While Jimmy Iovine is best known as one of the music industry’s biggest power players — a cofounder of both Interscope Records and the Beats by Dre headphone empire, and as an Apple Music executive — he began his career as music producer and engineer, working with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, John Lennon, Patti Smith, U2, Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits and many others from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s.The ever-growing Hipgnosis Songs, which has invested more than $1.5 billion in...
From sweeping up the floors of New York’s Record Plant to earning a sweet $3 billion for selling his headphones-turned-streaming company Beats Music to Apple, the Brooklyn-born Italian-American kid had made an impressive mark on the entertainment business, rivaling the success of his role model David Geffen.
Iovine was enlisted as a tape operator on John Lennon’s “Rock and Roll” album, then served as engineer on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” before becoming a hit producer on Patti Smith’s “Easter,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Damn the Torpedoes,” U2’s “Rattle and Hum” and Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna,” among other seminal releases of the 70s and 80s.
In 1989, he teamed with department store heir Ted Field and founded Interscope Records, eventually becoming the premiere label for rappers. That led to business dealings with Suge Knight’s notorious Death Row Records, which yielded successful releases by Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, then a partnership with N.W.A producer Andre Young (Dr. Dre) for the Aftermath label, where the two discovered Eminem. The label also released albums by such trailblazers as Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, and No Doubt, among others.
Having first made his mark as an executive at Warner Music Group, political pressure forced Iovine to leave the comfort of WMG for Universal, where Interscope eventually absorbed both the A&M and Geffen labels. In 2008, Iovine took a left turn from the record business, co-founding the headphone company Beats By Dre with Young, and expanding into the digital world with a short-lived streaming service dubbed Daisy. In 2013, the pair donated $70 million to University of Southern California to create the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
When Apple acquired Beats Electronics in 2014, Iovine was put in charge of the company’s newly launched streaming music initiative. HBO aired a four-part documentary about Iovine and Dre, “The Defiant Ones,” over the summer, detailing the pair’s rise and successful partnership.