Online music streaming services such as Spotify, rdio, and Pandora are dominating streaming music space, Apple has been rumored to be working on its own radio service similar to Pandora’s, now being called “iRadio” for lack of a better name. These rumors have been circulating around the web for some weeks now. Now in an interview with AllThingsD, Beats CEO and Interscope Chairman, Jimmy Iovine revealed that he had pitched the idea of a music subscription service to Steve Jobs in 2003.
Iovine was close friends with Jobs, having worked with him on multiple products and promotions with artists such as 50 Cent, Bono of U2, Mick Jagger, and even launching a special iPod for U2. Iovine says he is currently working on a music subscription service, not revealing any specific details about the project or what it is going to consist of.
In 2002, 2003, Doug [Morris, former Universal Music head] asked me to go up to Apple and see Steve. So I met him and we hit it off right away. We were really close. We did some great marketing stuff together: 50 Cent, Bono, Jagger, stuff for the iPod — we did a lot of stuff together.
But I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And he wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it. He was there, not there … he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually.
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.
Iovine did reveal that his service would be similar to Pandora, in that it would not provide users access to entire albums and artists as Spotify does and would aggregate music based on user’s preferences. Apple’s “iRadio” is expected to be similar to Iovine’s approach, although it could be possible that Iovine is working with Apple to help create the company’s music subscription service as the two have worked together in the past. Iovine was mentioned several times in Job’s biography, “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson in which Jobs himself talks about his friendship with the Beats Electronics chief.