Jimmy Iovine: “There’s an Ocean of Music Out There, and Absolutely No Curation for It…”

The Beats music store (aka, ‘Daisy’) is tentatively launching this summer, according to its conceptualizer, Jimmy Iovine.  And a major thrust for the service will be programming, curation, and discovery.  In a discussion this week with Walt Mossberg at D: Dive In Media, Iovine boldly proclaimed that “most technology companies are culturally inept,” while noting that “they’re not going to get curation right.”

So, is everyone simply doing it wrong?  Yes, according to Iovine.

“There’s a sea of music, there’s an ocean of music out there, and there’s absolutely no curation for it.”

So does that also mean, by extension, that all of these services are also doing it wrong?










NPR Music

Hype Machine

Sirius XM Radio








The New MySpace

your friends

Amoeba Records



Wolfgang’s Vault



imeem (r.i.p.)

Funkmaster Flex

The Grammys




The Echo Nest

TuneIn Radio



Electric Daisy Carnival



FM radio



Google Play















28 Responses

  1. tippysdemise

    There’s a fine line between curation and payola.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      That may be oversimplifying it some but you have the right idea. Jimmy wants to be paid for his branding.
      I think either he does not know how to discover music on his own OR he believes that consumers are too lazy and stupid to find things on their own or take suggestions from friends.
      or maybe he does not realize that even if a consumer is lazy and stupid every decision that consumer makes on the internet can be tracked with a cookie and then suggestions are made based on that.
      Jimmy is trying to force old business thought process into new digital business models.

      • Jeff Robinson


        What pathetically poor name for a music service!

        It’s gonna be terrible if that name is acceptable to those creating it.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          ‘Daisy’ is just the working code name. According to Iovine, the service will have ‘Beats’ in the it, though the exact name I’m unsure of at this point.

          • Jeff Robinson

            ‘Beats’? Worse. The rap connotation to that word is comical. Jimmy should try and find something with a ‘mass appeal’ quality.

  2. driver49

    Where’s the “Like” button for “it’s a fine line between curation and payola” ?

  3. Rikki

    I agree Ive been a wedding party dj for 25 years do you think any of these companies would hire me, knowing i still have 3000 records and 2000 cd’s…..
    With a weath of information that a punk 22 year old would never get becuse they are so freaking clueless.

    • Visitor

      So do you consider most 22yr olds “punks”? I don’t care if you are a DJ; there’s still a lot even you don’t know. So get off of your high horse.

      • Rikki

        Then who are the 3 elvis’s???
        Who is keith frank Rosie ledet CJ chenier?
        What is zydeco and southern soul music…….real musicians real instruments no fake crap…..incredible live no lip synching…something a 22 would have no clue about.

        • Visitor

          I don’t care about what you know! I care that you are calling most 22 year olds punks! Maybe I should just start calling you a snobby old hipster! You don’t like that do you? But no, I’m better than that. It’s not nice or fair to call a certain group of people something just because you think they are inferior to you. Think before you speak from now on!

          • visitor

            except he didnt call most 22 year olds punks…..you are the one who introduced the word “most” into this conversation.

        • Visitor

          We could all talk about our own knowledge of ‘real’ music and how that makes us better than anyone else but don’t.
          Pipe down you elitist snob.

        • spassky

          I’m glad even the loser wedding DJs can be arrogant self-exceptionalizing pricks about the music business.
          Because owning 3000 copies of the chicken dance remixes somehow qualifies you to denigrate a whole generation of music listeners.
          You’re a deuuuuush

          • Pe Pe Le Pew

            I wonder if he has Electric Slide

    • hank alrich

      I am fortunate to get to interact with many young people, including many young musicians. Most of them know all of those names and more. You need to get out more, because compared to my own experience with contemporary youngsters, you are clueless. And I’m probably old enough to be your father.

  4. zog

    “Curation” from the looks of the comments posted below do any of you have the concept of digital curation? Before we past judgement on Iovine and aka Daisy let him him show his hand.
    Maybe he has something or maybe it’s just PR for Beats but programming and discovery needs to be addressed because as he knows ,where’s the money going to come from to continue in developing talent. You can’t keep buying record company’s at some point there has to a ROI and so far I don’t see that.

  5. Blue Sky Music

    I agree with Mr. Iovine. In particular, he hit the nail on the when he said: “most technology companies are culturally inept.” Even fairly competent aggregators (or digital distirbutors as they prefer to be called these days) simply lack the requisite product knowledge about many aspects of specialist and niche repertoire to make it SEARCHABLE by fans. Now again, this is not a problem for the casual listener looking for Fleetwod Mac or Nickleback, but for classical consumers (who are particularly ill-served by digital media) or World Music mavens – most of the available download and streaming sites are a lost cause!

