Jimmy Iovine talks past, future of Apple Music in new interview

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine discussed the makings of Apple's streaming service in an interview published Tuesday, saying it took ten years to build the right team of people able to bridge the gap between technology and pop culture.









Iovine sat down with Billboard to clear the air over recent reports -- one from Rolling Stone in particular -- that forward a narrative in which tech companies bring on record execs to foster partnerships with music industry elite. This so-called "liaison narrative" is an oversimplification of Iovine's work, which started when the former music executive co-founded Beats with Dr. Dre.



Iovine said he realized streaming services facilitated by tech companies would become the future of music distribution after meeting with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue in 2003. At the time, Iovine knew little about the world of technology, so he set out to learn what he could before starting Beats.



Apple purchased Beats in 2014 for $3 billion, bringing Iovine, Dr. Dre and their team into the fold.



Beats owes its success in large part to a team fluent in the "languages" of tech and pop culture. Iovine brought on the likes of Luke Wood, Larry Jackson, Robert Kondrk and Trent Reznor, the latter of whom is credited with leading the design and engineering of Apple Music's new user interface.



"Then Apple brought over 250 people from popular culture, from the media business -- not one, 250 people. Right? So that's why all of this is missing the point: it took 10 years to develop this team," Iovine said.



Looking ahead, Iovine dropped a hint that Apple is working on a "hybrid" music product that will meld and build on the ideas that made Beats a success. Most importantly, the as-yet-unannounced project will marry pop culture and technology in a meaningful way only the Apple Music team can realize.



"And what we're going to do, what we're doing now that hasn't been revealed yet, is we're building the right hybrid," he said. "And we believe it's the right hybrid, and the combination of these things together, we'll build a music service that is technologically and culturally adept."



Shades of the "technologically and culturally adept" projects can already be seen in Apple's original content collaborations with top artists. From the beginning, Apple Music has experimented with original content, mostly through in-house produced music videos. The most recent effort, Drake's 23-minute short film "Please Forgive Me," debuted last month as an Apple Music exclusive.



With Apple Music positioning itself ever closer to music makers in a bid to nab exclusives, like September's controversial double release from Frank Ocean, some pundits believe Apple is quickly entering the record business. When asked whether he is working toward a future where there is no clear delineation between the tech and music industries, Iovine dismissed the idea.



"We are an adjunct to labels and artists," he said. "We are building something that can help labels and artists and undiscovered artists. Yeah, it's a popular culture company, but it's also a tool. And that's what we're building. [...] For some reason, this has to be the case for it to really work. That's why there are so many people out there in media companies that don't understand; they work on the digital side of the record companies, but they don't understand the language of the world of technology companies, what it's like to be in a technology company and how they perceive things."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Hrmmph...
    rogifan_new
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Dude has taken what was a revolutionary, breakthrough clean, easy to use, very clear-cut iTunes Music service and turned it into a confusing pile of dinosaur dung.

    He has been a detriment, not an asset.

    We don't need to "bridge" and imaginary gap between music and pop culture. 

    People like music. ITunes let them acquire the music they like.

    Now, with this guy at the helm, you are told what's "cool" and what to like.

    Please go to Tidal or something and leave Apple alone.

    The thought that he tries to deny that he was brought on as a music industry liaison is laughable. But it's true that he has had more influence than simply that. too bad his influence only appears in what's bad about the Apple Music scene.... starting with "hybrid." This isn't some mishmash of tech and taste. It's Apple for crying out loud. Apple figures out what you don't yet know you need and they fully bake it until its ready and then the people are in awe of such brilliance. NOT this guy. He doesn't fit the DNA. He'd rather take what everyone else is saying and mash it together. that might work in Zerg video games, but not real life. No thanks.
    edited October 2016 dreyfus2rogifan_newbaconstangSpamSandwichmike1shirley legitte
  • Reply 3 of 18
    bwikbwik Posts: 562member
    I would pay money for Apple to stay out of my music collection.  Just show me my music.  I bought you.  You should do what I say.
    mike1caliviclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Of course he loves Eddy Cue. Eddy got Tim to overpay for a crappy headphone company with a streaming music service that had hardly any subscribers. I hated Iovine when he was on American Idol and I still hate him now.
    ksecmike1
  • Reply 5 of 18
    How about improving the audio quality?
    baconstang1983mike1viclauyyclostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 18
    19831983 Posts: 1,190member
    Pdybman said:
    How about improving the audio quality?
    Yes, high-res music streaming and download options like those offered by Tidal and Qobuz would be nice.
    mike1caliviclauyyc
  • Reply 7 of 18
    ksecksec Posts: 1,567member
    Of course he loves Eddy Cue. Eddy got Tim to overpay for a crappy headphone company with a streaming music service that had hardly any subscribers. I hated Iovine when he was on American Idol and I still hate him now.
    Partly true. And Below is going to be My massive Rant.

