Apple Music has 'hundreds' working on curation, Jimmy Iovine says

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Curated content will be how Apple Music sets itself apart from numerous rivals in the streaming music market, Jimmy Iovine said in a new interview published on Thursday.

"Music deserves elegance and the distribution right now is not great," he told the London Evening Standard, referring to competing services as "utilities" that are "sterile, programmed by algorithms and numbing." To help deliver curated content, Apple hired "hundreds" of people, Iovine said.

That included Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe, recruited from the BBC. Iovine explained that while it was difficult to convince Lowe to move from London to Los Angeles, he recognized Lowe's value. The DJ's accomplishments with Beats 1 in 19 weeks "shouldn't have been possible," Iovine added.

The executive also remarked that he actually sees other kinds of entertainment as Apple Music's main competition, not streaming rivals like Spotify, Rdio, or Tidal.

Looking back on Apple's reaction to an open letter by Taylor Swift, asking the company to pay rights holders for Apple Music trial streaming, Iovine said that he received a call from Apple Internet chief Eddy Cue, who allegedly described the letter as a "drag." Initially, Iovine suggested that there might be something Swift didn't understand. Cue prompted Iovine to call Scott Borchetta, the head of Swift's record label.

"I called Scott, I called Eddy back, Eddy and Tim [Cook, Apple CEO] called me back and we said, 'Hey, you know what, we want this system to be right and we want artists to be comfortable, let's do it'."

Had Apple not agreed to make the changes proposed by Swift and others, labels, writers, and musicians would not have been paid for the first three months of the service, and lost out on substantial amounts of income from future subscribers.