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Former Warner Music Group chairman says ‘Apple from day one believed in music and content’

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Yesterday we brought you music legend Neil Young’s interview from the “D: Dive into Media” conference where he talked about Steve Jobs’ love of vinyl and hinted at a high-fidelity music service he worked on with Jobs that was later confirmed by Bloomberg. At the same conference, Edgar Bronfman Jr. sat down with  AllThingsD on his last day as chairperson of Warner Music Group. While discussing why record labels are still necessary in an iTunes driven music industry, Bronfman talked about his struggles with Jobs on pricing:

Apple from day one believed in music and content. That was the good news. The bad news is that they decided all songs where created equal, and I fought Steve on that. Ultimately, Apple got the better part of that deal. Ultimately, I wish we’d gotten more pricing flexibility… Apple was there supporting music from day one, and it obviously was a great outcome for Apple… 

As for the competition… Bronfman said Google Music is an “oxymoron” and explained the iPhone and iPod content strategy is working, “But it’s not really there on other devices.” Bronfman said Google needs to decide how it wants to structure its content platform but is still “unclear” in how its want to handle negotiations, at least with WMG. He also discussed Spotify and claimed the service has not impacted downloads or sales:

“We see Spotify as incrementally positive. It’s not slowing down music sales or downloads. We would all love to make more money from Spotify, but Spotify needs to make money, too. But artists should know that it is a real and growing revenue stream.”

Bronfman explained why he thinks record labels will not be going away anytime soon, claiming even consumers need the labels too:

“Commercial success still hasn’t come to an artist that isn’t signed to a record label. There are very few artists that can succeed without the help of a record label. The role of the record label is still required, it’s still necessary. I really do think consumers are busy, and trying to sort through millions and millions of artists to find the ones that they might like just requires far too much work. That’s where the labels come in.”

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.