Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Break Ground on Their New USC Academy Opening in 2019

Apple employees Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre this week broke ground on The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, a new academy named after the two men opening at the University of Southern California in 2019 (via USC News). The academy will focus on four areas of study: art and design; engineering and computer science; business and venture management; and communication.

The origins of the academy date back to 2013, when Iovine and Dr. Dre donated $70 million to help create the 10,000 square foot academy. Although the first building won't open for another two years -- called the "Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Hall" -- some of the academy's programs and classes are being run within other USC buildings. In total, 114 students are already taking part in Iovine's and Dr. Dre's new program, and are set to graduate next May.

Image via Gus Ruela/USC Photo
“It will stoke the fire of students’ imaginations, and it will propel the next generations of inventions and products that will transform our lives,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I hope at this school we can help our students to dream big, execute and build the courage to stay in the saddle,” Iovine said Wednesday.
One of the academy's programs includes an annual pitch competition where students have the opportunity to win $10,000 to help grow an original idea, and a few enrolled in its programs have recently received internships at Facebook, Hulu, Sony, and Oculus. To get into the academy, students described "the most intense application process," where they first submit a portfolio and video of their own idea or business proposal, and then sit down for an interview with a panel of 10 people.

In a profile by The Wall Street Journal in 2014, Iovine explained that the academy was built to prepare students to "speak both languages" of technology and liberal arts. The Apple Music executive also said that one of the goals of backing the academy is to "find kids who can work at Beats or at Apple."


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Apple Music Now Has Over 30M Paid Subscribers, Up from 27M in June

In an interview with Billboard posted today, Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine has discussed a number of topics related to the streaming music service's "long game," including its growth over the past three months. At WWDC in June, Apple mentioned that Apple Music had 27 million paid subscribers, and today the company confirmed to Billboard that it has now reached "well over" 30 million.


Iovine was enthusiastic about Apple Music's growth, but admitted that simply adding more subscribers, launching entire back catalogues through record label deals, and staying on the forefront of new hits isn't enough to maintain Apple's presence in the streaming music market. "I just don't think streaming is enough as it is," he said.
“I believe we’re in the right place, we have the right people and the right attitude to not settle for what exists right now.” But ultimately? “Just because we’re adding millions of subscribers and the old catalog numbers are going up, that’s not the trick. That’s just not going to hold.”

"I just don’t think streaming is enough as it is. I don’t agree that all things are going to be OK [just] because Apple came into streaming and the numbers went up. Look at the catalog: It’s a matter of time before the ’60s become the ’50s and the ’50s become the ’40s. The people that are listening to the ’60s will die -- I’m one of them. Life goes on. So you have to help the artists create new stuff that they would never be able to do on their own."
Apple Music's main rival remains Spotify, which counted 60 million paid subscribers in July. Spotify has continued to grow faster than Apple Music thanks to the former streaming service's free tier that allows users to listen to music interspersed with advertisements, which Apple Music does not have.

Apple's offer for new users is a three-month free trial to test out the service before deciding to pay the $9.99/month price point. In May, Iovine said that if Apple Music did have a free tier, "it would have 400 million people on it" and make his job easier, but he and Apple believe in focusing everything into creating a quality experience for the people who are paid subscribers, making them "feel special" in the process.

Check out Billboard's full interview with Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and Larry Jackson right here. Other topics discussed include how the Apple Music team discovers new artists, Spotify's plan to go public, and Iovine's belief that while Apple Music is good where it's at, the company is "not even close" to being done with iterating and adding onto its features.


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Jimmy Iovine Says Apple Music Would Have ‘400 Million’ Listeners If It Had a Free Version Like Spotify

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"


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Sean Combs’ Documentary ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’ to Debut Exclusively on Apple Music This June

In the wake of Jimmy Iovine detailing Apple Music's ongoing efforts to become "an overall movement in popular culture," today Sean Combs -- aka Puff Daddy -- announced that his new documentary Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story is coming exclusively to Apple Music on June 25 (via Billboard). The announcement comes after the documentary's premiere at the TriBeCa Film Festival yesterday.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop documents the rise of Combs and his record label throughout the 1990s, and extends to the process Combs went through when he put together the 20th anniversary Bad Boy reunion show tour in 2016. The partnership with Apple Music began when Iovine attended one of those shows.

