Iovine: Apple’s original content strategy ‘has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing’

In an interview with Variety, Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine discussed his vision for building Apple’s streaming music service into a blending of “the worlds of Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry,” sharing some passing insights on Apple’s aims for its much-rumored original content strategy and how he believes streaming can be done “right.” In speaking to Apple’s move into original video content, Iovine made it clear that the company’s plans are focused entirely on material that fits in with and enhances the Apple Music experience in order to “make the music service a cultural point of reference” and that it’s not in any way about competing with Netflix.

To me it’s all one thing. It’s Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio. … It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing.

Iovine also revealed that he knew from the start that his original Beats Music service was not something that they ever expected to be able to scale to a large subscriber base on their own, and that joining Apple was basically the outcome they were looking for when they built the service. Despite heavy consolidation and turnover in the music streaming space, however, Iovine makes it clear that he doesn’t see it as a “winner-take-all” proposition, and that there’s room for multiple players “if streaming is done right.” Iovine explains “right” by pointing out that each service needs to be “culturally different” so that there’s something to offer that builds on top of the catalog of music to give the service a personality and feel. A key differentiator for Apple Music out of the gate was Beats 1, and clearly Apple’s move into original video content for Apple Music subscribers is expected to allow them to keep building Apple Music into its own distinct music culture. Iovine also points out that as a streaming service, Apple Music is able to take more risks than mainstream radio can, providing periodic shows from established names while also improving exposure for emerging artists. Asked about Apple Music’s exclusive releases, Iovine suggests that they’re not at all central to what Apple is doing (“We did ‘em. We’ll do some more.”), and that in many ways they’re still just experimenting.

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