    I DONT LIKE Iovine. He may be good within the Music Industry, he may be good music producer, he may have his Music industry connection or what ever. BUT THAT IS IT. I try to like him. I tried, every single interview, i have to reread, relisten everything. And All he did was RANT about how crap quality of Apple's earphone ( Which is properly some of the best earphone that comes with a smartphone for FREE), how Beats headphone is great ( It is ABSOLUTE CRAP ), and how important it is about "the next song".

    If the Apple Music version 1 was utter ( Failure ) Beta / Alpha quality I point my finger at him. Why? Because I feel the whole UI was purposely made for "Next Song".  For discovery of New Music, of discovery what "that next song" should be. In Reality most music listeners dont. The UI is simply not made for these people. I argue KKBOX in Asia and Spotify has much better UI. iOS 10 Apple Music was basically an admission to defeat.

    So how did Iovine got to Apple. Well every Interview with him he ALWAYS bring up his Steve Jobs card, BUT i dont think Steve EVER give a shit about his ideas, at least his idea about the Next Songs. That is why Iovine got no where in Steve's era.
    SpamSandwichmike1
  • Reply 8 of 18
    The only thing he's done worth mentioning is talking Stan Lynch into getting better drums during the Damn The Torpedoes recording session with Tom Petty.  That's it Jimmy
  • Reply 9 of 18
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    You guys don't understand how important Jimmy is. He's discovered  so many artists and understands the industry more than anyone. He has said some dumb things like pretty much unveiling a product here in this interview.

    ksec said:
    Of course he loves Eddy Cue. Eddy got Tim to overpay for a crappy headphone company with a streaming music service that had hardly any subscribers. I hated Iovine when he was on American Idol and I still hate him now.
    Partly true. And Below is going to be My massive Rant.

    I DONT LIKE Iovine. He may be good within the Music Industry, he may be good music producer, he may have his Music industry connection or what ever. BUT THAT IS IT. I try to like him. I tried, every single interview, i have to reread, relisten everything. And All he did was RANT about how crap quality of Apple's earphone ( Which is properly some of the best earphone that comes with a smartphone for FREE), how Beats headphone is great ( It is ABSOLUTE CRAP ), and how important it is about "the next song".

    If the Apple Music version 1 was utter ( Failure ) Beta / Alpha quality I point my finger at him. Why? Because I feel the whole UI was purposely made for "Next Song".  For discovery of New Music, of discovery what "that next song" should be. In Reality most music listeners dont. The UI is simply not made for these people. I argue KKBOX in Asia and Spotify has much better UI. iOS 10 Apple Music was basically an admission to defeat.

    So how did Iovine got to Apple. Well every Interview with him he ALWAYS bring up his Steve Jobs card, BUT i dont think Steve EVER give a shit about his ideas, at least his idea about the Next Songs. That is why Iovine got no where in Steve's era.



    The UI was by Trent Revnor not Jimmy. I gave Trent the benefit of the doubt but I had a strange feeling leaving the UI to a rockstar wasn't such a great idea. But I don't judge and I was open-minded.

    About "The Next Song", well the copycats were quick to jump on board.


    SpamSandwichdasanman69
  • Reply 10 of 18
    calicali Posts: 3,495member

    Of course he loves Eddy Cue. Eddy got Tim to overpay for a crappy headphone company with a streaming music service that had hardly any subscribers. I hated Iovine when he was on American Idol and I still hate him now.
    They paid a lot less than what it was worth don't kid yourself. They probably made 3 billion the first year they owned beats.
    nolamacguylostkiwi
  • Reply 11 of 18
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Dude has taken what was a revolutionary, breakthrough clean, easy to use, very clear-cut iTunes Music service and turned it into a confusing pile of dinosaur dung.

    He has been a detriment, not an asset.

    We don't need to "bridge" and imaginary gap between music and pop culture. 

