Bob Lefsetz on Apple Music: What team is Jimmy Iovine on?

“Jimmy Iovine. Street smart but uneducated. Can he not read a teleprompter or just not read? Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave. Steve rehearsed, had to get it perfect. Jimmy looks like he just rolled out of bed. A bad day for music, a great day for tech,” Bob Lefsetz writes for The Lefsetz Letter. “Historically the music business has been built on relationships and intimidation. I won’t say they’re irrelevant in tech, but they’re barely in the back seat. Furthermore, who cares about record labels getting paid? Did you see that ‘Rolling Stone’ graph charting rising ticket prices? They’ve even outpaced the price of a college education! You’ve got to take a loan out to go to the show and the labels and artists can’t stop bitching about getting paid. Ends up looking like greed, it only alienates the paying public.”

“Give Jimmy credit, he’s trying to solve the music business’s problems. Although you wonder what team he’s on,” Lefsetz writes. “But it’s a walled garden. That certainly didn’t work at Beats Music. Furthermore, curated playlists are better than algorithms but I’m still not sure I care about almost all of them. The Beats Music playlists were a five minute diversion, I’m not sure they’ll be all that important here. We don’t want our machines to tell us what to listen to but our friends. Social media is more important than Jimmy’s team of music experts. Because we don’t know who they are and why should we trust them?”

“Having said all that… putting all music features in one place is a good idea. But if the Connect elements are behind the paywall… they’re a nonstarter,” Lefsetz writes. “And they only work if Apple gains 60%+ market share, otherwise we still need to find this information elsewhere, so Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Wikipedia are still important. Is Connect the new Ping? Maybe…”

Tons more about all of the WWDC announcements, from Bill Hader (hated it) to Beats 1 (good idea), in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ignore Lefsetz’s non-music impressions. He just doesn’t get much of it (for one example, iOS 9’s Proactive is going to be used by everybody because it just happens; users don’t have to do anything). But, with music, he’s onto something. We’ve always had the inkling that Steve Jobs understood exactly what Jimmy Iovine was, but that, perhaps, Jimmy bamboozled Tim Cook with bullshit. $3 billion for Beats was a wild overpayment for shitty headhones and a music service with no subscribers (not that Apple couldn’t afford it 50 times over, thanks in large part to Cook himself, BTW). But, Lefsetz’s point of having a music industry insider build a music service isn’t really the Apple way, as any Apple University grad should be able to tell you.

We didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build. – Steve Jobs

That said, Apple Music will build tremendous momentum during its long, three-month free trial period (which, importantly, automatically segues to paying accounts*, don’t forget.) The Connect and/or Beats 1 features can fail miserably and Apple Music can still be a raging success.

The fact is that you cannot have a music service of any kind without a music industry. Apple Music is trying to save the music industry and also satisfy music lovers. It’s a tall, sometimes conflicting order, but we think Apple Music is priced right and offers members more than enough to accomplish both of its goals.

And, it’s not a “walled garden.” Apple Music will work on iOS, OS X, Windows, and even some version(s) of Android (this fall). The following Apple Music features do not require a membership and are accessible simply by being signed in with your free Apple ID:

• View artist feed on Connect
• Follow artists on Connect
• Listen to Beats 1 radio station
• Listen to Apple Music radio stations

Apple Music members get those four features above, plus:

• Play and save Connect content
• Like Connect content or radio songs
• Enjoy unlimited listening from the Apple Music library
• Apple Music content to your library
• Save for offline listening
• Get expert music recommendations

*At the end of the trial period, the Apple Music membership will automatically renew and payment method will be charged on a monthly basis until auto-renewal is turned off in account settings.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Art V.” for the heads up.]


Apple Music’s huge advantage over Spotify – June 9, 2015
Apple Music is a major mess and it won’t beat Spotify or something – June 9, 2015
When Apple Music arrives, what happens to iTunes Match? – June 9, 2015
What Apple Music says about how Apple views musicians – June 8, 2015
Apple’s revolutionary Apple Music just might prove its skeptics wrong – June 8, 2015
Apple unveils revolutionary Apple Music service – June 8, 2015


    1. Like mostI will be making up my own mind about Apple Music later this month. But that presentation was embarrassing. Iovine was struggling to read the script, and is so detached from Apple that he didn’t know why the audience chuckled when he said “Apple Music is three things…”, an obvious echo of Jobs 2007 iPhone presentation. Iovine was mystified, looking over his shoulder to see what people were laughing at. I don’t know if the DJs on Beats 1 radio have anything in common with my musical taste. And while I only occasionally listen to country-western, I can’t imagine the three DJs we met working any of that into their mix. I like the overall look of the new Music app, how this radio and curation will work to feed me stuff I *know* I like while it exposes me to new or unknown music remains to be seen. Hoping for the best.

