Warner Music Group Quits Free Music Streaming?

Warner Music Group Green Day

If you’re a fan of free online streaming music services like Last.fm or Spotify, your music selection might be getting a lot smaller. Warner Music Group, one of the big four record labels, has apparently decided that free music streaming sites aren’t doing it any good, with CEO Edgar Bronfman saying yesterday that such services were “clearly no positive for the industry.”

Warner Music Group has yet to make any official announcements regarding the availability of its artists for free streaming services, but sources in the industry consistently indicate any shift in stance from Warner is unlikely to impact deals currently in place: so, Warner Music Group artists currently available to free streaming services should continue to remain available for the duration of existing agreements. However, how Warner Music Group will handle the availability of new material and new artists—and whether it will renew any free music streaming agreements—remains to be seen.

Bronfman’s comments were part of the the company’s discussion of financial results for its first fiscal quarter of 2010 which saw the company losing about $17 million. Digital sales were up eight percent compared to the year before, but CD sales continued to decline. During the call, Bronfman indicated the free music streaming business model—which tries to migrate users to a premium service with additional features and capabilities—wasn’t something Warner “will be supporting in the future.”

Instead, Bronfman implied Warner Music would be looking to launch a subscription service of its own.

Bronfman also hinted that Warner, currently the third-largest of the major labels, hasn’t ruled out an acquisition of EMI, the smallest of the major music labels.

[Image: Warner Music Group artist Green Day]

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