January 16, 2017
Apple executive Jimmy Iovine, who is also well known as a record and film producer, this weekend confirmed media reports that the iPhone maker is branching out into offering original content as part of its Apple Music subscription service.
“At Apple Music, what we’re trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video,” he was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter while speaking to the press Saturday at the Television Critics Association’s winter tour.
“If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you’re not musicians, you know? We’re going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We’re going to try.”
Iovine’s comments referenced a Wall Street Journal report last week that Apple has been in talks with veteran producers over the past few months to discuss buying rights to scripted television programs.
The iPhone maker has also reportedly approached studio and network marketing executives about coming on board at Apple to promote its content. Apple, sources told the WSJ, first wants to offer original television shows and then branch out into movies with a goal of providing original scripted content by the end of this year. The content Apple is looking to purchase would likely be comparable to Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ or HBO’s ‘Westworld’,” the WSJ said, adding that the company is not looking to spend the billions of dollars Netflix does on original content, at least not initially.
While Iovine — who came on board as an Apple executive in 2014 after the Cupertino firm acquired Beats Electronics from him and co-founder Dr. Dre for $3 billion — was relatively vague about Apple’s plans, he did say the tech giant wants to be able to better compete with fellow music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, both of which are, for the most part, free.
“We’re fighting ‘free’,’ Iovine added. “So a simple utility where, ‘here’s all the songs, here’s all the music, give me $10 and we’re cool,’ is not going to scale.”
Apple currently has more than 20 million subscribers for its $9.99 a month streaming service. Apple Music, which is available in more than 100 countries, offers 24/7 music as part of the ad-free subscription service. Aside from the basic $9.99 month plan, there is also a family plan providing service for up to six family members for $14.99 monthly.