Music producer, label executive and headphone scion Jimmy Iovine is now reportedly leaving Apple, according to reports surfacing Thursday. Hits Daily Double first tipped the departure, which is apparently slated for August this year.
Earlier, Iovine helmed Beats by Dre before Apple acquired the headphones manufacturer for $3 billion and change. The headphone brand was also complemented by Beats Music, itself an rebranded acquisition the struggling MOG. Since the juicy buyout, Iovine has been playing an active role at the consumer electronics giant, particularly within Apple Music.
Apparently that relationship isn’t going as smoothly as we thought, though these things happen with restless founders. Accordingly, August apparently coincides with Iovine’s vesting date, which basically means ‘there isn’t a cultural fit’.
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Exactly what this means for Apple Music is anyone’s guess.
Iovine championed a paid-only approach, one that boosted payouts to artists while aiming to improve streaming monetization overall. That contrasts starkly with Spotify’s ‘freemium funnel’ approach, which is rapidly boosting paying subscribers — and possibly minting a new class billionaires in the process.
Just this week, Spotify reached 70 million paying subscribers, with overall users easily topping 150 million. At last count, Apple Music was hovering around 30 million subs.
That said, Iovine had some salty words for Spotify’s shaky business model. “The streaming business is not a great business,” Iovine noted last year. “It’s fine with the big companies: Amazon, Apple, Google… Of course it’s a small piece their business, very cool, but Spotify is the only standalone, right? So they have to figure out a way to show the road to making this a real business.”
Then there’s the question Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre. The rapper was ushered into Apple’s executive ranks with the Beats acquisition, though issues involving violence against women may have marred his tenure. Frankly, we’re unsure if Dre is still part the Cupertino family.
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No indication yet on where Iovine is headed next. But we have a feeling it’ll be a quiet year for the executive.