Today, Iovine leads Apple Music and Morris is CEO of Sony Music. But 15 years ago, they were on USA Network, right after wrestling, with a wild late-night series that was part A&R experiment and part Napster nemesis.

"The minute Napster hit, I thought we were in trouble," remembers Jimmy Iovine, who was running Interscope Records in 1999. "I said, 'This is too simple, too easy and free.' " Soon, every label executive was similarly panicked: What do we do now? Iovine's boss (and friend) Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group, had an idea: a combination label, website and TV show that would collectively function as an A&R "farm club" for Interscope.

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