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Apple Music Execs Discuss Relationship with Artists, Streaming Deals

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In an interview published on Thursday, Apple Music executives Jimmy Iovine and Larry Jackson adopted a defensive tone when talking about things like the fallout of a Frank Ocean deal. While talking to the New York Times about the Frank Ocean deal, Iovine said:

“We had a deal —we were working with Frank Ocean, and he controlled where his music came out. Why would it be in our interest to be part of a fast one, a slow one or any one? We were getting the record no matter what. Whatever happened with him and Universal is really between him and Universal. It has nothing to do with us. Nothing.”

Earlier this year, Ocean released a visual album called “Endless” to fulfill a contract with Universal label Def Jam. The artist then immediately released an album called “Blonde” under his own label as a temporary Apple Music exclusive. The CEO of Universal ordered a board moratorium on exclusives in response.

Kanye West once promised that “The Life of Pablo” would never appear on Apple platforms, and for some time Tidal was the only way to listen the entire album in digital form. He eventually changed his mind and the album can now be heard on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. In a statement, Jackson said:

“Jimmy and I went to the studio two times to hear the album [‘Pablo’] and give feedback, not for any reason other than we love him as an artist and we just wanted to help.”

In a statement, Iovine said:

“[West] was part of Jay’s thing and chose to make a deal with his friend, and I respect that. I kind of felt like it was going to happen before it did. Jay Z and Kanye — that’s a very natural thing for them to work together. Everybody moves on. You try to do the best with what you’ve got and ignore everything else. That’s why horses get blinders in horse racing: You look at the horse next to you, and you lose a step.”

The entire interview can be read on the New York Time’s website. It gives good insight on how Apple builds relationships with their artists and how the company tries to satisfy both parties when making deals.

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