Rumors have been saying that Apple is gearing up to launch an iTunes music subscription service in 2013. The product has clearly been years in the making, and Steve Jobs was apparently being pitched the idea a decade ago.
Jimmy Iovine is the CEO of Beats, Dr. Dre’s bumpin headphone line. Iovine has a long history in the music industry, and he previously ran Interscope records. Back in the early days of iTunes, Iovine visited Apple to pitch his idea for a Spotify-like music subscription to Steve Jobs.
While speaking with AllThingsD, Iovine shared the story of visiting Cupertino with the then-Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris:
In 2002, 2003, Doug asked me to go up to Apple and see Steve. So I met him and we hit it off right away. We were really close. We did some great marketing stuff together: 50 Cent, Bono, Jagger, stuff for the iPod – we did a lot of stuff together.
But I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And 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 was there, not there … he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually.
I don’t know what [Apple media head] Eddy Cue would say – I’m seeing him soon – but 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.
Cue is in charge of all the iTunes stuff now, and the music industry is quite different than it was 10 years ago. Word on the street is that negotiations between Apple and the labels have been quite… difficult. The most interesting part of Iovine’s interview is that he is meeting with Cue “soon.”