Jimmy Iovine, Eddy Cue on Apple Streaming Service

Beats Audio co-founder Jimmy Iovine sat down with Rolling Stone on Monday after taking part in his first Worldwide Developer Conference as a member of Apple. The world’s most valuable company introduced its new Apple Music service at the conference, which was developed with substantial input from Iovine and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, also now working with Apple. During his speech, Iovine described today’s music industry as a “fragmented mess.” “You want to stream music, you can go over here; if you want to stream some video, you can check some of these places out; you want to follow some artists, there’s more confusion for that. So I reached out to Tim Cook and [Apple exec] Eddy Cue and said, ‘Guys, can we build a bigger and better ecosystem with the elegance and simplicity that only Apple can do?'”

Iovine was joined in the Rolling Stoine interview by Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. The pair discussed a variety of topics related to the Apple Music launch, and where they see the product headed in the coming years. Check out a few key questions and responses from the interview, or Click Here to read the entire piece on RollongStone.com.

Rolling Stone: Do you currently have licensing deals with all three major record labels? Some reports said last week that you did not.

Cue: Yes.

RS: Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio responded to the Apple Music announcement with variations of, “This is what we do already.” Can you respond to that? How will Apple be revolutionary in a space where everybody has the same songs and the same technology?

Cue: I honestly haven’t seen it, because I’ve just been a little busy. Again, we spent all of our time worrying about what we’re doing. I can’t control what others do or anything else from that standpoint. I don’t think anybody else is doing what we’re doing, so let’s start with that.

Iovine: If we didn’t think there was a hole, we wouldn’t do it. Apple doesn’t need to practice.

RS: Streaming companies, even Spotify, don’t seem to be great at generating revenue. How does Apple change that equation? Or does it absorb the business as loss leader?

Iovine: Well, first you have to scale it. And if 80 percent of it is free, it’s hard to have a business model like that.

RS: Can you be more specific about the economics? Other services spell out how much they pay to rightsholders in detail.

Cue: We won’t. We’ve always been very clear — the vast majority of the revenue we collect goes to the labels. The economics have always been the same. We have paid out many, many millions of dollars. What we’ve done and continued to do is hopefully get people to pay for these services that we think are great and we’ll collect that money and pay the labels.