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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple Music executive and recording industry mogul Jimmy Iovine recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Music Business Worldwide, reflecting upon his desire for more people to start paying for music.


The spread of free music has proliferated since the earliest days of the internet, starting with shady peer-to-peer services like Napster and LimeWire and progressing to legal, ad-supported platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Iovine thinks it's wrong, and insists artists should get paid for their work.

However, he admitted that free music is "so technically good" that many people simply aren't willing to pay up. In fact, he said if Apple Music were to offer a free tier like Spotify, it "would have 400 million people on it" and make his job a lot easier. But that's not what he nor Apple believe in.
I've put my money where my mouth is: Beats Music didn't have a free tier. Apple Music doesn't have a free tier.

I'm not just talking it; I'm walking it. That's why I aligned with Eddy and Tim and Steve. They thought the same way.

I think what's going on [with free music] is wrong. I just do.
To change that, he said "you've got to put everything into making the experience for people who are paying feel special."

Iovine believes that "people who pay for subscriptions should be advantaged," something Apple Music aims to accomplish with a lineup of original content in the works, including Carpool Karaoke: The Series, Vital Signs, Planet of the Apps, and an upcoming documentary with Harry Styles.
In the beginning of Apple Music, I was very frustrated; I tried to fight [Spotify] and all those things.

Now all we can do is make Apple Music such a special place that people want to come and that will encourage more people [to subscribe].
Apple Music has also had exclusives with major artists such as Chance the Rapper, Drake, Frank Ocean, and Taylor Swift, and Iovine said those deals will continue occasionally, but he admitted that record labels "don't seem to like it."

Iovine continues to believe that Apple Music will be "on the forefront of popular culture," a sentiment he has echoed in many interviews.

Interview: "Musicians Taught Me Everything. Without Them, I'm Working On The Docks"

Article Link: Jimmy Iovine Says Apple Music Would Have '400 Million' Listeners If It Had a Free Version Like Spotify


Jul 12, 2016
Apple obviously already knows this. But they obviously are creating a separation for those who have chosen to pay for the services and grant them with privileges.
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macrumors 68000
Oct 13, 2011
Brooklyn NY
Free no I am starting to hate that word free. Any service that has a free tier that is ad ridden I either paid for and after I got tired I stopped using them. They all start out with one ad only then a bit more ads. Then video ads start and before you know there is the same video ads over and over again after every other song.

I am so glad AM only has a paid tier and it should stay like that. Artists hate free tiers and if AM did that we will start to lose artists that will go to other platforms.


Sep 7, 2011
lol. that's cute

But even Spotify doesn't have 400m users on it's free tier. in fact, if you added up every single subscription based music streaming service, do we even hit 400million users in total?

Iovine talks a lot of Marketting BS that he can never back up.

Don't get me wrong, I think Apple could do more than 20m subscribers with a few changes,

1: More Beats channels that have focus on different genre's of music. The single "pop music" focused Beats channel doesn't really have super broad appeal.
2: Decouple from iTunes is a requirement for greater adoption as not every user wants to or can use iTunes in all locations. Apple Music NEEDS a low weight web based system for everyone else, which is one of Spotifies big bonuses over Apple Music


Sep 7, 2011
I will never use a service with Ads, I'd rather pay. (Which makes me wonder why we get ads in a movie theatre if the ticket wasn't free...)

Because the price of Movies that the theatre has to pay (they don't get them for free, they have to rent / license them) far far FAR exceeds the revenues from ticket sales. They offset this with Commercials and previews, in addition to exorbitant prices on everything else.


macrumors regular
Mar 5, 2014
Someday I'm sure Apple Music will have ads. Music artists or ads for headphones, etc, but probably not casino, antivirus software stuff.


macrumors member
Apr 3, 2007
Am I wrong in believing that free services still pay artists? Maybe not enough, but he suggests the music is practically stolen.
I wish I had enjoyed Apple Music as much as he suggests I should. Unfortunately I just switched to Google Play because it's like 5 times better at predicting songs I'll like.
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