Iovine talks creating ‘hybrid’ of technology and pop culture with Apple Music

In a new interview with Billboard, Jimmy Iovine said Apple’s approach to pairing music industry veterans with technology experts to deliver a constantly evolving product like Apple Music was a far more complex process than people understand. While Spotify and YouTube have recently hired music industry power players, Iovine said simply bringing in those individuals and expecting results oversimplifies a much larger issue of finding music industry veterans who understand the technology side as well. “So people that hire record executives—I don’t know what these people can or can’t do—but Larry [Jackson] and Trent [Reznor] and Luke [Wood] were guys that I just knew, instinctively and through working with them, that they could learn this,” Iovine said of the technology side. “That’s very important. Because every time I read, ‘Oh, they’re hiring music people!’ How naïve!”
Iovine said he approached Steve Jobs in 2003 about starting a headphone line with Dr. Dre long before Beats became a business, but Jobs turned him down, saying, “Do it yourself, you can do it.” It took Iovine and his collaborators 10 years to put the new company together from the ground up, and he said an equal focus on understanding both technology and popular culture is what made Beats a success. When Apple bought the company, it brought over 250 people from the popular culture side of things, rather than simply hiring a single music industry executive, a move Iovine said has made a fundamental impact on how Apple Music was formed and will operate in the future. Changes to the way the streaming service delivers playlists—like a recent move to add algorithm-generated playlists to the existing human-curated mixes—are just one part of what’s to come. “And what we’re going to do, what we’re doing now that hasn’t been revealed yet, is we’re building the right hybrid,” Iovine said. “And we believe it’s the right hybrid, and the combination of these things together, we’ll build a music service that is technologically and culturally adept.”

Our recent App Diary feature shared some of our opinions on using the updated, “evolving” Apple Music in iOS 10.


Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.