"I went to the [Bad Boy Reuion] concert and thought it was incredible," Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music chairman and CEO, tells Billboard. "I think Puff and Bad Boy's story is incredible and one that a lot of people can relate to in any genre or in any business. His story is powerful. He really overcame a lot to get to where he's at today and the documentary shows that."
Apple Music is said to have exclusive rights to the documentary for at least one year. According to Combs himself, he feels "blessed" to be working with Apple to show the impact that the Bad Boys have had on fans throughout the years, including the death of Notorious B.I.G.
“I knew this was a story that should be shared with the world," Diddy said in a statement "Heather Parry and Live Nation Productions, and Director Daniel Kaufman, helped create this very special documentary. Now I'm blessed to also be working with Apple to showcase the film and share Bad Boy's history and impact with fans. The support Live Nation, Apple and everyone on the team has given to this project is a true testament to the Bad Boy legacy."
In his interview with Billboard today, Iovine detailed near-term plans for Apple Music that would focus on original video content with music-related themes, a category that Combs' Can't Stop, Won't Stop fits right into. Brad Paisley also just announced a "visual album" coming as a timed exclusive to Apple Music tomorrow, April 28. Further down the line, Apple Music subscribers will have access to a much wider variety of shows, which might even include content from J.J. Abrams.


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Apple Music’s Original TV Plans Now Include Potential Shows and Videos From J.J. Abrams and R. Kelly

Jimmy Iovine, one of the heads of Apple Music, has given multiple interviews and visions for the future of Apple's streaming music service over the past few months, mainly detailing how Apple Music will morph into "an entire pop cultural experience" with the advent of original video content. In an interview with Bloomberg posted online today, Iovine continued that pitch by stating, "I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture," detailing plans that include original shows and videos with partners like director J.J. Abrams and rapper R. Kelly.

The expansion of Apple Music beyond streaming new songs and music videos by artists began slowly for Apple, with the company releasing a tour documentary in partnership with Taylor Swift in 2015, as well as a 23-minute short film with Drake in 2016. Those modest beginnings have helped Apple learn what works and what doesn't, with Iovine stating, "We’re gonna grow slowly no matter what, I don’t know how to do it fast."


Iovine further mentioned that Apple's vast resources provide the Apple Music team with enough room for betting on risky projects, so the service can "make one show, three shows" to see what viewers favor.
“A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists,” says Iovine, 64. “I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.”

Apple Music’s foray into video programming could be a temporary dalliance, but if Iovine succeeds, the world’s wealthiest company could increase its investment, routinely competing for top projects. “We have the freedom, because it’s Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn’t work until it feels good,” Iovine says.
Those slow-to-build plans apparently include a largely redesigned, "new edition" of the Apple Music app coming to iOS 11 this fall that will "better showcase video." Because of this update, Iovine said that Apple won't make the same mistakes that rival Spotify has made in producing original video content, but subsequently not promoting it enough to get people to watch. "We’re going to market it like it’s a TV show," Iovine mentioned. "You’re going to know this is out."

Currently, those shows include Carpool Karaoke: The Series and Planet of the Apps, although the former show was recently delayed indefinitely and the latter has only a vague spring launch date. In the immediate future, Iovine said that Apple Music's video ambitions are still very music-related, including Dr. Dre's Vital Signs, and Iovine even wants to produce a sequel to R. Kelly's rap opera Trapped in the Closet.
“For a music streaming service,” Iovine says, “we’re building a very decent slate.”
According to Carpool Karaoke producer Ben Winston, who helped sign the agreement to partner with Apple along with star James Corden, the mere fact that Apple is involved with producing these new shows is all it takes to get people excited to work with them. "If I call LeBron James and I name five networks or cable channels or even different online platforms, I’m not convinced he agrees to sit in a car," Winston says. "If you say you’re doing a new show for Apple, people get excited."

But the company's plans are far bigger than just original content that has a music slant, with Iovine having met with well-known Hollywood creatives to discuss "possible ideas," including director J.J. Abrams and producer Brian Grazer, although talks with Grazer regarding Imagine Entertainment are said to have "fizzled out" for unknown reasons. Of course, any specific details regarding what a J.J. Abrams-produced series on Apple Music might be were not given.

