Apple’s Jimmy Iovine may be a record industry titan, but he appears to be tone deaf when it comes to women.
During an interview Thursday on “CBS This Morning,” Iovine expressed doubts about women’s ability to find music.
“Women find it very difficult at times — some women — to find music, and this helps make it easier with playlists,” he said while sitting next to Mary J. Blige.
The 62-year-old record industry veteran co-founded Interscope Records and now heads up Apple Music, Apple’s $10-a-month music streaming service.
Iovine was on “CBS This Morning” alongside Blige to talk about the newest Apple Music ad. Similar to a previous ad, it shows Blige, Taraji P. Henson, and Kerry Washington laughing, dancing and bonding while listening to music.
Apple has received praise for the refreshing spots, which were directed by Ava DuVernay.
Iovine came up with the original idea for the ads. He said Apple originally wanted Oprah to be in them as well. Unfortunately for Iovine, he attempted to elaborate on his creative process.
“I just thought of a problem, you know. Girls are sitting around talking about boys, right? Or complaining about boys because they’ve had their heart broken or whatever. And they need music for that,” said Iovine. “It’s hard to find the right music. Not everybody has the right list or knows a DJ.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2014, Apple purchased Beats Electronics and Beats Music, the headphone and streaming companies Iovine founded with Dr. Dre. Iovine came to work at Apple and helped the company turn Beats into Apple Music. Iovine had previously worked closely with Apple for many years, going back to the birth of iTunes.
At the end of October, Apple Music said it had 6.5 million paying subscribers. Its biggest competitor Spotify has more than 20 million subscribers. Reviews of Apple’s service have mixed, but its ads were instant successes.
“It was a genius ideas to have girls, because that’s what we do, we sit and listen to music,” said Blige. The nine-time Grammy Award winner did not say if she struggled to find music.
Update: Iovine issued an apology for his statements on Thursday evening. “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.”