    People like music. ITunes let them acquire the music they like.

    Now, with this guy at the helm, you are told what's "cool" and what to like.

    Please go to Tidal or something and leave Apple alone.
    you don't get it. apple music is not itunes. AM is *supposed* to study your likes and introduce you to *new* music. this is called discovery. not having this would be a missing feature. this feature is part of what adds value to AM.

    now if for some reason you don't want suggestions on new music and playlists to check out, that's a simple problem for you to solve -- don't go to the For You screen. problem solved.

    the rest of your post is conjecture ignorant of real facts -- none of us work with these people, none of us know who contributes value to the company and who doesn't. not a one of us. 
    edited October 2016 lostkiwicali
  • Reply 12 of 18
    stukestuke Posts: 86member
    How about giving me back my freaking star ratings?  I don't give a damn about "love/dislike" to help you (now Apple) build your curated playlists. What I want is MY music the way I've managed it for the past 10+ years digitally, with iTunes, Mac OS, and iOS. The latest iOS music app is trouble for Apple as we all individually reconsider how to move away from Apple telling me what I like or don't like. Yes, I know about all the recent workarounds but KISS is gone from Apple's UI. Thanks for your influence here.  :s
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 13 of 18
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member

    Of course he loves Eddy Cue. Eddy got Tim to overpay for a crappy headphone company with a streaming music service that had hardly any subscribers. I hated Iovine when he was on American Idol and I still hate him now.
    utter nonsense. Beats was an incredible purchase. it's already paid for itself so i don't know what drugs you're smoking. they're the #1 selling iphone accessory and even better they work with non iphones and the public loves them (no shits given for what so called audiophiles on tech sites care. they'll always be butthurt). 

    now os with the W1 integration into the beats wireless product line it's even more brilliant. 

    dont quit your day job! strategic vision is not for you. 
    lostkiwicali
  • Reply 14 of 18
    I'm not sure how I feel about what Iovine is doing right now, but to his credit he has done some great things, including Beats Headphones (I think they're really great), as well as the Beats streaming service, which was really interesting and unique even before Apple bought it.

    But Apple Music has clearly been bumbled.

    The first Apple Music did too much (shooting for being a rapidly successful cultural phenomenon is flatly unrealistic). Now the second version does to little. And both have been completely socially inept, which cripples a service with such a personal and emotional role that should be about facilitating self-expression.

    FWIW, the new Apple Music app, for what it does, is a significant improvement over last year's:
    -The song suggestions in the My New Music Mix in particular have been great (but seems pretty slow with only 25 songs updated once a week; why can't this be a 'radio' station???).
    -I like the simplicity and comfortably large controls.
    -The extra large graphics are unnecessary and limit the efficiency of using the app, which is frustrating.
    -The For You section is much better, not pushing hip hop onto me (as much, although it's still a bit annoying).

    There are still some bugs (can't access playlists that are accessed through search after clicking through the "See All" section, which is such a BASIC oversight) and UI issues (e.g. not obvious that you can scroll down from the now playing card).

    But, the glaring omission (crippling what would otherwise be a clearly dominant service relative to competitors) is the lack of ability to create a personal page or section that you can post songs, playlists, or comments to, that you can chose to be public-facing. This seems like such a simple thing, and so easy to understand, that I'm genuinely flummoxed as to why Apple continues to refuse to create this.

    The Connect failure should have been easily predicted, just like ping. It allowed you only to peripherally participate, comment, or 'like' things without any meaningful self-expression. OTOH, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, are all extremely successful because they are about sharing, self-expression, and identity! How can Apple not understand this BASIC concept of social?!?

    As long as Apple continues to limit the ability for self-expression and identity creation, Apple Music will continue to be a mere utility, no matter how many exclusives are launched, or how great some of the other services are.

    Apple has been enormously successful in hardware and software for being able to make things simple and 'get out of the way' of the user. Apple Music seems to do everything it can to GET IN THE WAY of the user; no wonder it's so lacking as a product/service (at $10/mo for 30-40million songs it should be a no-brainer for most iPhone users, but it's still not nearly as successful as it should be).

