Jimmy Iovine, leader of Apple Inc’s music-streaming service, is planning to part ways with the company in August after receiving a final payout from the $3 billion Beats Electronics deal, according to a person familiar with the matter. Iovine, 64, is unlikely to stay even if he gets a new offer, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The longtime record-label executive’s vision for Apple’s music and video projects has sometimes clashed with the views of others at the company, including Eddy Cue, who runs the services business.
Under Iovine, Apple Music has vaulted into second place in streaming music, with 30 million subscribers as of September. That number still pales in comparison to market leader Spotify, which disclosed Thursday that it now counts 70 million paying members. Iovine had ordered up video series to give Apple Music more exclusive features to entice subscribers, but projects such as ‘Planet of the Apps’ and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ haven’t built much buzz. Cue’s division has moved forward with its own plans for a slate of original shows, which may not be part of Apple Music.
“A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists,” Iovine said in an interview early last year. “I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.” Hits Daily Double reported Iovine’s impending departure earlier Thursday. Apple declined to comment.
Iovine’s expertise and industry contacts were primary motivations for Apple’s 2014 purchase of Beats, the biggest acquisition in company history. Iovine worked with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, U2, Eminem and Tupac during his career in the record business. Iovine thrived by trusting his gut, often against the wishes of his superiors. While that usually worked in the freewheeling record business, that approach induced conflict at Apple.