WATCH: Apple Music Head Suggests Women Can’t Find Music, Apologizes
Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine has come under fire for a saying during a sit-down TV interview that Apple Music can help “girls” who have problems finding songs to listen to.
When talking about Apple Music’s curated playlists on CBS This Morning, Iovine said, “women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music. And this helps makes it easier with playlists, curated by real people.”
Next to Iovine was “Be Without You” singer Mary J. Blige, who was recruited to promote Apple Music in a new female-centric commercial. After she spoke about the commercial, Iovine shared his inspiration for the Apple Music playlists.
“I just thought of a problem,” Iovine said. “Girls are sitting around talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, when they have their heart broken, or whatever. And they need music for that, right? It’s hard to find the right music. Not everyone has the right lists or knows a DJ.”
— Tumblr (@tumblr) November 23, 2015
His remarks have since sparked outrage in the media and on the Internet.
CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk wrote,
“Perhaps not everybody knows a woman, either. Can it really be that one gender has such a grasp of music-finding when life is grinding, while the other struggles in an echoing vacuum of doom? Does Apple have research that shows women do, indeed, have this special problem? The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”
The New York Observer’s social media editor Ilana Kaplan tweeted she “blacked out in rage and wrote” and wrote an op-ed about the interview.
“Thank you for dumbing down women everywhere, Mr. Iovine. As if we couldn’t use our tiny brains to discover music all on our own.”
Iovine has since issued an apology statement for his remarks.
“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.”
But CBS This Morning host Gayle King came to the defense of Iovine on Twitter.
“I get the point that he was making,” she said later on Friday’s CBS This Morning.
Yet, Iovine’s comments highlight the way the tech industry views and targets women.
— CNET (@CNET) November 23, 2015
Women are an important demographic of the music industry, spending more on music than men, according to a 2011 study by IPC Research. Surveys from NME and Uncut found women in the UK ended up spending 7 million British pounds – about 10 million U.S. dollars – more than men on music products, according to the research.
Regardless of women being important music consumers for tech companies like Apple, Spotify, and Pandora, they still face employment disparity in the technology sector.
At the same time, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, who unsuccessfully sued venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins for sexist pay discrimination, says that progress has been made in the fight for women in tech.
“… we have really made some meaningful progress,” Pao said in an essay outlining her struggle for actress and writer Lena Dunham on Tuesday.
Yet, Pao said the fight wasn’t over and that women should “speak up.”
“Don’t be silent. Sharing my story privately, and eventually publicly, meant a lot to me and to others,” she said. “Women and men are talking about gender and discrimination issues across the globe.”
Watch what you make of the interview yourself, courtesy of CBS.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]