Jimmy Iovine: Apple’s new music impresario

“Apple’s new music impresario, Jimmy Iovine, didn’t start out writing code or studying computer engineering, the usual path of a Silicon Valley mogul. Instead, his career began sweeping floors at New York City recording studios and fetching tea for John Lennon,” Ben Sisario reports for The New York Times. “But Apple is betting that Mr. Iovine’s four decades in the trenches of the recording industry, his knack for trend-spotting and his credibility with artists will help the company rejuvenate its music business nearly three years after the death of its co-founder, Steven P. Jobs.”

“‘We looked at the combination with Beats, and what we saw is a company that has incredible, rare talent,’ said Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, in a joint interview with Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre at the company’s headquarters here,” Sisario reports. “One of the most powerful figures in the music industry, Mr. Iovine, 61, brings to Apple deep celebrity connections and a devil-may-care attitude that stands in stark contrast to the businesslike manner of Mr. Cook.”

“Mr. Iovine’s relationship with Apple dates to the beginnings of iTunes, when he became a friend and crucial advocate for Mr. Jobs as he tried to persuade nervous record executives to sell their songs à la carte. ‘Jimmy was one of the first people we showed iTunes to,’ said Eddy Cue, Apple’s content chief,” Sisario reports. “As part of the deal, Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre — whose real name is Andre Young — will join Apple in senior positions reporting to Mr. Cue, and Mr. Iovine will leave his longtime post as chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M division.”

MacDailyNews Take: We have but one question:

For how long will Jimmy Iovine be content to report to Eddy Cue?

Jimmy Iovine
Jimmy Iovine
“Apple’s acquisition of Beats reflects the transformation of the music industry over the last decade, which has gone from selling CDs and downloads to fast-growing streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. Many in the recording industry say that Beats Music, the company’s new subscription streaming service, is the real growth engine in Apple’s acquisition,” Sisario reports. “On Wednesday, Mr. Iovine was, as ever, the consummate promoter, hyping the deal as a perfect union of technology, style and business know-how. ‘You go into any recording studio in the world and you see candles, lights and that Apple light from a Mac,’ Mr. Iovine said. ‘Apple is a company that understands music. They are culturally adept; most technology companies are culturally inept.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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  1. Apple’s strategic goal in the Beats acquisition is nothing less than an overhaul of the music industry itself — again — starting with remaking iTunes.

  2. Iovine is going to do more than just music with Apple. He’s going to move into an overall creative role for all of Apple’s products and directions, and he’ll influence marketing and branding as well.

  3. As a shareholder and professional musician, I am stoked! Eddy Cue is fantastic, but he cannot do everything. Iovine and Dre command quite a but of respect in Hollywood and with the major labels. He is as close to Steve Jobs as you can get in terms of his circles of influence. Tim Cook is calculated, careful and very smart. Anyone betting against what this company can do this year is ill advised. You want a short sighted has been, check out our friends and Dell and HP.

    1. “Eddy Cue is fantastic?” At what, exactly? Stammering “you know” during interviews with two too many buttons undone on his shirt? Attending Ferrari board meetings when he’s supposed to be making iTunes radio the best in the world instead of a mediocre beta quality service?

      It’s past time to give Eddy the old heave ho, Tim!

  4. Someone asked what their (Iovine and Young) titles would be at Apple. I think the response was “Titles!? We don’t need no steenking titles!”

    Somehow I don’t see Cue giving Iovine his annual performance review and spending time with him to define his career goals, no matter how they draw the lines between the boxes. This is a different breed of cats and I doubt they stand for much corporate posturing, nor will they suffer any disrespect. Will there be meetings that involve Cook, Cue and other SVPs that Iovine and Young are not part of? Probably. Will there be meetings between Cook and Iovine that Cue is not part of? Doubtful. What does all that mean? Damn little.

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