And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week Digital

CMU Beef Of The Week #283: Jimmy Iovine v Women

By | Published on Friday 20 November 2015

Jimmy Iovine & Mary J Blige

Hey, women. Do you find it more difficult than other types of human to find music to listen to? What do you mean no? Yes you do. Of course you do. Jimmy Iovine says so. And he’s rich.

Music industry veteran and now Apple Music bigwig Iovine appeared on ‘CBS This Morning’ in the US this week with Mary J Blige to discuss the new TV ad for the Apple streaming service. Because, hey, who wouldn’t want to hear about how there’s a new advert out there to enjoy?

That sounded sarcastic, didn’t it? But now I am actually going to tell you about the advert. For context though. Just context. I’m not suggesting that big companies producing new adverts constitutes news. Nor am I endorsing the product here. I don’t want you to think this is me, telling you, that you should use Apple Music. You shouldn’t. Do not use it. Whatever you do, avoid Apple Music. Right? OK.

So, this advert is part of a trilogy. Yes, a trilogy! It sees actresses Kerry Washington and Taraji P Henson hanging out at Blige’s house, listening to music. “That’s what [women] do when we get together”, said Blige in the telly interview. “We just listen to music, we talk about life, love, marriage … so it was beautiful to have Jimmy choose me to be a part of their world, and [for] them be a part of mine”.

But, of course, in real life, it takes quite a bit of time for Blige et al to actually get round to the listening bit of their hang outs, because women in general find it “very difficult” to find tunes to listen to, Iovine pitched in. “I always knew that women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music. And [Apple Music] helps makes it easier with playlists, curated by real people”.

He always knew it, women. Always. And that’s why he’s hired real people to help you finally get round to choosing a record to listen to. Definitely helping the situation, Iovine continued: “I just thought of a problem: Girls are sitting around talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, when they have their heart broken, or whatever. And they need music for that, right? It’s hard to find the right music. Not everybody knows a DJ”.

Yes, I’d imagine complaining about boys all the time does cloud your musical judgement a little. Well done Jimmy for creating this amazing service for all those helpless girls.

As you might imagine, quite a lot of people saw these statements as they circulated online yesterday and thought Iovine’s remarks were a bit off. Which quickly led to the Apple Music man issuing an apology, saying: “We created Apple Music to make finding the right music easier for everyone – men and women, young and old. Our new ad focuses on women, which is why I answered the way I did, but of course the same applies equally for men. I could have chosen my words better, and I apologise”.

You see, he meant to say that “all people” struggle to find music, but because he’d just seen some women in an advert, he forgot that men exist. That’s the power of advertising.

‘CBS This Morning’ host Gayle King also came to his defence, tweeting: “C’mon people! Please listen to full ‘CBS This Morning’ interview with Jimmy Iovine. Women and music comments totally taken out of context. Not fair to him!”

OK, he did say “some women” find it difficult to find music to listen to “at times”. And he’s right to say that many people, whatever gender, appreciate help navigating the massive catalogues of music that most streaming platforms offer. And it’s true, Iovine was specifically talking about an advert – a trilogy of adverts, no less – featuring women when he made his remarks. Still, it was a nonsense thing to say.

Now, I’m not a girl, but I just realised I forgot to put on any music to soundtrack all this complaining about Jimmy Iovine I’ve been doing. And now I’ve thought about it, I’m really not sure what to put on. So, he’s right, it is a tricky thing. If only I hadn’t cancelled my Apple Music account, I might be in a better situation right now. Though, maybe not. Because, while Iovine had “always known” that women struggle to find music, perhaps he’s only just twigging that us men need help too. Is that why, as a man, I found Apple Music such a lackluster experience?

But back to the interview. Perhaps everyone is being too hard on poor old Iovine about this one slip. It’s not like he makes a habit of saying nonsense things in interviews, is it? Well, except during that recent interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, when he was asked why Apple Music isn’t doing full-on freemium streams.

“We have a problem with this whole ‘free’ issue”, he explained. “The television industry doesn’t have it, the movie industry doesn’t have it, but the record industry has it. In my personal opinion – and this is not Apple’s opinion – that ‘free’ is a real issue. You have to make a service in order to get over ‘free’.

The television industry doesn’t have freemium? Are you fucking kidding me? Surely the television industry is the one that proves that freemium can work, it having operated that very system so successfully for decades, offering many free-to-access ad-funded channels, while also charging for premium stations on cable and satellite. OK, the TV industry may be facing its own challenges in the digital age, but that hasn’t stopped it still providing a healthy stack of content free to the user.

But whatever, Apple didn’t hire Iovine for his words of wisdom. And usually no one questions the guy’s ramblings because, kudos where it’s due, he did set up the company that persuaded all those idiots to buy overpriced Beats headphones, making a stack of cash in the process.

Though this time there was plenty of questioning, and understandably so. Perhaps Apple could create an app to curate their music chief’s words into something less ridiculous next time he appears on the telly. Because sometimes men find it difficult the find the right words, you know, when they’re busy talking about girls.