    NB: Creating silly commercials that try to associate Apple Music with the executives goes against self-expression, and AGAINST the user experience. I don't want to be thinking about Eddy Cue, Iovine, or even Bozoma (as great as she is) when I'm listening to MY music. (Zuckerberg doesn't interject himself into facebook any more than is necessary, and I don't even know who the CEO or management of snapchat are even though I use it every day. So why do Apple execs feel the need interject themselves?)

    cali
  • Reply 15 of 18
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    not getting the "don't tell me what i like!" butthurt. i have to wonder if you actually use AM... there's nothing stopping you from keeping, augmenting, and creating your own playlists. but if you want discovery of new music, it's on a separate screen just for that purpose. 

    whats the pain point here? 

    AM doesn't tell you what you like, you tell it. its pretty simple. i get NO recommendations for hip hop, r&b, or pop music -- because i told it i didn't like those genres. and i told it what i did like, and that's what it suggests. 

    i suspect this is just more techie echo chamber hating of anything and everything. if you didn't invent it it sucks, etc...
    edited October 2016 lostkiwicali
  • Reply 16 of 18
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    But, the glaring omission (crippling what would otherwise be a clearly dominant service relative to competitors) is the lack of ability to create a personal page or section that you can post songs, playlists, or comments to, that you can chose to be public-facing. This seems like such a simple thing, and so easy to understand, that I'm genuinely flummoxed as to why Apple continues to refuse to create this.

    The Connect failure should have been easily predicted, just like ping. It allowed you only to peripherally participate, comment, or 'like' things without any meaningful self-expression. OTOH, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, are all extremely successful because they are about sharing, self-expression, and identity! How can Apple not understand this BASIC concept of social?!?dk

    As long as Apple continues to limit the ability for self-expression and identity creation, Apple Music will continue to be a mere utility, no matter how many exclusives are launched, or how great some of the other services are.
    see that's funny -- because what you consider a glaring omission, i consider unnecessary. i'm not interested in post public playlists to a social media style landing page for my friends to visit. cuz they ain't gonna visit it and i don't care to visit theirs. music is personal and i just want to listen to it....i'm not in AM to "express myself" like a beautiful snowflake. 
    lostkiwicaliksec
  • Reply 17 of 18
    But, the glaring omission (crippling what would otherwise be a clearly dominant service relative to competitors) is the lack of ability to create a personal page or section that you can post songs, playlists, or comments to, that you can chose to be public-facing. This seems like such a simple thing, and so easy to understand, that I'm genuinely flummoxed as to why Apple continues to refuse to create this.

    The Connect failure should have been easily predicted, just like ping. It allowed you only to peripherally participate, comment, or 'like' things without any meaningful self-expression. OTOH, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, are all extremely successful because they are about sharing, self-expression, and identity! How can Apple not understand this BASIC concept of social?!?dk

    As long as Apple continues to limit the ability for self-expression and identity creation, Apple Music will continue to be a mere utility, no matter how many exclusives are launched, or how great some of the other services are.
    see that's funny -- because what you consider a glaring omission, i consider unnecessary. i'm not interested in post public playlists to a social media style landing page for my friends to visit. cuz they ain't gonna visit it and i don't care to visit theirs. music is personal and i just want to listen to it....i'm not in AM to "express myself" like a beautiful snowflake. 
    Hi nolamacguy. I'm a big fan of your posts, so I'm going to be polite in my response.

    You are the exception (most of us are the exception on AI).

    Most people are very much into self-expression (and the number and proportion is only going to continue to grow); ESPECIALLY for those people who are active music consumers. Facebook has 1.7 BILLION monthly active users, basically almost everyone on the planet that can afford a smartphone. The ONLY thing it is is self-expression.

    As an Apple fan, who very much wants Apple to succeed in every way, the fact that Apple can't understand this is frustrating.
    cali
  • Reply 18 of 18
    shirley legitteshirley legitte Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    You what was the greatest tool for music discovery & sales that ever existed?

    Napster.

    Because it let you discover and download obscure music from people who had similar tastes to yours. 

    Napster succeeded (initially) because it assisted the discovery process, from the ground-up. A human being did the curation, not an 
    alog.

    To people who really listen to music, the whole problem with "popular" music, is that's popular: you hear too much of the same stuff, everywhere you go...who needs to buy Beyonce's latest thing, when you are going to hear it everywhere you go, for the next six months?
     
    The Industry has become so efficient at pumping out super-lucrative product from the likes of Taylor Swift of Rhianna, that they don't seem to realize that the real value to the users themselves derives from the Long Tail.
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