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Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine talks joining Apple, intersection of tech and music

A new interview with Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine discusses what led the executive to join the Apple Music project and the challenging times ahead for both streaming services, and the recording industry.

Published by entertainment industry trade paper Variety, the interview discusses Iovine's past in great detail, and only touches on Apple Music's past and present, and the music industry's future.

"When I first met Steve [Jobs] and Eddy [Cue] in 2003, I said, 'These guys should have an entertainment company,'" said Iovine. "They had all these technologies and these entertainment companies, but they couldn't put it all together. Apple, of all the global tech companies, was the one that understood why artists make things."

More than 11 years later, Iovine joined Apple. He came along with the $3 billion Beats buy that brought the audio company's stable of hardware and a nascent streaming service struggling with unprofitable popularity along with it.

"We were never going to be able to scale [Beats Music], because the business model was very difficult, and still is. I didn't think I could have finished it on my own," said Iovine regarding Apple's Beats buy. "We knew exactly what we were doing, meaning that [joining Apple] is the outcome we wanted."

Streaming video as part of Apple Music

"We're trying to make the music service a cultural point of reference, and that's why we're making video," Iovine said, when asked about video offerings from Apple in the future. "We're making video for our Apple Music customers and our future customers."

Iovine shed little light on future plans, and when asked if Apple intends to take on Netflix of Amazon with unique programming, he redirected the question.

"I wouldn't put it that way. When I read that, or I read that we're taking on whomever, I say no," Iovine retorted. "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."

Dr. Dre's partnership with Iovine extends beyond Beats. The pair have known each other for years, and the migration to Apple Music was a natural progression.

"Dre's purpose in life is to come up with something that moves the needle. He's done that really seriously a bunch of times. And now he's experimenting with video," Iovine said of the "Vital Signs" semi-biographical series set to appear on Apple Music at some point. "And what he does will be unique, and he will get there. My responsibility to Apple and to him is to put him in that position where he can."

The future of music

"Right now there's a lot of fear in the record business, and the corporations should make it so the labels can relax a bit and be more adventurous," suggested Iovine. "When the businesses are leveling out or going down, and you're still asking for growth, you don't have to be a mathematician to know what happens."

"Big tech companies are buying up entertainment companies," Iovine claims. "But someone at these companies has got to speak both languages, or it's never going to work."