Edgar Bronfman, CEO of Warner Music, admits music industry made a mistake in file sharing

November 15, 2007

News:  Edgar Bronfman, Chairman and CEO of Warner Music, made this incredible admission today (according to Tech Crunch):

“We used to fool ourselves…We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won.”

Analysis:  Better late than never.  I’m not sure if the music industry has learned enough, though.  The industry has not yet given consumers what they want in the video space — the option to use music they buy on iTunes or elsewhere in YouTube videos, authorize by cheap synch licenses.

Newteevee interviews Steve Chen

November 15, 2007

News:  Newteevee interviewed co-founder of YouTube Steve Chen.  The transcript is here.

Analysis:  The most revealing part of the discussion was Steve Chen’s explanation why YouTube isn’t improving the video quality of its site (to the level of other video sites).  Here’s the exchange:

LIZ: Have you watched HD online?

STEVE: I want to be watching HD on his couch, not online. The type of content that they have on the site — 30 seconds — where you have to do something proactive (click on the next bit).

Audience person yells out HD. She wants HD. Loudly. With claps.

STEVE: They haven’t disregarded HD, it’s more about getting people all over the world being able to watch it. In parallel, they can implement higher quality. Up until now, it’s been “good enough” — but we’re interested in promoting higher-quality.

My take:  I do wonder why it’s taking YouTube a while to upgrade the quality of video.    People tolerate lower quality video on YouTube because the site has far more videos than other sites.  But if you’d ask people, I’ll bet they’d prefer higher quality video on YouTube, at least to the level of some of the other video sites already out there.