Discussing the performance rights bill currently before the Senate that would compensate artists and their record labels when their music is played on the radio, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman said, “It is right and proper that we get paid for our content.”
Furthermore, radio is not such an important promotional tool that artists don’t need to get compensated, Bronfman argued at Monday’s Deutsche Bank Media and Telecommunications Conference. He also trotted out the old argument that the U.S. is one of only five countries, including North Korea and Iran, which doesn’t pay its artists performance royalties when their music is played on the radio. He said it was important that the bill get passed but noted that he didn’t know if that was possible.
Bronfman also repeatedly said Warner Music was a good position, given the company’s increasing market share ever since he and his team of private-equity firms acquired the company from Time Warner. He’s confident that WMG will continue to grow market share and be in good shape when the music business rebounds. (Who knows when that will happen?)
And he said WMG’s lenders have “voiced no concerns with [the company’s] balance sheet and ability to meet [its] debt covenants.”
Speaking of debt, Bronfman also dashed some poor questioner’s dream of a merger between WMG and EMI, which frankly didn’t really seem like it was still in the works. He said there were no prospects of reviving discussions with EMI at this time. So anyone with hopes otherwise should probably let those go.
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