    • Visitor

      Do you think Jimmy gives a rats ass about classical or world beat.
      I am sure he has know idea what the difference is between Schubert and Schumann or Djembe and Django.
      So don’t get your hopes up.

  6. Rikki STHU

    Jimmy Lovine, wake up and smell the rise of DJ culture. It is Generation X’s and Z’s ultimate living and breathing curator. Say what you like, but the rapidly escalating numbers and revenue being churned out in this sector of the music industry can’t be silenced.
    Now more than ever consumers are discovering music through DJs and paying a pretty penny for it. I’m not saying that this is the sole way that people are discovering music but to say that everybody is doing it wrong is completely erroneous and ignorant.
    In the end it depends on who your target market is. You can overgeneralize the entire population and justify that as a credible means for building a business…stick to the headphone game.

  7. great job, paul

    this post is as thoughtful as a drunken foster parent. the concluding random list of companies really hammers your non-existent point home.

    • paul

      Well thank you! I will try to incorporate some of these suggestions into a follow-up article.
      (that is, as soon as I put down this bottle of booze… wink wink)

      • Good job, Paul

        I thought about itemizing all the points that could have been made, but why would I put more effort into commenting on a vapid blog post than the publisher puts into writing it? I’ve read comments from you on the subject of digital curation before that were thoughtful and displayed insight. you punted on this one. Must be exausting blogging.

  8. Mike McCready

    Pffffffffff…. Ask any of the 1500 industry professionals on Music Xray who are identifying high potential songs and talent by leveraging their collective filtering power and using music analysis software in clever ways.
    This is a joke. There’s NEVER been curation like / as good / as effective / as efficient as this.

  9. radio & records vet

    Perhaps we should decide what “curation” means?

    The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts. -wikidictionary

    If we accept this as the definition, then any collector of specific works would be a curator, right?

    iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc would not be curators, but aggregators in this context.

    I am a curator. I collect, sort, catalogue, and display a specifically regional collection of music. I don’t know much of anything about music outside of the regional subset I collect and catalogue.

    So, what’s Iovine up to, if we accept the technical definition of curation?

    • hippydog

      Quote “Perhaps we should decide what “curation” means? The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts. -wikidictionary”
      I dont know what some of the ‘others’ are talking about..
      But I feel pretty confidant what Jimmy wasy talking about when he said “curation” was what was written above..
      “organizing and maintaining a collection”
      for instance..
      Pandora made waves buy coming up with an “algorithm” and setup a process whereby music can be “related” to each other.. IE: you like these guys? then try this..
      Slacker just announced they are improving things by having DJ’s be their “expert” curators..
      It was important back in then “Album era”, but in the digital age its become even more important in this “sea of noise”.
      So ya..
      Its huge.. the company that becomes the one know for the best “curation” of its collection (wether thats an elite bunch of music snobs, an algorithm, advanced tracking, or just simply DJ’s) WILL be the the ones who win the game, because in the end.. Thats the company with the most usefull service to the consumer AND the Artist!. (IE: you can have access to every song in the world.. but if you cant utilize it, it means nothing)

  10. ann

    don’t forget actual radio stations that offer some of the best curated music streams out there… like WFMU.org

  11. B Elliot

    All in all, I agree with Mr. Iovine,
    The various services out there offer a lot of music, but don’t provide much guidance or curation. So, if I’m a rock guy who’s suddenly gotten interested in jazz, they’re not going to point me in the right direction.
    Or, if I just don’t have the time I used to have to read every web site and magazine to keep up with tens of thousands of releases every year–which I don’t–few of these sites are going to help me find my next favorite song.
    I can’t depend on social–although that seems to be the trend–because not all of my friends have great taste and those that do don’t always share my interests, and the few remaining that do, usually recommend stuff I’ve already heard.
    I know a lot of people who would welcome some decent curation.
    But Digital Music News did get this story a little wrong. For example:
    iTunes had some awesome playlists, just terrific curation, but they seem to have stopped updating them. They were call iTunes Essentials and they were a great introduction to all sorts of music.

    And Beats bought MOG, so aren’t they MOG?
    Personally, I want both objective and subjective recommendations. If I listened to and loved the new My Bloody Valentine release, but didn’t know anything about Dream Pop, I’d like to know there’s a service that’ll help me through.
    Not every subjective curator is going to like what I do, but at least I’m listening to someone with some history of doing this, and I can decide for myself if I want to keep following them or not.