Warner Upping their Game

I just saw a pretty interesting Key Note from Warner Music International‘s CEO Patrick Vien. He certainly sold the story of a label waking up to the realities of selling music in the 21st Century and being willing to take some brave gambles.

One quote that stood out was:

“[there is] an abundance of thresholds of willingness to pay…” …impacted by the multiplicity of choice and free alternatives.

He cited Last.fm and LaLa as key examples of innovative alternatives to leveraging digital in the discovery process. He also previewed a tie up with Premium Video (who seem to be the talk of the show here) and Rhino Records. The music video element included a fully searchable archive with the option to watch live as well as studio versions of tracks, high quality full screen viewing and features such as playlists, sharing and blog embedding. It runs on a revenue share ad supported model and will be available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

One disconcerting quote that sounded like a throwback to MusicNet / PressPlay days was

“[In addition to working with partners] we want to be the architects and operators [of digital initiatives]. No one is better placed to curate our content than us”

He also mentioned a new music ‘format’ called Music Video Interactive (MVI) that incorporates rip and burn functionality, video, artwork, ringtones, online interactivity etc. This is great to hear – this is exactly what we’ve been saying labels should do. Though the online interactivity and follow up content may scare off retailers.