Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine Pitched Steve Jobs on Subscription Music Service

In a new interview with AllThingsD, Beats Electronics CEO Jimmy Iovine reveals that he is preparing a subscription music service. Although he isn't revealing details yet, he does say that he started pitching the service to Steve Jobs in 2003.

jimmy iovine crop

In 2002, 2003, Doug [Morris, former Universal Music head] asked me to go up to Apple and see Steve. So I met him and we hit it off right away. We were really close. We did some great marketing stuff together: 50 Cent, Bono, Jagger, stuff for the iPod — we did a lot of stuff together.

But I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And he wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it. He was there, not there … he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually.

I don’t know what [Apple media head] Eddy Cue would say — I’m seeing him soon — but I think in the end Steve was feeling it, but the economics...he wanted to pay the labels [for subscriptions], but [the fees were] not going to be acceptable to them.

Recently, music streaming services like rdio, Pandora and Spotify have become increasingly popular and Apple is rumored to be working on a Pandora-like "iRadio" streaming service. Iovine mentions that his streaming service would be heavy on curation, like Pandora, rather than simply giving users access to millions of songs like Spotify. Apple's rumored streaming service is said to take the same approach, which makes sense if Jobs did like Iovine's pitch.

Beats and Apple do have a fairly close relationship already, as Apple retail stores tend to use Beats by Dre headphones to demo iPods and other devices.

Top Rated Comments

FreeState Avatar
118 months ago
The only thing "Beats" bring to the Apple store is thieving scum who steal the **** out of them.

And incredibly bad headphones that have been marketed brilliantly.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bungiefan89 Avatar
118 months ago
Want to hear a joke?

A guy wearing Beats headphones says Macs are low quality and overpriced.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hofer Avatar
118 months ago
I don't like subscription services, period. I don't need another service for which I pay a monthly fee whether I use it or not.

That is why I like the original itunes models. You like a song, and you buy it, No further obligations.

On the other hand, if I were running a business, a subscription service would be great. Nothing like a steady stream of revenue. But IMHO, as a consumer you get screwed unless you are an addict that listens 24/7.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DJJAZZYJET Avatar
118 months ago
I would even go as far to say that the apple EARPODS sound better than the beats headphones they are so bad.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ConCat Avatar
118 months ago
Steve has always been a stickler for money.

Aren't we all.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Damian. Avatar
118 months ago
Dr Dre, Birdman, Jay-Z, 50 cent

These are just some names with a higher net worth than any of the artists you listen to. Maybe all the artists you listen to combined. They also invested in a lot of ventures outside of music. Dre with Beats. 50 cent with Vitamine Water. Jay-z...

Wiz and Mac are on their way to the top.

The genre you dislike is at the top. And your at the bottom.

Maybe you should learn how to listen to Rap music.

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Maybe you're not cool enough for em.

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If you want the best quality go with Bose.

Compared to the 3 you listed, Bose QC15s are best.


I went through the most expensive Beats and Sennheisers. Bose still has the best all around ear headphones.

Most comfortable.
Best noise canellation (noticable).
Very good balance between bass and treble.

Beats has more bass than treble (duh)

Sennheiser is a cheaper Bose, less quality

It may just be your opinion but:
I've never read so much BS in one post before.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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