Jimmy Iovine discusses his attempts to sway Steve Jobs on a subscription music service

Fri, Jan 11, 2013


Steve Jobs was never a fan of music subscriptions, often saying that consumers want to own their music, not rent it and have it disappear once they stop paying periodic fees.

Nevertheless, Beats founder and famed music producer Jimmy Iovine recently discussed his efforts to sway Jobs to hop on board the music subscription bandwagon. In an interview with All Things D, Iovine intimated that Jobs wasn’t as adamantly opposed to such a dynamic as he appeared to be in public, but rather came to a head with record execs over monetary issues.

In 2002, 2003, Doug [Morris, former head of Universal Music] 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.

So can Iovine make music subscriptions happen? The article attempts to portray Iovine as the man with the proper credentials to the extent that he was responsible for bringing expensive headphones to the mass market.

Iovine’s pitch: It took guys who know music and culture to sell high-end headphones to the mainstream. And it’s going to take the same skill set for music subscriptions, which have been around for about a decade but are only now getting some traction.

And Iovine sure knows music. He has produced albums for U2, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and more. He also helped established Interscope Records way back in 1990 and is the man hailed as having helped discover Eminem.

via All Things D



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