Previous reports of Apple's dealings in Hollywood have been largely critical of the Cupertino company's inability to forge ahead with a consistent, unified vision in the original content space. For Iovine, the almost-two-year-old service still has a ways to go. "Apple Music is nowhere near complete in my head," he said. Achieving his vision for the future of Apple Music has gotten Iovine in hot water with some of his colleagues, as well.
Some ideas get Iovine into trouble. He’s taken meetings with artists and made arrangements to release music without telling anyone in advance, frustrating colleagues. He’s persuaded artists to release music exclusively with Apple, frustrating record labels. But no one doubts his knack for bringing people together.
Everyone from Apple CEO Tim Cook to Apple Music executive Bozoma Saint John have reinforced Apple's future with original content coming to its music streaming service. Earlier this year during an earnings call, Cook said that Apple is starting off slow -- echoing Iovine's comment -- and has a "toe in the water" testing original content, while Saint John said of Apple Music as a whole: "We're developing something very special and we just want people to pay attention."


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Jimmy Iovine on Apple Music: ‘We’re Trying to Make it a Cultural Point of Reference’

Jimmy Iovine, who leads Apple Music alongside Eddy Cue, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and Larry Jackson, recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Variety covering everything from Apple's goals with the streaming service to its experimentation with exclusives.

Though Jimmy Iovine has no official title at Apple, going by just "Jimmy," he has negotiated many of the streaming deals for the service and has been a key team member since Apple purchased Beats Music in 2014. "Apple, of all the global tech companies, was the one that understood why artists make things," Iovine said, explaining why he had a close relationship with Apple even before the acquisition.


Since its debut, Apple Music has grown to 20 million subscribers, with 10 million added in 2016 alone. Much of that can be attributed to Apple's evolving focus, first on exclusives and now on video. Apple is adding original content to Apple Music, in the form of two TV shows - a reality series based on Carpool Karaoke and drama that will star Dr. Dre.

Iovine wouldn't go into detail about Apple's future plans for original content, but he explained that Apple's goal is to make Apple Music "a cultural point of reference." He says Apple's work on original content shouldn't be compared to other entertainment companies like Netflix.
Iovine, asked if he sees Apple Music attempting to become competitive with the likes of Netflix in the original-content sphere, demurs. "I wouldn't put it that way," he says. "When I read that, or I read that we're taking on whomever, I say no. To me it's all one thing. It's Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio. ... It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing."
On the topic of exclusive content, which has created conflict between Apple and both its competitors and record labels, Iovine says Apple is "just experimenting." He says his work with Apple hasn't caused problems with former colleagues in the music business, despite the bitterness over exclusive content.
"I don't lean on [exclusives] too heavily myself," he says. "We did 'em. We'll do some more. But we're just experimenting. I just know that if something feels right and someone wants to, we're willing to do it, to help them really market their record, get the word out, and spend what it deserves."
According to Iovine, the key to Apple's continued success in the music industry is an ability to "speak both languages," referring to the harmonizing of technology and music. He believes there's room in the streaming music industry for many companies, as long as "streaming is done right," with each service being culturally different with a unique feel. "Yeah, they all have the same catalog," he said." But what we're doing is we're just building on top of that. That's where the personality and the feel will come from."

Iovine's full interview, which covers a range of additional topics like his childhood, early jobs, close relationship with Dr. Dre, the founding of Beats Music, Beats 1 Radio, and subscription streaming models, can be read over at Variety and is worth checking out for those who want an inside look at Apple Music.


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Jimmy Iovine Says Apple Music Will Be ‘An Entire Pop Cultural Experience’ With New TV Shows

After a report by The Wall Street Journal stated that Apple is planning a push into original television series production for 2017, Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine spoke to reporters over the weekend and explained why the company is looking to add TV to its streaming music service (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Iovine said that the company's main concern is enticing users into choosing Apple Music over competitors like Spotify and Pandora, which offer free, ad-supported tiers for users. Ultimately, Iovine and other Apple Music executives believed that another basic streaming music service with on-demand access to music at $10 a month would not be enough to keep it alive. He called the move into TV Apple's attempt to build "an entire pop cultural experience."

Key Speakers At The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)
"At Apple Music, what we're trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video," he told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.

"If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you're not musicians, you know?" Iovine continued when pressed about the report. "We're going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We're going to try."
The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the Dr. Dre-starring Vital Signs could be among the first of Apple's scripted television series to launch this year, with six episodes rolling out all at once, following the Netflix strategy. Despite all of the information known about Vital Signs since its announcement nearly a year ago last February, it's still unclear whether or not users will be able to stream the new Apple Music TV shows on an Apple TV, or just on iOS.

Besides Vital Signs, Apple is said to be working on a reality competition series called Planet of the Apps as well as an updated version of Carpool Karaoke. For its new push into television, the company plans to create original shows comparable to HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things.


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