Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine Talk Apple Music in Series of Interviews

Following yesterday's debut of Apple Music, Jimmy Iovine and iTunes Chief Eddy Cue sat down with Billboard to discuss the new service and app, which combine on-demand streaming music with 24/7 radio and a social networking platform where artists can interact with fans.

According to Cue, the $9.99 individual price point for Apple Music wasn't a sticking point for the company as some earlier reports suggested, but the company was invested in negotiating a reasonable family subscription price. Apple Music lets up to 6 family members share an account for $14.99, a price point that Cue says will get entire families on board with the service.

applemusic

I think the cost of an album for a month of subscription is fair. Could you argue, $7.99 or $8.99? Who cares. I think where subscription is missing the boat is on the family -- you have a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend kids ... the concept of signing up for these individual subscription plans multiple times is just not going to happen so we spent a lot of time with the labels to convince them that the real opportunity here is to get the whole family. With that, all boats rise.

On the subject of streaming music cannibalizing iTunes downloads, Cue says he expects some of the customer base to subscribe instead of buying music, but he believes downloads will "go on for a long, long time." "There are lots of people who are very happy downloading," he said. "And I think they'll continue to."

Explaining the reasoning behind a 24-hour human-curated radio station, Iovine explained that over the past 15 years, radio's become manufactured, something he'd like to change. "It's either genre-based or beat-driven or research-driven," he said. "So I said, let's build something that's got none of that that just plays music because it's great."

Cue and Iovine also did interviews with The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, sharing much of the same information, but in the latter interview, the duo also spoke on Apple Connect, the social networking component of Apple Music. The point of Apple Connect and Apple Music in general, said Cue, was to give artists and labels control over content sharing.

"Our viewpoint was very simple: let the artist and label control it. They can put it up on Connect for free if they want to, or they can put it up behind the [subscription] paywall, or they can make it available on the iTunes Store for sale. They're in control of their music and how they want to distribute it," says Cue.

Iovine added commentary suggesting a music service needs to be "a win for everybody." "We wanted to give artists a place where there's a rhyme and a reason," he said. "Where there's a payoff! And not just a financial payoff, but an emotional payoff. A creative payoff."

Apple Music, with its on-demand streaming service, Beats 1 radio station, and Apple Connect platform, will officially launch on June 30, as part of the iOS 8.4 update. As previously mentioned, it will be priced at $9.99 for individuals and $14.99 for families. Existing Beats subscribers will be able to transition their subscriptions to Apple Music.

Top Rated Comments

wombat94 Avatar
83 months ago
I think that Eddy is exactly right about families being a big opportunity.

I've been fine with the idea of $10/month for unlimited listening. I've been wanting this to exist for at least the last 10 years. I did originally have a subscription to Rhapsody way back when. I tried Spotify.

The sticking point for me was to provide access to the whole family. When Spotify started offering the discount for additional subscriptions to make it $14.99 for my wife and me, I almost jumped back in but that would have left my two kids out of the mix.

$14.99 for all four of us is what I've been waiting for. I'll jump on the free trial on day one and depending on how it goes, I expect that I'll sign up as a paying customer as soon as the trial is over.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamin Frost Avatar
83 months ago
Well, goodness.

Just watched the keynote. It focused the mind. Here are my thoughts:

Craig Federighi was brilliant. He should be CEO of Apple. He's a superb presenter and everyone loves him. He comes across as passionate about everything he presents. If all this keynote had been him, it would have been excellent. We remember Steve Jobs so much as a presenter without peer. Federighi is his natural successor. A very different presenter to Jobs, but exuding the crucial ingredient: passion.

Tim Cook should either return to COO or become a politician. The three videos were clearly his personal input and checked all the boxes for inclusiveness and diversity garbage. They were also vacuous and nauseating. Cook has lost his purpose. He is the voice of authority behind everything, but never seems to have a stake in Apple. I never get the feeling that he really gets passionate about anything, apart from the iPad.

The Apple Watch is being siloed by Apple in readiness for its impending failure. Its segment felt boxed in and separate from the rest of the keynote, and not in a good way. Kevin Lynch is the most unsuitable voice of it. He is as far from fashionable as you could possibly imagine, for what Apple describes as its most personal product yet. I note that the Apple Watch got no significant mention or enthusiasm from anyone else on stage, even Tim Cook.

Apple Music. Jimmy Iovine's presentation was the most sustained marketing verbiage diarrhoea I have ever come across outside comedy. That said, the family plan is remarkably good value at $2.50 per month per person. On the other hand, it shows what poor value the single person subscription is, which costs 300% more. I don't think the service will be a success.

Generally, I like a lot of iOS 9 and OS X.11. Shift key and lower-case keyboard notwithstanding, this is the Apple I love. Apple Watch and Apple Music are the dark side, and are the wrong direction for Apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mjmar Avatar
83 months ago
To all of you people saying that you were "underwhelmed" by the announcement - do you even listen to music? As a music lover and and iPhone user I am extremely excited for Apple Music. It is everything I have been wanting in a streaming music service:

1. The iTunes catalogue on demand
2. Works with Siri (with some really cool new commands... like "Play the top song from 1982")
3. "Connect" aka Ping but done right (I actually loved Ping during it's short life) - but really I think that this feature will bring artists closer to their fans and will add a new dimension to the experience.
4. A really nice, new UI (with on screen volume control! unlike Spotify & Rdio... Ugh! and "up next"!)
5. Will most likely get new albums as soon as they come out
6. Cool radio station and music discovery features
7. Music videos
8. Integrates seamlessly with the music I already own
9. All this is in one place!!!

I really think that it is going to be a fantastic experience.

Some of you want so badly to be blown away by innovation that you are missing the whole point....

IT'S ABOUT THE MUSIC

and Apple nailed it

so go away and stop complaining ;);)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WJKramer Avatar
83 months ago
Why doesn't someone ask about the streaming quality?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruiserB Avatar
83 months ago
Still trying to figure out what $9.99 buys me. What is free without a subscription and what is added once I subscribe? What happens to the current iTunes Radio....does it go away? Sounds like Apple Radio includes Match....what if I already subscribe to Match? Will Match continue to be offered as a standalone service? Can subscribed music be downloaded or only streamed? Can it be synced to old or non wireless iPods (shuffles, nanos, classics)?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmChimera Avatar
83 months ago
I love the family plan....it's too bad it requires iCloud Family Sharing, which in turn requires one person to pay for ALL Apple digital purchases for all six people.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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