Last night at the Consumer Electronics Show headphone maker Beats Electronics’ CEO Jimmy Iovine announced that the company would be expanding into the music subscription business. In an interview with AllThingsD, Iovine revealed that he is the one who put the bug in Steve Jobs’ ear to start a music subscription based service a decade ago.
Iovine told AllThingsD that he has been dreaming of starting a subscription music service for years. He even pitched his ideas to multiple tech companies. Most of them weren’t interested in what Iovine had to say. But Apple’s former CEO was open to the idea. “The guy that smelled it the most was Steve, obviously,” said Iovine.
Iovine met Jobs in 2002 and generated a profitable working relationship. “We were really close,” he said. “We did some great marketing stuff together: 50 Cent, Bono, Jagger, stuff for the iPod — we did a lot of stuff together.”
During their time together, Iovine was pushing Jobs to move into music subscription services. Although he was interested in the idea, Jobs didn’t like the terms. He was unwilling to pay the record companies the licensing fees they were asking for. “He felt that they would come down eventually,” Iovine said.
“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.”
We’ve been hearing a lot about iRadio in the tech world lately. If Apple has plans to follow through with a subscription-based music service, it had better get on that bandwagon soon. Companies like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio aren’t getting any less popular.