Apple has been previously suggested to start its own record label, though it never considered it. But with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine joining its ranks, it is a prospective future indeed. The two of them have built a huge empire in the music industry and with them being offered creative posts within Apple, the future looks interesting.
If Apple has plans of progressing onwards from a simple music distributer, gaining a 30% cut, to a full fledged record label; cultivating talents and investing in artists, then having Iovine on board would be the best move. Iovine built Interscope Records, that created some of the best artistes for the last 20 years from Dr Dre to Lady Gaga. His real passion and expertise lies in nurturing artistes, selling music and building labels. Iovine himself reports that the streaming service and even the headphone business were ways to empower the artistes and gain control back into the labels.
Apple’s future plans for Beats are still unknown. Many justify the record $3.2 billion purchase as prudent, considering the fact that Beats headphone business brings revenue of $1 billion a year. This, backed by the new streaming service, and fresh talent, has immense potential. It is still not sure if the reason for Apple purchasing Beats was starting a record label. But with Iovine joining its ranks, there is no better time for it.
Iovine also plans to make use of his unique position in the industry to work directly with artistes with regard to the streaming service. He also describes plans for Beats features that sound like the type a support label would normally provide. He remarked that the artistes must have a much user friendly environment, where they could incubate business. They should also know who is using their music, and where they are. The record company has information but the artistes do not get to know details.
Wall Street Journal reported that Iovine’s work would be to revamp Apple’s music strategy, while Billboard touted that Iovine will probably oversee Apple’s music strategy and handle relationships with the music industry. Having Iovine revamp its music arena would be the best thing to do right now.
If Apple starts a record label of sorts, the goal wouldn’t be in investing on developing artistes to improve sales and downloads, but rather to invest on artistes, so as to differentiate its iTunes and the new streaming companion from competition. From Iovine’s comments, it is obvious that he is interested in developing a new concept with Beats.
Disappointment among artistes and labels with features like Spotify, iTunes etc., is apparent as they try to focus on pleasing both the public as well as the performers and fail to attract potential artistes, but have an easier time in getting exclusive content.
Among the companies competing with iTunes, the concept of developing new content is not entirely lost. A lot of newer companies shell out about 70% of the proceedings as royalty to the artistes while others give more seeing the potential in the process. Google took the step of allowing artistes go independent and sell their content without a label.
YouTube has become vital to the music industry too. It can make or break an artiste’s career. Iovine credits it to Lady Gaga’s career. Iovine has more to say and comment on the contribution of various record labels and independent entities.