Jimmy Iovine Gives Thoughts on Current Music Landscape: “Fame Has Replaced Great”

It’s nearly impossible to find a music executive with more experience and savvy than Jimmy Iovine. Whether it be his work with Apple, Universal Music, Beats by Dre, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, or more, Iovine has been an integral part of the music landscape in the mainstream for decades.

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So, when he spoke about the future of music with Consequence this week for their UNCUT podcast series, his answers felt especially poignant. For the episode, Consequence had the now 70-year-old address many of the most prominent subjects regarding music as of late, such as artificial intelligence, TikTok, and more.

“I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but I think AI is going to be massive in songwriting on many levels,” he said. “One, on a very basic level, if somebody is stuck and you want to experiment and get an idea. Two is that not everyone, but too many people today are making records for TikTok.”

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Elaborating on this thought, Iovine described why he felt TikTok and AI go hand-in-hand, as it makes for an easier formula for musicians to follow.

“They used to make records for radio, but now it’s TikTok,” he continued. “That’s why all these pop records sound exactly the same. So if you’re making records like that, making records off this formula, then you’re going to start seeing big hits being written and recorded on AI.”

Overall, it seems like he thinks the importance of acclaim has surpassed the importance of quality, at least in the eyes of today’s artists. Explaining why these aforementioned formulas are increasingly popular, Iovine asserted that you don’t need to be the most talented act to make the most money nowadays.

“What happened in music is fame has replaced great,” he said. “It’s happened in society basically. Fame has replaced great… Artists are making so much money in so many different places, which is fantastic, but after they have a hit record, they can earn a lot of money on Instagram and all this stuff. I feel that a lot of people, a lot of artists, not all, but a lot of artists are taking their foot off the gas in the record-making category and that’s affecting the quality of the work. I think you’re seeing that in a lot of different genres right now.”

Iovine’s comments come less than a month after Billboard launched its brand new TikTok Top 50 chart, which lists the most impactful songs on the platform each week. Speaking about the significance of the chart at the time, TikTok’s global head of music business development Ole Obermann explained why this development was a necessity.

“TikTok is already the world’s most powerful platform for music discovery and promotion, and each week our passionate community of music fans drives songs onto the Billboard charts,” he said in a statement. “It therefore made perfect sense to partner with Billboard to create the TikTok Billboard Top 50 chart. The chart gives a clear picture of the music that is being listened to on TikTok, and consequently starting to trend on DSPs and other services.”

Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage

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