Things didn't exactly work out for him with Vivendi and its plans to create a global media empire, but Edgar
Bronfman Jr. is back in the entertainment biz as the new Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, and is convinced that
the only successful challenge to the iPod won't come from an even better player made by another consumer electronics
company, but rather from the cellphone carriers who will be able to create a "secure, piracy-resistant network" to
distribute music over high-speed wireless connections.
It's hard to gauge how much Apple is shaking in their boots at the prospect of all this, since it'll be years before cellphones have the storage capacity, high-speed connections, ease of use, and battery life to rival iPods, but sales of cameraphones are already depressing sales of standalone digital cameras (even though there is clearly no comparison in picture quality), so it makes sense that if you put enough storage in there and made it easy (and cheap enough) to download new songs, there's no reason why a lot of people wouldn't ditch their standalone MP3 player for a cellphone that also plays MP3s. That's why it's not too difficult to believe the rumors about Apple doing a cellphone; at the very least that deal to put iTunes on Motorola phones indicates that they know which way the wind is blowing. It just sort of sketches us out to hear this stuff from Edgar Bronfman Jr., who has been so very wrong about the future of the entertainment industry before (see Slate's story from a few years back about how he drove Seagrams into the ground). That said, since he is the head of a major record label, he actually does have some power over how all this stuff plays out.