Features April 3, 2018

Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine on his past, present and future in the music biz

Staff Writer
Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine on his past, present and future in the music biz

Apple’s head of music, Jimmy Iovine, has revealed that he is indeed leaving his position at the company and slipped into a consultancy role.

The 65-year-old has been doing interviews to promote the HBO/Netflix documentary The Defiant Ones, about the parallel lives of Iovine and hip-hop producer Dr Dre, who became his partner in developing Beats Electronics.

The doco touches everything, from Bruce Springsteen almost sacking him, and the backlash when he signed Tupac Shakur and Marilyn Manson to Interscope Records in the 90s.

He produced classic albums for Springsteen, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

As head of Interscope, he signed Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Eminem and Dr. Dre.

Now after steering Apple Music’s fast growth, at age 65 he plans to step back.

As Iovine changes course, we look at comments made in recent interviews to get an insight into where he’s at.

His future: “I’m gonna continue at Apple. I’m taking on a consultancy role. I have a dream to make Apple Music a platform that pushes popular culture – a place artists go and fans go, and get impacted by something” – The Defiant Ones.

Making the change: “I’m just taking a slight step back. I’m not gonna be in the firing line. I’m committed to Apple and Apple Music. So whatever form that takes… But I’m just not ‘that guy’ anymore” – Times of London.

The problem with streaming services: “(They) are all charging $9.99 and everyone has the same music. And it’s really nice. You get whatever song you want, you get your playlists. But there’s got to be more interaction between the artist and the audience … Sooner or later, something’s got to give” – BBC.

The need or Apple Music to get more original content: “Netflix [is] spending $6 billion a year on original content. They have a unique catalogue and they charge you $10.99” – BBC.

Why streaming must give experience to users to expand the number of subscribers and sustain: “If you look at Apple Music and Spotify, maybe – maybe! – there’s 100 million paying subscribers [between them] paying a monthly average of probably $7.99. To me, all music streaming services out right now are utilities. And my responsibility to the people at Apple is to make it not a utility, but an entertainment experience.

“They’re not enough as just a utility where you go there and you get the music. They have to move you, bring culture to you  I don’t think any of the services are there yet. They need to be cultural hangars for people to go to, where artists communicate with their audience. I’m very dedicated to that.” – BBC.

On rumours that downloads are to be scrapped next year: “If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying. It’s very simple” – BBC.

Why he allowed The Defiant Ones: to be made: “My initial reaction was, who the fuck cares? Who wants to see that? (But) a black guy and a white guy, both from racially challenged neighbourhoods, who come together from their own worlds. In order to stay together, and get the work done and be successful, they had to overcome a lot of trust issues and fear issues. That sounded like an idea – like, okay, let’s go on that journey. Even though it’s an old story, it was a new idea” – Fader.

Changing priorities: “Some people can work until they’re 90. I don’t have to do a certain thing, I find peace in other places right now. The person in [Defiant Ones] – I’m not gonna work like that anymore. Cos that’s where I used to take all my pain and put it in there” – Business Insider.

How he fooled US radio into playing Dr Dre, after he signed him and when no one would play him:  “I played ‘[Nothin’ But A] G Thang’ to my radio people, and they said: ‘Radio’s never going to play this, MTV’s not going to touch it, it’ll never be played in Europe, it’ll never be played in Asia. Never, never, never, never.’ They thought I was nuts.

“So I told my radio guys: ‘Do me a favour, make me a one-minute edit and [send it to] 50 of the top [radio] markets in the country. They can’t stop that, because that’s an ad Now, it didn’t say Dr Dre on the ad. It didn’t say anything, it was just the music – but all of the sudden the phones started exploding’” – BBC.

Maybe going back to being a record producer now that he has more time on his hands: “You just said the wrong word – ‘back’! I’ve got no interest. I’m not doing it” – Fader.

His health: “I’m healthy as fuck!” – Times of London.

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