Beats CEO Pitched Steve Jobs a Music Subscription Service 10 Years Ago

jimmy-iovineIn an interview with AllThingsD, music industry veteran and Beats Electronics CEO, Jimmy Iovine reveals that he tried pitching a music subscription service to Steve Jobs back in 2002. While he couldn’t convince Steve Jobs of the subscription model, his company Beats announced that it will be launching a music subscription service very soon.

From the interview:

In 2002, 2003, [Universal head Doug Morris] asked me to go up to Apple and see Steve. So I met him and we hit it off right away. We were really close. We did some great marketing stuff together: 50 Cent, Bono, Jagger, stuff for the iPod — we did a lot of stuff together.

But I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And he wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it. He was there, not there … he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually.

I don’t know what [Apple media head] Eddy Cue would say — I’m seeing him soon — but I think in the end Steve was feeling it, but the economics …he wanted to pay the labels [for subscriptions], but [the fees were] not going to be acceptable to them.

Iovine’s account of his talks with Jobs about a music subscription service paint an interesting background for the rumored Pandora-like service Apple’s readying. While reports noted that Apple’s having difficulties in striking deals with music labels, we never really knew what specifically was the point of disagreement. If we go by what Iovine says, it, unsurprisingly, comes down to revenue sharing.

What could further spark rumors is the fact that Iovine is meeting Apple’s online services head Eddy Cue “soon.”