More than a year after leaving Apple, Jimmy Iovine, who co-created the Apple Music streaming platform, has spoken to The New York Times about the streaming industry.
The music heavyweight and record producer has said that each streaming service, including Spotify and Apple Music, will face the same difficulties in the years and decades that follow.
Speaking of the launch of Apple Music, Jimmy said: “It’s all a response to Napster.
“I saw how powerful that technology was, and I realized we had to switch gears. The record companies were not going to exist without tech.
“Why I got into the music business originally was to be associated with things that were cool.
“And I realized that the record business at that moment, the way it was responding to Napster, was not cool.”
Speaking of his time working with Steve Jobs, Jimmy said: “Steve Jobs used to sit with me at this Greek restaurant and draw out what I needed to do to make hardware.
“He’d say, ‘Here’s distribution, here’s manufacturing,’ and he’d be drawing on this paper with a Sharpie. And I’d go, ‘Oh, [expletive].’”
He also discussed the challenges he faced moving from record producing to working on the launch of Apple Music, admitting that the “two sides don’t speak the same language.”
“Content doesn’t know what technology is building. And engineers are just going by the way they see a problem. The streaming business has a problem on the horizon, and so does the music business. That doesn’t mean they can’t figure it out.”
One of the biggest problems Jimmy says companies like Apple Music and Spotify will face in the years ahead is scaling and profitability.
“It doesn’t scale. At Netflix, the more subscribers you have, the less your costs are. In streaming music, the costs follow you.
“And the streaming music services are utilities — they’re all the same. Look at what’s working in video. Disney has nothing but original stuff.
“Netflix has tons of original stuff. But the music streaming services are all the same, and that’s a problem.”
But there are benefits to music streaming, particularly for fans and artists, he added. “The artists now have something they’ve never had before, which is a massive, direct communication with their audience — from their house, their bed, their car, whatever.
“And because of that, everybody wants them. Spotify wants them, Apple Music wants them, Coke wants them, Pepsi wants them.”
“So hail to the artists, because in the end, they’re winning,” he told The New York Times.
“It isn’t their problem to figure out how the streaming company and the record company are going to make more money. It’s the streaming company and the record company’s problem to figure out how to become more valuable to that artist.”
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