On Larry King Live…
Larry King: You told Page Six recently ‘everything around music is so 2000s, like 2003.’ What did you mean?
will.i.am: The business of music, the industry, still operates as if we’re making hard goods. When the way we consume music is, ‘did you hear that new song check it out,’ then you go to Google, you just go to YouTube.
King: We had three very successful musicians, from three generations on the show. Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Melissa Etheridge and T-Pain… all of them said the music industry is not in a good place.
will.i.am: No, it’s not. Before, Michael Jackson would compete with Prince. The Rolling Stones would compete with the Beatles. Sly & the Family Stone would compete with… ya know, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores.
Music is not competing with Instagram. Music is not competing with Twitter. Music is not competing with the other thing, mindshare.
Before you used to listen to music in your room, or drive, and that was your mindshare. So in the world of mindshare, how does music compare with Instagram, where you are refreshing every five minutes? The average amount of time that someone spends looking at their phone is about six hours a day. That’s a lot of mindshare.
So how much of that is associated with music? So, as an industry, what are we doing to compete? We don’t even have our own platform, we borrow everyone else’s.
You would have thought that the major three would have created a platform by now. You would have thought that WhatsApp was ours. You would have thought, right, we have — we adopt everybody’s platforms and socialize on that.
Twitter was built by us, Instagram was built by us… you would think we would have our own thing by now.
So, after our success with Beats, I developed this company [new smartwatch venture Pulse]. So, you have the music industry, and inside the music industry you have Beats.
So what we accomplished with Beats is what the record industry hadn’t done, I don’t know, ever.
King: Beats was your idea.
will.i.am: No, no. It was my idea to do hardware, I told Jimmy [Iovine] that we should do hardware. Beats was Jimmy’s idea with Dre and he brought me on board to be a part of the company. Actually, the first time I ever — I think the first time that Beats was shown on television was the interview that we did, with Maya Angelou in 2008, I had Beats on my head, on my neck.
will.i.am: Yeah, those were prototypes.
The complete interview, here.