How Jimmy Iovine plans to take Apple Music to new heights

“When you first sit down with Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine in the living room of his Holmby Hills home, he asks if you want tea,” Andrew Barker reports for Variety. “It seems like an automatic sort of pleasantry, but several minutes later he asks again. On the third refusal, he takes matters into his own hands and picks up his house phone, saying, ‘Look, I’m just gonna get you a tea anyway.’ A housekeeper brings the two cups, and he looks on, studying your reaction.”

“After a few sips, he stops to explain the recipe,” Barker reports. “‘It’s basically steamed almond milk, vanilla, and then green tea we get from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf,’ he says. ‘But then we took the recipe and kinda f–-ked with it a little bit. It’s pretty good, huh?'”

“The tea is, in fact, pretty good, and Iovine’s enthusiasm for it is instructive. A green tea latte is not a new innovation, but neither is a record company, a pair of headphones, a Bruce Springsteen album, nor a music streaming site,” Barker reports. “But whatever the subject, Iovine almost always manages to find some connective thread back to Apple Music and his vision for turning the company into one that holistically blends the fundamentally entwined yet oft incompatible worlds of Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry.”

Apple's Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre., and Eddy Cue (left to right)
Apple’s Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre., and Eddy Cue (left to right)

“In 2016, Apple Music doubled its subscriber base from 10 million to 20 million users, each paying a base fee of $10 per month,” Barker reports. “Five of the albums to reach No. 1 on the weekly Billboard album chart last year debuted exclusively on Apple Music, including the year’s best-seller, Drake’s ‘Views,’ which topped the chart for 13 weeks.”

“A fierce proponent of the paid subscription model for streaming, Iovine faults changes in chart methodology that give the same weight to all streams — paid and free — in tallying the top albums and singles. ‘A free stream shouldn’t be weighted the same as a paid stream — I don’t think there’s a sane person in the world, other than a promotion man, who would advocate that,’ he says. ‘And that is one of the many things that someone has to fix in order for the whole thing to move forward,'” Barker reports. “He continues: ‘A chart that weighs some ad-supported streams the same as a pay stream …encourages artists to promote free tiers to have a No. 1 record. That’s great for the tech companies, but not for artists.'”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tell us more about that tea.

BTW, it’s not 20 million subscribers paying $10 ($9.99) per month. Many, like most of us here at MDN, are paying $14.99/month for up to six people (that’s as little as $2.50 per subscriber) or are students paying $4.99/month.

As we wrote last February on the occasion of Apple Music surpassing 11 million paying members:

Apple Music launched in over 100 countries. That’s an average of fewer than 110,000 subscribers per country since last June. Maybe there just aren’t that many true music lovers out there? It seems like most people are happy enough to be music dabblers for the price of free, even among well-heeled Apple users.

Apple Music surpasses 20 million paid members 17 months after launch – December 6, 2016
Apple offers students half-price $4.99 Apple Music subscriptions starting today – May 6, 2016


    1. That’s all part of the plan. By abandoning the formerly best music collection management software on the Mac and kludging up the iOS app to make playlist management a pain in the ass, Iovine intends to make people give up on curating their own music and subscribe to his service instead. Not that iTunes music purchase was ever as good as it could have been (no ALAC option, poor metadata completion, horrible accuracy in music dates and original release identification), but now services are dumbed down to the point where nobody has a prayer of expanding his music knowledge.

      The sheeple think that they have a choice, until they realize that their corporate overlords decide what choices they have based on how much monthly cost can be scammed from the consumer for music that he already bought once on LP, again on cassette, and finally on CD or SACD or MPx download. Subscribe to any subscription service and you’ll find the music more constraining and repetitive, not less. Forget about ever hearing the awesome deep cut on albums of years past. Apple Music and its ilk primarily push corporate produced singles.

      Note: people didn’t complain in the past for buying music on new formats because each new format clearly offered advantages. The only advantage of stepping down to the quality of Apple Music is for Apple. Artists lose, and the consumer loses.

      My proposal: Apple needs to look to its primary media competitor for inspiration. Amazon got IMDB right. You can look up anything about Hollywood and discover everything about any video ever produced there. You can learn about writers and directors, not just the stars. Buying videos is still difficult due to copyright issues, but Amazon is blazing the trail there too. In some cases, renting a video download or buying the new BluRay or buying the used DVD is a one click operation. Despite what should have been years of practice, however, Apple is useless for learning about the connections in the music world. Apple appears to have no database, they outsourced that to Gracenote. But then Apple is left with only superficial metadata and a horrible search function. Good luck attempting to follow the career of any contemporary composer. Apple’s metadata doesn’t have that most of the time. Want to know what bands guitarist Johnny Marr played in over the years? Want to see a list of bands that used Ted Templeman as producer? Good luck finding out the answer and then actually purchasing more than a tiny fraction of it on Apple Music or iTunes.

      Apple is now the Big Brother it lampooned in 1984. Apple no longer wants to give you personal computing or knowledge. They want you subscribed to iCloud and will do anything possible to force you to accept it.

    1. How do you know Beats paid for itself? You have to compare profits, not gross income, to assess return on investment. Apple hasn’t been sharing that data. For all you and I know, Beats could still be a money pit.

  1. The beats deal created a cash cow for Apple which Doubled its subscriber base and is basically in a mich better position than spotofy to take over, which it will, spotify’s lead and cistomers on e Apple’s entire plan comes together. That plus Beat’s headphone bisiness is brongng in more than the 1.2 billion (?) annual sales it did prior to the Apple pirchase which was about 3.2 billion. Go do your own homework instead of being a parasitic information leach that asks to be spoon fed and maybe you’ll see that the true value of knowledge

    1. The beats deal created a cash cow for Apple which Doubled its subscriber base (10m-20m) and is basically in a much better position than Spotify to take over, which it will, Spotify’s lead and customers, once Apple’s entire plan comes together and is evident.

      That plus Beat’s headphone business is bringing in more than the 1.2 billion (?) annual sales it did prior to the Apple purchase which was about 3.2 billion. Go do your own homework instead of being a parasitic information leach that asks to be spoon fed and maybe you’ll see that the true value of knowledge.

  2. ha ha ha ha… “How Jimmy Iovine plans to take Apple Music to new heights” is the funniest headline I have read in recent times… seriously Apple getting into the streaming business was un necessary they going out and buying the beats nonsense and touting it as the next big thing stupid. They could have reached where they are by just sticking to their Apple music and iTunes match combo in music streaming and they would have done just fine.

    But the headline is still cracking me up, just tell me how again. lmao..

  3. “We’re trying to make the music service a cultural point of reference”. Oh my, how impressive, how bold and shiny. How about fixing the mess music app on iOS have become? And macOS version after that? Jimmy should be happy he still has the job.

  4. Iovine’s attitude is precisely what is wrong with Apple today. He doesn’t approach his guest with an offer for the beverage of the guests’ choice, Iovine pushes his recipe at him, and expects the guest to love it.

    That is not what I want in music. I will choose and curate my own music. If Iovine thinks everyone loves what he loves, then he is just another arrogant executive completely out of touch with the customers. Long term, this is a bad way to run Apple’s music distribution business. No wonder iTunes has been degrading into a pushy Apple pop store rather than getting better for customer use.

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