It’s time to congratulate masterful record producer—and head of Apple Music—Jimmy Iovine for winning the coveted “Severely Out of Touch” award. There were a few strong contenders this week, but with his little speech about women and music on CBS This Morning yesterday, Iovine took home the top prize.
His interview, which also featured Mary J. Blige, started out as a puff piece about Apple Music’s mega-hit ad directed by Ava DuVernay and featuring Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, and Blige, but things started to go south quickly when Iovine took a stab at trying to figure out why the commercial resonated so well with, well, just about everyone. His take on why it was so popular? Women can’t seem to find/understand music and need Apple Music to help. Oh, how interesting! It’s amazing that I never thought about this silly (and awesome) commercial about your product that way. Do go on, Jimmy:
So I always knew that women find it very difficult at times—some women—to find music. And this helps makes it easier with playlists, curated by real people. They’re not made by algorithms alone, they’re made by algorithms but with a human touch. I just thought of a problem, you know: girls are sitting around, you know, talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, you know, when they’re heartbroken or whatever. And they need music for that, right? So it’s hard to find the right music, you know. Not everybody has the right lists, or knows a DJ or something.
Beyond the fact that this starts with the infuriating phrase “I always knew that women” and insinuates that women only need music to get through being “heartbroken or whatever,” Iovine truly showed his mastery of being out of touch with the tired stereotype that women need “a human touch” to interact with something. This does a disservice to women who help create these products and help pioneer new technologies on a daily basis, and it reduces men to beings that don’t need or want any sort of emotional/personal interaction when it comes to their music.
Late last night, Iovine accepted his award with an official apology:
We created Apple Music to make finding the right music easier for everyone—men and women, young and old. Our new ad focuses on women, which is why I answered the way I did, but of course the same applies equally for men. I could have chosen my words better, and I apologize.
Well done, Jimmy. Your award statue is in the mail. Watch the original interview video here.