Earlier this week, Taylor Swift revealed the background story behind the “To Apple, Love Taylor” letter she posted on Sunday, June 21, early in the morning. That open letter made waves immediately after it went live and prompted Apple to quickly respond with the answer artists wanted to hear: It will pay royalties during the 3-month trial period of Apple Music. But how did this happen? Jimmy Iovine shared the details in an interview with the Evening Standard (via MacRumors).
“Eddy [Cue, Apple senior VP] woke up on Sunday morning,” says Iovine. “He called me and said, ‘This is a drag’. I was like, ‘Yeah, maybe there’s some stuff she doesn’t understand’. He said, ‘Why don’t you give Scott [Borchetta, Swift’s label boss] a call? I called Scott, I called Eddy back, Eddy and Tim [Cook, Apple CEO] called me back and we said, ‘Hey, you know what, we want this system to be right and we want artists to be comfortable, let’s do it’.”
Apple Music launched just over a month ago and already has 11 million subscribers, as revealed by Eddy Cue to USA Today. It will be interesting to see how many of these users convert into paying subscribers, as the market is very competitive, with rivals such as Spotify having been around for a decade. So that leads us to the question: What makes Apple Music special? Since Iovine was instrumental in creating Apple Music, he has the answer: curation, which is done by real people not algorithms. “Algorithms don’t understand the subtlety and the mixing of genres. So we hired the best people we know. Hired hundreds of them,” Iovine says.
Looking at Apple’s rivals, Iovine doesn’t seem to be worried, since human curation sets Apple Music apart from them.
“There’s a lot of [them],” he says, disdainfully. “Music deserves elegance and the distribution right now is not great. It’s all over the place and there are a bunch of utilities. That’s the best you can find. It’s basically a really narrow, small, inelegant way to have music delivered. So it’s sterile, programmed by algorithms and numbing.”
The whole interview is well worth your time. You can read it here.