×

Former Warner Music Chief Edgar Bronfman Jr. Bullish on Biz in the Streaming Era

Former Warner Music Group Chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., who stepped down from the post in 2012 after selling the company to a group led by Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, has always been a believer in the music industry, putting up his own fortune to prove it.

Now, the emergence of subscription streaming services has him even more optimistic about the recorded music industry’s future. Bronfman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he favored a subscription or streaming model even in the 1980s and ’90s “when we were selling albums.”

Related Content Barry Manilow Named Icon, Warner/Chappell Wins Top Publisher, Justin Tranter Calls for ‘More LGBTQ’ Songwriters at BMI Awards

Bronfman acknowledged while each individual consumer may spend “a little bit less than fanatics who were buying albums,” he insisted the new model “broadens the distribution base” and sets up the industry for future prosperity.

The most recent report from IFPI indicated the global music industry had a year-to-year gain of 6%, driven by streaming revenue growth of 60%. That’s the highest rate since the world organization began tracking revenue in 1997, with a total of 112 million of paid music streaming services.

Bronfman said the music industry was the first to deal with the disruption of unbundling content (allowing consumers to buy individual tracks instead of full albums), which is currently “undoing a lot of the media business plans and business models.” Bronfman noted that music is “back to a healthy growth,” even though he said there are still potential roadblocks.

“The artists do make more of their money on the road these days. Spotify complains that it pays too much to the content companies. And content companies aren’t making a whole lot of money,” he said, adding, “I think this is a fixed-cost model and until that subscription model grows further, it’s going to be tough to turn a lot of profits.”

Bronfman concluded by echoing one of the Recording Academy’s favorite lines in reiterating the power of the music industry’s enduring catalog of songs. “People think back and have a soundtrack to their lives. And songs mean stuff to people,” he said. “In a way, it’s the most compelling consumer content.”

Earlier this year, Bronfman, who is currently Chairman of Endeavor, an international non-profit development organization that supports entrepreneurs, was reportedly involved in a group of investors, along with Meredith, Inc., kicking the tires on an acquisition of Time, Inc.

Watch a clip on the interview below:

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • siriusxm on playstation

    SiriusXM Announces $4 Streaming Plan for Students

    SiriusXM took another step towards taking its subscription service past the car Tuesday: The company announced a new student subscription tier that gives eligible college students access to music and talk radio stations on their mobile and connected devices for $4 per month. Some of the content available for this price includes SiriusXM’s more than [...]

  • Demi Lovato

    Demi Lovato Joins Netflix Comedy 'Eurovision'

    Demi Lovato has joined the upcoming Netflix comedy film “Eurovision.” Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the film with Andrew Steele, announced the news Tuesday with an Instagram post, in which he wished Lovato a happy birthday with a “homemade” cake. Following the announcement, Lovato can be seen blowing out candles on the cake next to a “Eurovision” [...]

  • Queen and Adam Lambert Live

    How the Queen + Adam Lambert Tour Brought the Opera to Arenas

    Just as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, wowed moviegoers last year, stage design firm Stufish Entertainment Architects has helped Queen + Adam Lambert’s current U.S. tour deliver a screen spectacular of its own. The tour, which plays New Orleans on Aug. 20 and Atlanta on Aug. 22, touched down at [...]

  • Mass Appeal and Universal Launch Hip-Hop

    Nas, Mass Appeal and Universal Music Launch Hip-Hop Label in India, Sign Divine

    Mass Appeal and Universal Music Group today announced the launch of Mass Appeal India – a new label dedicated to amplifying India’s burgeoning hip-hop culture on a global scale. The new label’s operations will be based Universal Music India’s headquarters in Mumbai and will function as a multi-channel partnership between the two companies. According to the announcement, Mass Appeal India will sign and [...]

  • Trey Anastasio of Phish performs at

    Phish Concert Camp Out Canceled Due to Plague-Infected Prairie Dogs

    The plague, or Black Death, decimated the European population in medieval times and has returned to ruin Phish concert-goers’ camping plans. The band announced Tuesday that camping and vending will be canceled for their Labor Day weekend performance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, Colo. due to concerns of plague-infected colonies of prairie dogs. [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Edge, left, Adam Clayton, and Bono

    New York’s PlayStation Theater to Close (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York’s PlayStation Theater, a 2,100-capacity venue located in Times Square and operated by Bowery Presents, will close at the end of 2019, a source close to the situation tells Variety. The venue will close with a New Year’s series of shows from the Disco Biscuits. The theater, which is located two stories beneath the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content