Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine: 'Streaming Services Have a Bad Situation'

Jimmy SJ SM v1Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine sat down for an interview recently with Billboard to talk about The Defiant Ones, a four-part documentary series that focuses on the careers of both Iovine and his long-time partner Dr. Dre.

During the interview, Iovine commented on the state of the streaming music industry and the precarious position of companies focused solely on streaming music, like Spotify.

"The streaming services have a bad situation, there's no margins, they're not making any money," he said. "Amazon sells Prime; Apple sells telephones and iPads; Spotify, they're going to have to figure out a way to get that audience to buy something else. If tomorrow morning [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos wakes up and says, 'You know what? I heard the word "$7.99" I don't know what it means, and someone says, 'Why don't we try $7.99 for music?' Woah, guess what happens?"

Streaming music, says Iovine, is "fine" with major companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, but it's "not a great business" for standalone companies like Spotify. "They have to figure out a way to show the road to making this a real business," he said.

Iovine went on to explain that the record industry doesn't yet know "where technology is gonna go," and that things could shift at any moment with the debut of software and hardware breakthroughs. Referencing the 8-track, cassette tape, and CD, Iovine says companies need to adapt and "figure out their role."

According to Iovine, streaming services that offer content for free undermine the music industry and present a major problem that's not something television providers like Netflix have to deal with. Streaming services all offer the same general content, making it difficult to convince customers to pay when content is available elsewhere at no cost.

"So Netflix has all that original stuff and it's $11.99," he said. "Music, everybody has everything, plus the free tiers, every song is on YouTube, so how can they charge $11.99 to a consumer? I'm like, no. I'm gonna buy this and get the music for free.... It's a massive problem."

Iovine's opinion on free music is likely one of the reasons why Apple is focusing heavily on exclusive content. Apple has purchased the rights to air multiple exclusive documentaries, and the company is working on exclusive television shows much like Netflix, with the aim of drawing in customers with original content.

So far, two shows have premiered exclusively on Apple Music: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series. Apple has other television shows in the works, including an Amazing Stories reboot with Steven Spielberg and a morning talk show drama that will star Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Apple has not yet confirmed these new shows will be exclusive to Apple Music, but it's a possibility, and it's also possible Apple is planning on some kind of future service that offers both music and television content.

Jimmy Iovine's full interview, which goes into further detail on streaming services and covers The Defiant Ones, can be read over at Billboard.

Top Rated Comments

KazKam Avatar
44 months ago
TL;DR... "Our business model is correct. Our competitor's business model is dumb and isn't allowing us to charge our customers more for the same content."

Also, they really ned to keep this guy out of the public eye. He comes off super self-righteous, condescending, and I don't know exactly why, but a little creepy.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gatearray Avatar
44 months ago
This guy is just a smarmy creep.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
44 months ago
TL;DR... "Our business model is correct. Our competitor's business model is dumb and isn't allowing us to charge our customers more for the same content."
That's not at all what he said. What was actually said was that Spotify is in a dangerous place because they have nothing other than streaming to offer. If something happens tomorrow and Apple or Amazon drop the price of their streaming service to $1.00 a month, Spotify is out of business. Google, Amazon, and Apple would live on, as they have something else to offer. Spotify doesn't.

Iovine has been in the business a long time and understands it. It's a business that has seen a lot of change in recent years and throughout history. Betting everything on streaming remaining the only way is a fools bet. It'd be much smarter to place bets in more than just a single place.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mudflap Avatar
44 months ago
I still want to own my music. I don't need ALL THE MUSIC. Because 90% of it is garbage.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FightTheFuture Avatar
44 months ago
Someone seems a little jelly of Spotify lool
Did you read the article?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
44 months ago
Spotify has something Apple used to: a great user interface. (On the desktop at least. I'm a luddite and rarely use phones for anything but making calls.)
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...