  1. “Jimmy Iovine. Street smart but uneducated. Can he not read a teleprompter or just not read?”

    I was thinking the same thing. I have no idea who this guy is or why he is relevant.

    He seems very un”Apple” and out of place.

    1. Tim Cook has no idea what is cool, so he turns on the tv and thinks whats cool is any crowd the follows the kardashians and what ever Black sports stars are using for headphones.

      In the end he can prove everyone wrong if people keep buying apple products and not android. Just heard that lebron james bought a whole bunch of players apple watches, so cook might get lucky

    2. Completely Agree!

      The only important thing that Jimmy said that I really agree with is that a computer algorithm is never going to grasp the emotional element of the music, thus will not generate a great play list for me. While I may agree, the DJs mentioned so far are probably even less likely to produce a play list I will love. I will be curious to see if they are able to match the taste of Mr Que – mix in a some Cuban music for everyone along with the Hip Hop and Rap. Will I be able to get a mix of Bluegrass, Ragae, Old Time, Folk, Delta Blues, Rag Time, Clasical Guitar, Country, Cajun, Stomp, and World music with the flow of Pop?

      1. Pandora is actually very listenable if you take the time to tell it when you get a song that doesn’t fit. I HATE radio in part because it’s programmed in part by the deals the company has with the labels. These playlists are going to be pay for play or favors to friends. What a joke.

  2. I did think Iovine thought he was too cool for the room and him having the same presentation discipline as the Apple regulars was decidedly uncool. And Drake well…

    Other than that I became more intrigued by the service than when I was originally thinking it wasn’t for me.

    1. That is Iovine no doubt thought having the same presentation discipline as the Apple regulars was decidedly uncool. Being focused and creating excitement is actually the coolest, not a sloppy unrehearsed demeanor.

    1. Au contraire..Lefsetz hits the nail on the head. Iovine is slick snake-oil peddler desperately trying to insulate his dying record industry world from the imminent collapse. His whole charge as record mogul is to preserve the music industry business model and eliminate what he deems ‘free music’ through streaming..which is total BS because the streaming companies PAY the labels PLENTY. Apple really misses S Jobs in this area..Cooke wouldn’t know cool or relevant if it bit him on a$$..

  3. Not impressed with the Music bit, at all.

    It is now easy to understand Jimmy Iovine’s unusual last name. He really likes the word “I”. Not a good trait for an Apple “team” player!

  4. Bob Lefsetz doesn’t know my friends. They don’t know shit about music. At least the kind I listen to.

    I’ve been mostly happy with iTunes Radio (though I don’t know anything about the other services available). I’ve discovered a lot of music that I wouldn’t have by listening to the radio, but I don’t know if that means I’ll pay $10/month.

  5. Questions:
    1-Will Crapple Music by Beats replace iTunes or just be another unwanted app on iOS that we cannot delete?
    2-If Crapple Music by Beats replaces iTunes what app will now handle TV and Movie content?
    3-Can we delete or hide Crapple Music from our iOS devices?
    4-What happens to iTunes Match in light of the Crapple Music by Beats?
    5-What happens to our purchased content and why in the name of gawd would anyone want to rent what one already owns.

    The problem with the music business is that non-musicians run the show- starting with the rap/hip-hop obsessed. Self styled arbiters are why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland with inductions done in New Yawk. Last time I checked, Sun Studios is located at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. These artists recorded in Memphis: Johnny Cash, BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner, The Box Tops, Neil Diamond, Dusty Spingfield, B.J Thomas, Joe Tex, Aretha Franklin, Booker T & The MGs, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, The Bar-Kays, Albert King, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Ace, U2 , Bob Seeger, The Eagles and many more. Yet the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland.

