The brains behind Apple Music share some inside stories.
This week, Billboard magazine turns its focus to Apple Music, the well-known music streaming service. Despite their paid subscriber numbers currently dwarfed by what their competitor Spotify is bringing in, Jimmy Iovine is confident that Apple Music is only beginning to scratch the surface of its potential. The music business veteran first entered the fray with Apple after the company acquired Beats by Dre, the popular headphone maker that he had a hand in creating with the eponymous rapper/producer. These days, Iovine seems to be a man on a mission to improve on streaming's existing model and making what is an already successful venture that much more powerful in the music consumption marketplace.
“I don’t believe that what exists right now is enough," he said. “I believe we’re in the right place, we have the right people and the right attitude to not settle for what exists right now.” But ultimately? “Just because we’re adding millions of subscribers and the old catalog numbers are going up, that’s not the trick. That’s just not going to hold.” Apple Music is already showing big gains and has had a huge impact on the industry as a result, now boasting over 30 million paying subscribers and injecting the U.S. recorded-music business with a 17 percent revenue spike in the first half of 2017 versus the same period a year ago. Goldman Sachs also published a report in August predicting that subscription streaming would drive the global record business to be worth an estimated $41 billion by 2030. So much for not making money off music.
To spearhead the charge into the future of Apple Music, Iovine is turning to Zane Lowe, creative director and anchor of the service's Beats 1 radio station, and Larry Jackson, a former record exec who is now their head of content. "We need to put context and stories around music," says Lowe. "The song itself is obviously the primary passion point -- it’s a key that opens the door. But what’s inside the room that is going to make a fan a super fan? Music has become quicker, faster, and there’s more of it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't create a story around something that is beautiful and that lives and breathes." Jackson also spoke about the difference between artists relying on paid streaming services versus ones that give the material away for free by saying, "Our ideology, which Drake happened to agree with, is that this music has value. A lot of hip-hop artists’ music used to come out through free platforms [for mixtape downloads and streaming]." He thinks Apple Music will be able to keep up with the pace at which music is made now, while also getting artists paid. "We said, 'Hey, we’re building this completely new ecosystem where it’s not going to be free. It’s behind a paywall. And we promote it.' That’s why."
Check out the full long-form interview piece here and peep the cover below.