In 2014 Apple bought Beats Electronics from Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Mr. Iovine then went to Apple until he retired in 2018. In a new interview he says he’s worried about the future of the music industry (via NYT).
Music and Tech
Essentially, Mr. Iovine remarks that streaming music services like Apple Music are “utilities.” Video services like Netflix have original content, but music services have all the same content.
Some companies can sign exclusive deals with artists, but eventually their content makes its way to the other platforms. Because of the uniformity, the main competitive feature becomes price. That’s good for tech companies but not for music companies.
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. And people that make terrible second records are still famous and still have online audiences. The power of celebrity, this obsession with Instagram — it’s driven by personality and lifestyle.
He also emphasizes that musicians should focus on quality over quantity. The entire interview is worth a read.