With the purchase of Beats Electronics and the subsequent launch of Apple Music, Jimmy Iovine quickly became Apple’s best hope for saving the music industry. But in a new interview, the Beats co-founder says it’s just not cool to be into music anymore.
To help ignite the scene, Iovine and Dre created an Academy for Arts Technology and the Business of Innovation at USC, and while the music and tech mogul says the program has already become ultra-competitive to get into, it might not be enough to change young people’s minds from wanting to become the next Larry Page instead of the next Jimmy Page.
“If you tell a kid, ‘You’ve got to pick music or Instagram,’ they’re not picking music,” Iovine told Wired. “There was a time when, for anybody between the ages of 15 and 25, music was one, two, and three. It’s not anymore.”
In the wide-ranging interview that discusses everything from how he and Dre decided to create Beats Electronics one fateful day at the beach to how Iovine knew “I Can’t Feel My Face” was the perfect song to debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference, the former Interscope CEO says there aren’t enough people who get engineering and music.
Steve Jobs, he says, was one of the exceptions.
“People say, ‘Oh, I like music.’ No kidding,” says Iovine. “You also like spaghetti and meatballs, but you’re not a chef. Just because you like something, that doesn’t mean that you have a feel for it. Steve did. He understood what popular culture was, and how to move it.”
Iovine revealed that he views the program he and Dre created at USC as more important than anything he’s doing at Apple right now. After watching the music industry get pounded and seeing revenue shrink from $38 billion to just $15 billion in the last 15 years, Iovine worries that things will only get worse.
Dre confirms Iovine’s fears that the next Prince might get really good at something else instead of going into music. Even though the duo have created a new platform to help artists get exposed (Apple Connect), it may be too late to get the next generation tuned into the music scene.
“I don’t feel like there’s exciting stuff happening now,” Dre says. “A lot of the real artists are not motivated to go into the studio. They have real jobs.”