@ CTIA — Bronfman Wants Your Mobile Phone and Glaser Says You’ll Pay

Edgar Bronfman, ever the consumer’s friend and CEO of Warner Music, gave one of the keynotes this morning, and he’s definitely bullish on mobile music — mostly because he thinks it’s a way to stop piracy (which doesn’t really make sense, but then neither does much of what he says about piracy, copy protection and DRM). Some highlights:

– He’s impressed by the fact that KDDI’s attracted a relatively high number of mobile downloads at a price higher than standard online downloads. It’s not clear if he has an understanding of why people in Japan will pay a premium, or just that they do it. The idea that people will pay a premium for a service just because it’s mobile really doesn’t always hold — after all, what premium price does mobile voice attract these days?

– His general motivation behind mobile music is that it adds another point of distribution and, in conjunction with copy protection, another de facto format for music. He said that the music business was its “healthiest” when it sold vinyl, cassettes and CDs, and it sounds like that’s how he sees mobile music, as another media. Meaning that you’ll have to buy a CD to listen to on your stereo, another file for your computer and another for your mobile phone (in his ideal world, anyway).

– He also mentioned how Warner has integrated wireless into its business, saying they even train their A&R people that find talent about new media products. Does this mean they’re signing bands because they think they’d make a great ringtone? Apparently when Green Day was in the studio recording their last record, their producer also produced ringtones from the album. I’m not convinced a truetone is of high enough fidelity that anybody would really care.

– Bronfman’s main belief really seems to be that mobile will be great for him because it offers a closed network, from browsing to delivery. (Remember, Bronfman is the guy that argued big corporations, like his, should control the Internet, and how dangerous it is that people can be anonymous online.)

Bronfman was followed up by Real CEO Rob Glaser, who gave a pretty uninspiring demo of some of his company’s mobile products. For a company that was such an early dominant force in online multimedia, it’s interesting to see how little it’s used in mobile, regardless of how long Real says it’s been involved. As an aside, it’s Coding Technologies’ aacPlus that’s becoming the standard for audio.

What I took away from Glaser’s keynote was that he’s selling the company’s Rhapsody subscription service hard, maybe too hard. He talked about how users have access to a “jukebox in the sky”, but with Rhapsody, they don’t, they’re still stuck syncing up to a PC whenever they want new music. There are plenty of smaller competitors, though, that actually make use of a phone’s network connection.

But Glaser’s also a believer in the “people will pay for anything on a phone” mantra, which simply isn’t true. Adding mobility to a service doesn’t automatically dictate a premium price. He mentioned things like IM and email that people expect for free on the Internet and said they’re premiums on mobile phones. That may be true, but those services are quickly becoming commodities just like voice. Mobility doesn’t dictate an inherent premium, people still need value. And being able to do something “on the go” doesn’t always add much value.

Glaser also tried to talk up Real’s silly Breaks and Beats freestyle rap service, showing a “spontaneous” video of four kids using it to rap. I’m not exactly down with the kids these days, but I really don’t imagine too many of them “spontaneously” find themselves in office conference rooms rapping with a video camera going.

ā€”ā€“>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo