Jimmy Iovine Opens Up on Frank Ocean, Kanye Streaming Deals

Jimmy Iovine Opens Up on Frank Ocean, Kanye Streaming Deals

After releasing two albums—Blonde and Endless—earlier this year exclusively on Apple Music, Frank Ocean finally stepped out of the shadows to reveal why he disappeared in the first place. In a rare interview, he explained his absence and why he split from Def Jam and chose to partner with Apple to release Blonde independently. Today, Apple Music executives Jimmy Iovine and Larry Jackson opened up about the deal and the business of streaming in a new interview with The New York Times. Iovine suggested that Apple was in no way involved in Ocean’s split from his label:

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. 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.

Iovine also talked about Kanye West’s decision to launch The Life of Pablo on Tidal instead of with Apple:

He was part of Jay’s thing and chose to make a deal with his friend, and I respect that. 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.

When asked which albums or artists he missed out on, he unsurprisingly picked the biggest album from the best selling artist:

I would have loved to see Adele launch through the streaming service. But it wasn’t in the cards. It just wasn’t in our realm.

When asked if there was any animosity between streaming competitors, Iovine shot down the notion, using experience from his days as a producer as an analogy: 

Not even one speck of it. I see Jay all the time. I want him to do great. There was never one record company. When I produced records, I used to ask Quincy [Jones] to come in and help me. We are competitors, yes. But as far as anything more, absolutely not.

Read the full interview with Iovine and Jackson here, and read Pitchfork’s feature, “The Year in Streaming 2016.”

Revisit Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” video:

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