Beats reportedly talking to Apple about Daisy music service; picks up $60M in new funding

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 12:30pm

Apple is reportedly in talks with Beats Electronics on a possible music streaming service partnership.

Sources say Apple CEO Tim Cook and Internet products chief Eddy Cue met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine to learn more about the Beats' upcoming "Daisy" streaming music service.

Relatedly, Beats announced yesterday $60 million in new funding for the project from an investment group that includes Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, to bankroll the service's planned late-2013 launch.

It was early last September when word first leaked that Apple was planning to launch its own customizable streaming music service (RAIN coverage here) -- but on that was more of an Internet radio/Pandora competitor.

Beats is the Dr. Dre/Iovine company that makes the popular Beats headphones, and owns music subscription service MOG (which is being rebuilt as "Daisy"). At CES in January, Iovine told AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka he'd long been trying to push the late Apple founder Steve Jobs towards creating a streaming music subscription service (see RAIN coverage here). Also at CES, Iovine and his company named former Yahoo! Music and Topspin CEO Ian Rogers (RAIN coverage here) CEO of Daisy. More on Daisy in RAIN here.

Read more about Apple and Beats from here and Reuters here.

Beats chief Iovine says he was pushing Steve Jobs for an Apple streaming service

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 12:25pm

Beats Electronics CEO (and Universal Music exec and record industry legend) Jimmy Iovine thinks that when it comes to creating a music service that fans will embrace, the tech guys don't stand a chance.

"I was shocked at how culturally inept most consumer electronics companies are... You can build Facebook, you can build YouTube, you can build Twitter — you can be a tech company and do that," he told AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka at CES. "Subscription [music] needs a programmer. It needs culture. And tech guys can’t do that. They don’t even know who to hire. They’re utilities."

Obviously, Iovine has faith that his company, with "guys who know music and culture" like himself, Dr. Dre, and Trent Reznor at the helm, is far more suited to creating the killer streaming music experience.

"[Other music subscription] companies, these services, all lack curation... There’s no curation. That’s what we did as a record label, we curated," he said. "We are heavy on curation, and we believe it’s a combination of human and math... Right now, somebody’s giving you 12 million songs, and you give them your credit card, and they tell you 'good luck.' You need to have some kind of help. I’m going to offer you a guide... a trusted voice, and it’s going to be really good."

Interestingly, Iovine says he'd long been trying to push the late Apple founder Steve Jobs towards creating a streaming music subscription service.

"He wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it... He didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually... I think in the end Steve was feeling it, but the economics... he wanted to pay the labels [for subscriptions], but [the fees were] not going to be acceptable to them."

At CES, Iovine and his company named former Yahoo! Music and Topspin CEO Ian Rogers (RAIN coverage here) CEO of Beats' music subscription service, codenamed "Daisy" (which will likely be a repurposed MOG, which Beats owns). More on Daisy in RAIN here.

Read the AllThingsDigital interview with Beats' Iovine here.

New Beats exec is former Yahoo! Music chief

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:10am

Beats Electronics has named Ian Rogers as CEO of its new music project "Daisy." Rogers will also become part of the leadership of Beats-owned music subscription service MOG.

We reported on Beats' Daisy project in RAIN here.

Rogers has been CEO of Topspin Media (a tech provider of retail and marketing software for musicians and other content creators) since 2008, after a stint as general manger of Yahoo! Music (including, at the time, Yahoo's online radio service).

Billboard reports, "Daisy... is Beats' revamping of the former MOG service, which Beats acquired last year. The service is set to launch in late 2013 as a stand-alone company under the Beats Electronics umbrella." Daisy's chief creative officer is Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor.

Read more in Billboard here. and in AllThingsDigital here.

Yahoo! Music reportedly "dismantled" by recent lay-offs

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 11:40am

You've likely heard that Yahoo! recently laid off 2,000 of its employees. Digital Music News reports that inside sources say Yahoo! Music took a pretty significant share of the blow.

Among the reported casualties: Head of Programming & Artist/Label Relations John Lenac (as well as at least some of his staff) and Director of Programming Gina Juliano.

(Yahoo! Music has) "been getting ripped apart," one source inside Yahoo! reportedly told the news source.

Though there's still significant traffic to Yahoo! Music (DMN cites comScore giving it 6 million monthly uniques among 18-34s), Digital Music News faults its generalist, media-portal approach for its failure.

Yahoo! Music alumi include Ian Rogers (now at TopSpin Media), Jay Frank (author and DigSin owner), and David Goldberg (Benchmark Capital, now at SurveyMonkey), and Jeff Bronikowski (AOL Music, then The Echo Nest). Yahoo! Music's online-only radio streams (formerly Goldberg's company's, LaunchCast) were taken over by CBS Radio in 2008 (see RAIN here). founder Mark Cuban sold his aggregation of broadcast radio streams to Yahoo! in 1999 for a reported $5.7 billion. Cuban revealed to RAIN (here) that in the early days of webcasting, Yahoo! voluntarily entered into a royalty deal with the RIAA based on a high, flat rate -- as opposed to a percentage of revenue. This single deal was later used by the Copyright Arbitraton Royalty Board as the free-market basis upon which it determined statutory royalty rates that would almost certainly have quashed the young industry (had relief measures not later been passed).

Read more in Digital Music News here.

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