Warner Music hits online slump

Bronfman critical of digital music biz

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman was critical of the digital music biz Thursday as the label reported that online sales growth slowed while the company’s losses widened.

Warner said digital music sales in the second quarter through March grew 7 % to $166 million, far slower than the 48% growth posted a year ago. Physical music sales such as from CDs fell 25%, pulling down all music sales 18% to $537 million.

Bronfman said its minority investments in 2007 in music-streaming site Imeem.com and download site Lala.com “have not met expectations” and vowed not to fund any more digital ventures in the future.

He also criticized News Corp.’s MySpace Music service, a joint venture with major record labels, for not bringing in enough new revenue. But Bronfman said Apple’s move to allow variable pricing of songs sold on its iTunes musicstore last month had boosted revenues.

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