Episode 228: Jimmy Iovine: Music’s Hidden Mastermind

On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the most important person in the music industry in the past thirty years, the little known (but very influential) Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy was a failed musician who tried his hand at college as a way to avoid the draft to Vietnam. He was an Italian New Yorker from a working class family, and a friend of his sister’s got him a job at a music studio. He got fired. She got him another one. He got fired again. She got him his third job at a studio called the Record Plant, and the rest was history.

One day, after he’d worked there for a while, his boss called him to get him to come answer phones on Easter Sunday. It was a ruse and a test. When Jimmy Iovine got there, he found out John Lennon was there, and they needed him as a sound engineer. From there, he started working with some of the biggest in the business. He worked on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. He worked with Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, U2, and a host of major artists.

By now, he was one of the top producers in the business, and he eventually opened his own record label, Interscope. Iovine spent a year avoiding all other work except trying to get Trent Reznor out of his contract, so he could sign Nine Inch Nails. He succeeded. Then, he teamed with Death Row and signed Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Tupac.

He was so involved with the East Coast/West Coast war that he had to wear a bullet proof vest around LA. He kept working, developing No Doubt, The Black-eyed Peas, Primus, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Marylyn Manson, Eminem, 50 Cent, and endless others. But what really cemented his legacy was the backdoor work he did with Steve Jobs.

He predicted the demise of commercial albums and was influential in the birth of iPod and iTunes, and he was the co-founder of Beats along with Dr. Dre. He, in fact, was instrumental in working the deal to sell Beats for $3.2 Billion dollars (half of which is his!). This episode is a must for any music fan. From the Beatles to Gangster Rap, Jimmy Iovine was at the center of it, developing artists, developing sounds, and developing technology that have completely redefined the modern music industry.

If you want more info, check out HBO’s The Defiant Ones which was the inspriation for this episode. http://www.hbo.com/the-defiant-ones

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