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Apple Music: We Won't Play Free Music 'Shell Game'

(Hypebot) – Apple Music has no intention of "building an audience on the back of the artists" by offering a free ad supported music option, as Spotify does, according to senior exec Jimmy Iovine. Is this just spin to cover up slower than hoped for user adoption; or is this caring corporate policy?

Free ad-supported streaming music services like Spotify are "building an audience on the back of the artists," Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine said yesterday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. He categorized the practice as a "shell game."

"We don't want to do that," said Iovine, a former record producer who co-founded Beats Electronics. "We believe that we've built something powerful enough and strong enough that it will work."

Unsurprisingly, Iovine didn't share how many paid subscribers Apple Music has, but claimed growth was "going really well."


As a former record producer and exec, Jimmy Iovine may fully subscribe to the artist friendly approach that he espouses. But his statements, particularly shared just days after Apple got to see their music service's paid subscriber numbers, also accomplish other goals.

With this one conference appearance (and others likely to follow), Iovine sent a signal to his label partners, dissed his chief rival Spotify and gave artists a reason to favor his service.

To the labels (and likely his Apple bosses), Iovine was saying be patient. Doing this the right way (aka Paid not free) takes time.

To Spotify, the message was 'the labels and artists love me, so don't assume you can stream music free forever."

To artists, the message was 'give us your exclusives, we'll treat you fairly'.