Spend time on the internet and you’ll soon hear some variation on “the grind never stops.” But after nearly 50 years in the music industry, Jimmy Iovine, now 70, begs to differ: “Maybe there’s one person in their 80s or 90s that could be as effective and is in it as much as somebody who’s 40 or even 50, but I don’t want to be that person,” he says, “I want to experiment. I want to do a lot of things. I want to help people, but everywhere I’m involved has great CEOs in it. I’m not the CEO. The hook is not in my mouth. I spit out that hook.”
He’s referring to his decision to leave the music industry around five years ago. Beats, his headphones brand co-founded with Dr. Dre, was sold to Apple for a significant sum in 2014, and Iovine gradually stepped away from leading Interscope Records, which he founded in 1990.
Today, Iovine is certainly not retired, working on multiple educational platforms with Dr. Dre, including the Iovine and Young Center Magnet High School at USC and new high school programs in Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta. Each of Iovine’s educational efforts are focused on dismantling “siloed learning” and fostering an interdisciplinary mindset, collaborating across business, technology, art, and entertainment.
When chatting with Consequence, Iovine was particularly eager to share his philosophy towards educating the next generation: “The only way to learn for the job, for the companies that I’ve been to, whether it’s Google or Apple or Amazon or medicine, you have to understand where these disciplines cross in order to collaborate.” But while he’s keeping his gaze on the future, he finds it easy to look back.
Before founding Interscope Records in 1990, Iovine had been cutting his teeth as an engineer and then record producer for artists like Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, and U2 — his fruitful partnership with Andre Young (Dr. Dre) began in the ’90s, signing significant hip-hop names like Tupac, facilitating the launch of Death Row Records, and eventually founding Beats Electronics in 2008.
His relationship with Dre was highlighted in the 2017 docu-series The Defiant Ones, which premiered on HBO and is now available to stream in full on Hulu. Though their accolades are predominately in the music space, Iovine shares that he doesn’t think of the documentary as a music one, and instead finds it to be about “life and inspiration.”