excuses to get all the garbage music off it.

The music industry are a bunch of d-bags. This industry will fail just like all the other US industries that believe they control their own fate. Look at the US Steel industry, look at the US auto industry, look at the US banking system (minus bailouts). Bottom line is that if you sit here and believe you are the top dog and nobody is going to come and challenge you or there are no viable challengers then you have already failed.

C_Guy said,
Right, it's a volunteer effort. Everyone works for free. Artists don't eat or pay bills or anything.

Wait, what?

Indeed, music isn't a full time or even part time job if it is then your not an artist your just corporate slave labourer for these companies. If you can make a bit of cash from selling your own music on the side great but it should never be made with intention of making money. Do you think artists like Picasso painted pictures with the intention of selling them for thousands ? nope.

first they admit raising prices in itunes might not have been a good idea and now stopping the free streaming, i wonder what they are going to do for a hat trick, double the price of CD's?

Tom W said,
Subscriptions + streaming is the future, if only the music industry could see that.

This even isn't an option for some nations, namely Australia, considering our small download limits

Tom W said,
Subscriptions + streaming is the future, if only the music industry could see that.

Thing is, the fact that SO many people use services like Spotify and Last.fm has got to merit some sort of sustainability. Potentially even lessening the number of persons obtaining the music illegaly?

Edited by Antaris, Feb 11 2010, 2:04pm :

Tom W said,
Subscriptions + streaming is the future, if only the music industry could see that.

While I can't argue that those 2 are very popular, with music and soon maybe even tv shows if Apple gets its way. I personally don't fit into that category. I like owning my music, owning my videos. Streaming is great if you want it on the go or are somewhere without your media collection. I definitely think this will be the future and those like me will be the minority, but hopefully people don't switch to streaming only in some cases because I'd hate that.

DVR's is a good example, look how popular they've become over the last 6 years or so on the market. Although if you could stream it whenever you wanted they wouldn't be so popular.

I think the biggest hurdle for all these streaming services is getting fast internet access to the masses. North America is notoriously known for having slow speeds compared to other parts of the world. At least in terms of pricing, for faster access it costs quite a lot here.

Edited by Xero, Feb 11 2010, 3:12pm :

Tom W said,
Subscriptions + streaming is the future, if only the music industry could see that.

No, thanks. :P

Edited by bb10, Feb 11 2010, 7:13pm :

corporate dinosaurs
real shame cos it will probably signal other companies pulling out
spotify is great even with all the adverts
get with the times music industry we dont buy cds anymore

The problem with all of these online services is lack of choice and availability. Some are unavailable in certain countries (Amazon, Spotify) and some have tracks that are only available in certain countries (iTunes). Until you can get whatever track you want from a store that you can access in your own country none of these online services are "net positive" in my book.