The iTunes Store is great. But in the negotiations between music executives and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the latter certainly came out on top, according to Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
"If you look at the market cap increase in Apple since it created the iPod versus what's happened to the music industry, you have to say Apple got the better part of that deal," Bronfman said Tuesday at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Laguna Niguel.
At the close of trading on Tuesday, Apple's market cap was $426 billion. In July, Warner Music Group was acquired by Access Industries for $3.3 billion.
Bronfman, though, was mostly complimentary about Jobs, Apple and iTunes.
"Any time that you can give the consumer more of what they want, it's a good thing," he said. "I said from Day 1 that the unbundling of the album is a good thing."
The good news is that Apple supported the music industry, Bronfman said. "The bad news is that they decided all songs were created equal, and I told Steve, I never thought that was right."
Bronfman, with an assist earlier in the day from rocker Neil Young, also defended music labels in general from consumers and artists who aren't sufficiently appreciative.
"There are very few artists who probably have the reputation where they might not need a record label. But the truth is, people underestimate what labels do," Bronfman said.
'What I like about record companies is that they present and nurture artists," Young said at the same conference. "That doesn't exist on iTunes, it doesn't exist on Amazon. That's what a record company does, and that's why I like my record company. People look at record companies like they're obsolete, but there's a lot of soul in there."
Young also said that his mission nowadays is to encourage the creation of tools for improving the sound quality of digital music, and he said he had an ally in Jobs.
"Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music, and his legacy is tremendous," Young said. "But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you've got to believe that if he'd lived long enough, he would have done what I'm trying to do."