Jimmy Iovine offers priceless tips on how to broker billion-dollar deals

Jimmy Iovine offers priceless tips on how to broker billion-dollar deals
Jimmy Iovine (Photo Credit: Gari Askew)

Jimmy Iovine is touted as the music industry is ever-evolving the legendary and with good reason. He and Dr. Dre co-founded and sold Beats Electronics to Apple for $3 billion in 2014 – including $2.6 billion cash up front and approximately $400 million in stock that will vest over time. Iovine now runs Apple Music, which according to Billboard now counts well over 30 million ­paying ­subscribers

During a private dinner with the music icon and director Allen Hughes for THE DEFIANT ONES – which just received two noms for the NAACP Image for Outstanding Documentary (Television), Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television) – Iovine shares insights and perspectives. The Defiant Ones, which stars Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine,

On the AT&T and Time Warner merger…

You’re going to see a lot of that. They need people that understand both languages. To make it simple, when an engineer connects with someone in the content department, they each have to know why the other person does what they do. Not just what the what.

The artist has to understand that the engineer is as much an artist as he is and the engineer … they each must understand both disciplines.

With AT&T and Warner, somebody there must understand both languages or else it is going to be a mess.

On his pivot from music producing to the business side…

I was very fortunate to have a friend in David Geffen, who doesn’t hesitate to tell me very directly what is or what isn’t. As business is concerned, he is an extraordinary mentor. I didn’t know I could do that, when I saw him doing it, I said “Oh.”

[Geffen is the co-founder/founder of record labels Asylum Records, Geffen Records and DGC Records, as well as film studio DreamWorks.]

When I find people I connect with – I’m Italian, I grew up Catholic in Brooklyn – I found a rabbi when I was 52. It changed my life. I was looking for somebody to get some answers. If I meet someone like Steve Jobs, I want to know why they do what they do – and then you become of service. I want to make my self as useful as possible. To be very frank, if I want to learn something, I still do that. The day that I am not willing to that, I go from [email protected] to [email protected]. I’ve already taken that domain. In my email, there is not one pending email. I respond to every email whether I know the people or not. If they have something to open, I don’t open it. But, I respond to every email. I grew up, you turn over every rock. You are always looking for magic.

On actually finding magic..

I worked seven days at Interscope. If you played golf or went on honeymoons, I would become really annoyed if I couldn’t find you. Tom Whalley [head of A&R for Interscope] played golf for days at a golf convention. One manager brought in an act that Tom really didn’t like. But, I liked the act. Tom went to golf on Friday, I called the manager in and signed the act on Friday afternoon. Tom said, “What did you do?” I said, ?I tried to get you on the phone … but I signed the guy. Too bad, don’t go next time.”

This assistant of mine is on a honeymoon. They bring in this kid named Dean Geistlinger; he was 18-years-old. He’s a street kid. He says, “Jimmy I saw this white guy rap last night at the rap battle and he’s incredible.” I just hear from people that you can’t be white and rap. And, I don’t know. But, I remember guys giving me help when I was 18 years old … being generous. I said, “I tell you what, get the tape and I will give it to Dre.” Now, did I think Eminem would earn a billion dollars for Universal? No. But he did. That’s probably the most unexpected thing.

Jimmy Iovine offers priceless tips on how to broker billion-dollar deals
Allen Hughes and Dr. Dre (Photo Credit: Gari Askew)

Hughes filmed Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre with unfettered access over a three-year period in making The Defiant Ones. The series includes extensive interviews with Dre and Iovine, who speak frankly about their highs and lows as well as interviews with major music icons including: Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube, Jon Landau, Patti Smith, Lady Gaga, Doug Morris, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Diddy, Alonzo Williams and The series also features never-before-seen footage from a multitude of recording and writing sessions with Eazy-E, JJ Fad, Stevie Nicks, N.W.A., Tom Petty, The D.O.C., Bruce Springsteen and U2, among others. It is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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