    Compelling content will generate sales- bullshit may have a day in the sun, but today’s pop hit more often ends up on “Where Are They Now” Vanilla Ice Edition.

    Jimmy Bovine may have once have had a hot hand, but maybe he was just stupid lucky. He looked like a cross between a burnt out TV Evangelist and a Snake Oil Salesman (not much difference) out there.

    Music, Apple and customers deserve much better.

  6. The Music presentation was embarrassing for Apple. Iovine and Cue should never be on an Apple presentation stage again.

    When the rumored started Apple was going to buy Beats – it made NO sense. still doesn’t. Getting Iovine and Dre in the deal was the biggest problem – why would Apple want them as part of Apple? Iovine is a longtime record weasel with the likability of one too. And Dre and his rep? Neither represent Apple brand at all. And IMO are a blotch on it. Don’t expect to see much of Iovine on behalf of Apple in public soon after yesterday. Big mistake Cook.

    Apple Music is going to have a hard time of it. Streaming is a hard sell and I’m not sure it is music’s answer. First off, most music is so bad it’s not worth paying for too listen. Why Youtube is used.

    1. I like Tim Cook. But the Beats purchase was not only a waste, but embarrassing.

      I get it, Apple was trying to buy street cred. Iovine and Dre both personally came out of the deal with a boat load of money for a headphone company and a failing streaming company.

      But there is nothing Beats brought to the table that is unique or proprietary.

    2. Apple bought Beats for Jimmy Iovine, a music insider who possibly has the best shot at herding the cats of the music industry. Dre was excess baggage.

      Steve Jobs had the force of will to convince the music industry he could save them, and he did; however, greed is a mighty motivator, and they are all now convinced they can do better alone rather than with Apple taking a chunk of their pie. Nobody has the same charisma to get them to fall back in line; Apple bet Iovine could. Whether he can live up to that expectation is questionable, especially after his incoherence on stage.

      The music industry is a mess, and practically impossible to reconcile all parties desires. Consumers want free access to everything without advertisement on their schedule. Music executives want to bleed the turnip every time someone listens to a song (if four are in the car, four times the price!). Newcomers want to be heard. Big name performers don’t want the newcomers to be heard. Service providers want to maximize their cut.

      Of the various services, I have found Beats to be the most interesting: some cultivation of playlists does seem to make it slightly better. I have hopes for Music, but I suspect it will not fare well against “free” services. Most people simply are not passionate enough to pay for something similar to what can be had for free.

      I would have liked for Apple to not appear so greedy: $9.99 could have been one person or six! Apple could benefit from the perception that they want to make our lives better rather than seeing how much profit can be made.

      1. Maybe Apple bought Beats for Iovine and maybe Apple believes Iovine can hurd the cats.

        But $3 billion for one guy. Because, let’s face it, there is nothing technological or unique that Beats brings that Apple could not have created for a far less money.

        Personally, I don’t know who Iovine is nor what he has done or what he can do. Seeing him and hearing him on stage left me wondering why he was up there.

        1. Iovine was there to talk to the music industry. You now how you found the music part incoherent? Well that’s how the music industry and musicians would have found the non music part of the presentation. The whole rehearsed, tech heavy, geeky and rigid thing is anathema to musicians. They want emotional, creative, free flowing and passionate to engage with a service or product. That’s what the music presentation was all about, the tech industry reaction is exactly what they were after 😜

  7. Beats made more profit than Pandora, Spotify, and Netflix combined, still does yet many people still actually believe Apple should buy one of those loser companies out. Beats makes money get over it.

  8. A Cook terdy

    • View artist feed on Connect
    • Follow artists on Connect
    • Listen to Beats 1 radio station
    • Listen to Apple Music radio stations

    Apple Music members get those four features above, plus:

    • Play and save Connect content
    Not worth it, nothing new
    • Like Connect content or radio songs
    Who cares
    • Enjoy unlimited listening from the Apple Music library
    Not worth it
    • Apple Music content to your library
    Not worth it
    • Save for offline listening
    Not worth it
    • Get expert music recommendations

    1. Streaming services are for lazy consumers that need to be force fed some noise to further distract them from their already distracted lives. Nobody who truly loves music rents it or lets someone else cue up all of your playlists for you.

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