Jimmy Iovine on Apple, music streaming and Taylor Swift

Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine speaks at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine speaks at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.

(Mike Windle / Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Longtime music executive and quote machine Jimmy Iovine joined Apple last year to run its new Apple Music business.

On stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Iovine didn’t disappoint, with a profanity-laced discussion that touched on free music, Burning Man, the tech industry’s cultural ineptitude and Taylor Swift.

Why he likes Apple


“They’re trying to keep the crossover of technology and liberal arts going. ... The bottom line is most media companies are technologically inept, and most technology companies are socially inept. Just because you go to Burning Man doesn’t mean you’re Hunter S. Thompson.”

‘Freemium’ music streaming

“This whole thing about freemium, it’s a shell game. These companies are building an audience on the back of the artist, and it really bugs me.”

On YouTube and music

“Here’s a little statistic ... they are 40% of consumption of music and 4% of the revenue. That’s a problem! ... They know that doesn’t work. But do they care? I have no idea.”

On making Taylor Swift happy

On Swift, he recalled how top Apple executive Eddy Cue and Chief Executive Tim Cook quickly accommodated her public complaints about the company’s plans not to pay music artists for the first three months of Apple Music, a plan that was introduced in June.


“It was Father’s Day. I got drills, and Taylor Swift. We worked all day Sunday. Eddy and Tim had me join in. They dealt with it on the spot. ... They moved like lightning. I was impressed. Taylor was impressed.”

On how Apple Music is doing

“I have an express from my brain to my mouth. Apple has taught me not to give out numbers ... but I wouldn’t be here if things weren’t going really well.”

Twitter: @russ1mitchell