Jimmy Iovine Gives Details on Apple Music’s Role in Kanye West and Frank Ocean’s Album Releases
Jimmy Iovine and Larry Jackson recently gave an extensive interview with The New York Times, in which the Apple Music executives discuss an eventful 2016, including two of the biggest releases of the year from Frank Ocean and Kanye West.
Throughout the piece, Iovine and Jackson talk about Apple Music's impact as a streaming platform as well as a promotional tool for hip-hop artists.
“We have real understanding of what these artists are trying to accomplish both aesthetically and commercially," Iovine says. "We’re really getting there in merging these cultures - tech and the arts. And we’re trying to prove that we are the best place for an artist to fulfill their vision.”
Iovine and Jackson, two record label veterans, discuss Apple Music's role in the release of albums from Frank Ocean and Kanye West.
If you remember, there was tension between Frank Ocean, Universal Music Group, Def Jam and Apple Music upon the release of Frank's Blonde album. Ocean's Endless album fulfilled his contract with Universal/Def Jam, allowing Frank to release Blonde exclusively on Apple Music via his independent label, Boys Don't Cry.
Iovine explains that he and Apple Music had no intention to "pull a fast one" on Universal and Def Jam. "We wanted to work with Frank Ocean. We had a deal — we were working with Frank Ocean, and he controlled where his music came out," he says. "Why would it be in our interest to be part of a fast one, a slow one or any one? We were getting the record no matter what. Whatever happened with him and Universal is really between him and Universal. It has nothing to do with us. Nothing."
And, when asked whether Kanye's Life of Pablo was close to releasing on Apple Music instead of the Jay Z-led TIDAL (where it eventually ended up), Iovine responds diplomatically.
"He was part of Jay’s thing and chose to make a deal with his friend, and I respect that," Iovine says. "I kind of felt like it was going to happen before it did. Jay Z and Kanye — that’s a very natural thing for them to work together. Everybody moves on. You try to do the best with what you’ve got and ignore everything else. That’s why horses get blinders in horse racing: You look at the horse next to you, and you lose a step."
Head over to The New York Times for the complete interview.
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