Jimmy Iovine to Apple: 'You Have a Hole in Music Right Now; Let Me Plug It'
Beats co-founder, music mogul, and Apple employee Jimmy Iovine was named as one of GQ's Men of the Year, and in an interview with the magazine, he unveiled some details on his efforts to establish a partnership with Apple, which famously led to the $3 billion acquisition that was Apple's biggest purchase ever.
According to Iovine, who had an ongoing relationship with Steve Jobs, he worked hard to persuade Apple to purchase Beats because it was the only company that he wanted to work for. He also believed he had a lot to bring to the company, telling Apple execs that he would "plug" Apple's "hole in music," referring to the company's lack of presence in the streaming music arena.
I convinced them that they had to buy this company. I said, "I don't want to work for anybody else. I want to do this at Apple. I know I can achieve this at Apple. I don't want to shop it. I wanna come here, to Steve's company. I know you guys; I know what you're capable of; I know you get popular culture. I know you have a hole in music right now; let me plug it." I think it was two years before they said yeah.
Though he only joined Apple in 2014, Jimmy Iovine and Steve Jobs were longtime friend and had a close relationship. Iovine even collaborated with Apple on several projects, helping Steve Jobs sign deals with music labels in the early days of iTunes and working with Apple and U2 on a special edition iPod. Iovine even pitched a subscription music service to Apple way back in 2003, far before services like Pandora and Spotify exploded in popularity.
Iovine does not have a specific title at Apple, but he reportedly has a senior role at the company alongside Dr. Dre, aka Andre Young, and works under iTunes chief Eddy Cue. Given his experience in the music industry, there has been some speculation that Iovine is working to help Apple secure deals with record labels, establish relationships with artists, and create a connection with a younger audience.
When announcing the Beats acquisition, Apple CEO Tim Cook called Iovine and Dre's talent and skills "really unique" and "very hard to find." In a later interview, Cook called the duo "off the charts creative geniuses," specifically citing Iovine's knowledge of the music industry as one of the major reasons he was hired.
At the current time, Apple is said to be working on a rebranding of Beats Music that may see it incorporating the service into iTunes and cutting the subscription price. The new music streaming service is expected to be unveiled in early 2015, possibly ahead of the Grammy Awards in February.