Bob Pittman: Apple handled streaming situation well

iHeartMedia CEO: Connecting music to fans
iHeartMedia CEO: Connecting music to fans   

While they should have made sure artists were getting paid in the first place, Apple handled Taylor Swift's calling out "extremely well," iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman said Tuesday.

"Nobody gets it right 100 percent of the time," Pittman said in a CNBC "Squawk on the Street" interview at the Cannes Lion Festival. "Taylor spoke out as she should because we should make sure the artists are compensated and paid for their creativity. Otherwise, they can't afford to do it."

On Monday, Apple said it would be paying artists during Apple Music's three-month free trial period after Swift said she would be holding out her "1989" album from the streaming service.

Pittman added that he expected Swift to remain at the forefront of these issues. "She's very smart, and she's very articulate. She articulated the message from the other folks very clearly," he said.

This is still radio's biggest problem

Pittman also added that he still believes monetization remains radio's biggest problem.

"For us, unlike other [media] businesses that keep having to invent new products to make more money, we just have to get more money for what we do," Pittman said, adding that the industry is making progress on the matter.

"Step one was to prove that you do have a superior [return of investment in radio], and when you have a 6-to-1 [ROI] versus a 2-to-1, you go, 'Yeah, I think we can figure out how to make money there.'"