It is no secret that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are one dynamic duo. The two acclaimed huge success with Beats, a music service corporation that took technology innovations and human curating to the next level. Beats by Dre Headphones were acquired by Apple for three billion dollars. Dre and Iovine have decided to join a new aspect of the industry, creating USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, a program meant to inspire young entrepreneurs in the music industry.
Make no mistake: although this program is coming to fruition in the midst of a school that has over 18,000 enrolled undergraduates, it is only accepting less than fifty students per graduating class. The program accepted its first class this August, with a total of thirty-one freshman students. The program seeks to combine the three elements of the music industry and business world today: art, technology, and commerce.
Iovine announced this new school at the University of Southern California when he gave a commencement speech there last May. He spoke about the goal of the program, stating that Dre and himself are seeking to “inspire, challenge, and satisfy the curiosity of the next wave of game-changers.” The two entrepreneurs hope to lead the transformation to a new wave of industry professionals.
The duo used $70 million of their acquired revenue from their sale to Apple in order to bring their USC program to life. The Iovine/Dre School seeks to bridge the gap between advances in technology and liberal arts. Iovine explains this as an investment in the future of the industry, creating a necessary middle ground that strives to maintain old school industry practices with newfound innovations.
Dre and Iovine have been key figures in the music world for decades. From Dre’s success with his hip-hop career as a member of N.W.A and later, a producer, to Iovine’s business endeavors and marketing experience, the duo acquires over sixty years of knowledge.
Hip-Hop artist, Eminem, flew out to New York City this past week to honor the two innovators at the fourth annual WSJ Magazine’s Innovator Awards. The rapper joked about the power Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have, saying, “As an example of how powerful they are, they got me to fly here all the way from Detroit to speak publicly. And I really hate public speaking.”
Amongst the current Iovine and Young Academy Freshman class are more than just music lovers with a passion for the industry. Iovine and Dre were very selective when auditioning their entry-level class, choosing inventors instead of just eighteen year olds with a hunger for fame. One student is the creator of a suit which uses friction to generate electricity. Another is an accomplished guitarist with an audition tape that was enough to give Dr. Dre chills.
This academy is aiming to reshape the future of the music industry, training its students to think outside of the box, instead of inside of the label. With radio plays declining alongside record sales, it’s no secret that the music world is striving to find ways to generate revenue. As a country, we’ve gone from crowding around a 9×9 inch television set to watch our favorite band perform live for the first time, to resorting to watching a concert streamed over YouTube so we don’t have to leave our living rooms. Whether you consider this lazy or resourceful, the bottom line is, things are changing for the music industry, and Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are at the forefront of fostering new innovations to keep up with these changes.