Warner Head Lyor Cohen Discusses “Flexible Pricing” Using the Chewbacca Defense. WHY?

Last week, we reported to you two days late about Apple's revelatory news of changing their pricing model from a fixed 99¢ to a "flexible" model of 69¢, 99¢, and 129¢. To make up for it, we're going to report on the industry response early. Why? Because we're awesome like that.

For its upcoming issue, Billboard sat down with Warner Chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen to discuss recent developments, including Apple's announcement, as well as their pulling out of YouTube. On the matter of Apple, Cohen said the exact following:

I think it's important to make sure that the consumer has a choice and that we have the flexibility to give them an offer that makes sense. It's very hard to explain to Jimmy Page why "Stairway to Heaven" is 99 cents and Chumbawamba is the same price.

Eh, let's put this whole thing into context. So, Jimmy Page is the "consumer" in question? And he wants to buy "Stairway to Heaven," his own song, for 99¢? And he has beef that a pseudo-anarchist band sold themselves (not just any song, the entire band itself) for the same price? And he wants some form of "choice" and "flexibility," even though he could just choose not to buy either?

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Chewbacca Defense.

Head explosions aside, Cohen did make some sense in the interview. For example, his wording has suggested that the labels have shown little-to-no interest in changing the iTunes pricing model on the album level, something that was unclear from Apple's official announcement and press release. Further, he amazingly admitted to the old industry practice of packaging singles with albums that could be at best described as "shoddy" and at worst as "why did I spend $15 on one good song?"

Then there's this slightly mind-bending nugget:

I would love to get to a point that when T.I. has 175 million impressions, I can for a one-month period bring the single up to $2.99 as a bundle [with other content] or cut it out like I used to if I feel good about the album.

Putting aside the fact that he is describing a business model that is done in every other frickin' part of the world, 175 million people like T.I.? I'm... the only word I can think of at this point is "horror," so I'll go with... "stupefied."

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