Jimmy Iovine on Apple Music: 'We're Trying to Make it a Cultural Point of Reference'

Jimmy Iovine, who leads Apple Music alongside Eddy Cue, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and Larry Jackson, recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Variety covering everything from Apple's goals with the streaming service to its experimentation with exclusives.

Though Jimmy Iovine has no official title at Apple, going by just "Jimmy," he has negotiated many of the streaming deals for the service and has been a key team member since Apple purchased Beats Music in 2014. "Apple, of all the global tech companies, was the one that understood why artists make things," Iovine said, explaining why he had a close relationship with Apple even before the acquisition.


Since its debut, Apple Music has grown to 20 million subscribers, with 10 million added in 2016 alone. Much of that can be attributed to Apple's evolving focus, first on exclusives and now on video. Apple is adding original content to Apple Music, in the form of two TV shows - a reality series based on Carpool Karaoke and drama that will star Dr. Dre.

Iovine wouldn't go into detail about Apple's future plans for original content, but he explained that Apple's goal is to make Apple Music "a cultural point of reference." He says Apple's work on original content shouldn't be compared to other entertainment companies like Netflix.

Iovine, asked if he sees Apple Music attempting to become competitive with the likes of Netflix in the original-content sphere, demurs. "I wouldn't put it that way," he says. "When I read that, or I read that we're taking on whomever, I say no. To me it's all one thing. It's Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio. ... It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing."

On the topic of exclusive content, which has created conflict between Apple and both its competitors and record labels, Iovine says Apple is "just experimenting." He says his work with Apple hasn't caused problems with former colleagues in the music business, despite the bitterness over exclusive content.

"I don't lean on [exclusives] too heavily myself," he says. "We did 'em. We'll do some more. But we're just experimenting. I just know that if something feels right and someone wants to, we're willing to do it, to help them really market their record, get the word out, and spend what it deserves."

According to Iovine, the key to Apple's continued success in the music industry is an ability to "speak both languages," referring to the harmonizing of technology and music. He believes there's room in the streaming music industry for many companies, as long as "streaming is done right," with each service being culturally different with a unique feel. "Yeah, they all have the same catalog," he said." But what we're doing is we're just building on top of that. That's where the personality and the feel will come from."

Iovine's full interview, which covers a range of additional topics like his childhood, early jobs, close relationship with Dr. Dre, the founding of Beats Music, Beats 1 Radio, and subscription streaming models, can be read over at Variety and is worth checking out for those who want an inside look at Apple Music.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
43 months ago
Seems he and Apple are trying too hard. Becoming a cultural point of reference doesn't happen via marketing. It's organic. The goal should be to make something great. Then consumers will take notice and THEN it will be come a cultural point of reference.

Iovine is really the epitome of AppleThink in the Cook era.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Apple Music can go fly a kite if it is going to keep turning my phone into an advertisement.

I've disabled "show Apple Music" in settings three times this week only to have it reenable on its own every time. If I wanted a horrible user experience and to be the product, I would switch to Android. :mad:
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Stop this "exclusive" crap, just be a good and solid music streaming service.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Apple Music isn't a service, it was like a virus on my iPhone, constantly badgering me to listen to what Apple want me to listen to instead of letting me choose, ruining all my album artwork and Beats 1?? Is there a worse radio station on the planet?? I wouldn't mind if Beats 1 it was an option you could turn off but it's on force touch, the Watch & it's garbage. Does it ever play anything other than R'n'B ? I chose Apple as a means to play music I want to listen to, not to be strong armed into listening to rubbish I don't like. I now switch between the Apple app, Ecoute and Spotify. I want an iPod classic option so I can listen to some music. All I want to do is choose what I want to listen to and listen to it. Apple have ruined this experience for me
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
They've been talking so much about how they are gonna make Apple Music so amazing and so special, but... nothing is ever happening..
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Maybe once Apple wakes the eff up and realizes that there's more music out there than rap & hip-hop Apple Music will be worth shelling out money for but until then I'll stick to the music I own.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Gains HDR10+ and Dolby Vision Support, Plus Siri Voice Control

Thursday May 28, 2020 12:00 am PDT by
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is receiving a major update today, introducing much-desired features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. Designed by Signify as part of the Philip Hue line of lights and accessories, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to let Hue users sync their lights to their home entertainment systems. One of the major complaints about the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ...

APFS Bug in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina Impacts the Creation of Bootable Backups

Thursday May 28, 2020 3:47 am PDT by
An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post on Wednesday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that the CCC team had uncovered the issue in the Apple File System, or APFS, when attempting to create a bootable backup in a...