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

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Issue Date: 
Jan 16 2013 - 12:25pm

From Issue:

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.

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