A Music-Industry Captain Drops Some Science For The Masses

noah | February 20, 2008 1:00 am

Have you ever wondered what it’s like in the executive suites of the major labels? The fast thinking that goes on there, the lightning-quick decisions that get made, the sheer mental power that’s exhibited every time one of the handsomely paid people at the top opens their mouth? Well, get ready to get disappointed! The above video is a 20-minute interview with Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine, and throughout, the bigwig not only looks like he needs some extra coffee, he accuses ungrateful artists of wanting to emulate Shaggy and calls will.i.am a “genius.” For those of you who would rather watch outtakes of the Gene Simmons sex tape than slog through the whole thing, I’ve compiled a few highlights after the jump!

On how the record industry has failed “This business has never had a relationship with its customer.”

On stoking hopefuls’ needs “It’s not hard to get a record deal. The heat has to come with it. It has to be really, really good … or someone has to believe it’s really, really good.”

On the present-day nature of the business “The reason why music is in trouble on the Internet is ’cause it’s the best app, ’cause it flows through that thing like water.”

On the future of the business “Whatever it is, there’ll be someone to organize it and put it together, and it’ll be called a record company.”

On staying current with his label’s priorities “Four million people watched Soulja Boy.” (NB: The official “Crank That” video currently has 32 million-plus views.)

On who should take the blame when an album flops “The hardest thing for any artist to do is look in the mirror and say [the reason for the album flopping] was me…. Everybody wants to be Shaggy and say, ‘It wasn’t me.’ …. ‘My album was great, it wasn’t me, it was that building.'”

On why albums do flop “A lot of times, the music’s stupid.”

On the soul-crushing sameness of present-day rock radio “If you put on alternative radio, the guitars sound exactly the same … a lot of people blame the record companies for that, but it’s not the record companies. It’s got to do with the lack of imagination that we’re going through right now in certain areas of music, and kids think they’re supposed to copy things on television, or on the Internet.”

On that note, the current musicians who Iovine thinks are geniuses Pharrell, Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Akon, and the “still not on the Billboard 200 despite everyone else getting a Grammy bump” will.i.am. (So wait, is it always the music that’s stupid, then?)

Interview: Jimmy Iovine [Crazed Hits via The Velvet Rope]