Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine Transitioning Into ‘Consulting Role’ This August

Following rumors of his plans to leave Apple earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal today reported that Jimmy Iovine will transition into a "consulting role" with Apple Music this August. Iovine won't completely leave Apple and his involvement with Apple Music behind, but will step back from daily involvement, people familiar with his plans stated.

At the time of the original rumor, Iovine denied he would leave the company: "I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band." As of now, it's unclear what exactly he will be doing in his consulting role with the streaming music service, but upon his transition he will no longer be the public face of Apple Music.


Iovine reportedly plans to spend more time with his family while at the same time supporting Apple Music and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue "as needed." According to people close to Iovine, the transition from Beats' "edgy culture" to Apple's focus on "appealing to the masses" proved to be a challenge.

While Iovine was the public face of Apple Music and held meetings with employees and artists in Los Angeles, in recent years "most of Apple Music's operations" had been designated to Robert Kondrk and Jeff Robbin, overseeing business and engineering sides respectively. Cue is said to now be deciding on whether to continue divvying up responsibilities between Kondrk and Robbin, promoting one to a more public role, or hiring someone outside of Apple to become the new Iovine.

Iovine has been with the Apple Music team since 2014, when Apple acquired Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service, both of which were co-founded by Iovine and Dr. Dre. Before that acquisition, Iovine has had a long history with Apple, first pitching a subscription music service to Steve Jobs in 2003.

Iovine's transitioning this August will be timed with the vesting of stock he acquired when first joining Apple. In January, he said that the bulk of his stock "vested a long time ago," and while a tiny portion remains unvested, it's "not what [he] thinks about." Still, the people familiar with his plans have now confirmed that the timing of his transition is in some part "linked" to the Apple shares he received in the Beats acquisition.

According to the WSJ, Iovine's stepping back from leadership makes him "one of the last" of the Beats team that Apple gained following the acquisition in 2014.
Mr. Iovine is one of the last of a team of prominent music executives Apple gained when it bought Beats Electronics LLC in 2014 for $3 billion. Former Chief Executive Ian Rogers, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, another top Beats executive, have all left or distanced themselves from the company since the Apple deal, people familiar with the business said. Beats President Luke Wood, who oversees the headphone business, remains.
In his time at Apple, Iovine grew Apple Music to amass 36 million subscribers as of March 2018, while also pushing for the service to include more than just music and helping to launch shows like Carpool Karaoke. Before the launch of that show, as well as Planet of the Apps, Iovine said he hoped Apple Music would be "an entire pop cultural experience."


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Jimmy Iovine Dismisses Rumors Suggesting He Plans to Leave Apple

Last week, rumors from several sources suggested Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine was planning to leave Apple in August following the final vesting of his stock, but Iovine yesterday told Variety that he isn't going to leave the company.

Iovine made the comments at the Grammy Museum during a Q&A session held to promote "The Defiant Ones," a documentary about his career and friendship with Dr. Dre. According to Iovine, he is committed to helping iTunes chief Eddy Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook continue to grow Apple Music and take it "all the way."

"I am almost 65, have been with Apple for four years and in 2 1/2 years the [Apple Music] service has gotten to well over 30 million subscribers and Beats has continued its successful run. But there's still a lot more we'd like to do. I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band."
While Iovine did confirm that the final portion of the stock he was granted when Apple acquired Beats will vest in August, he says the bulk of his stock "vested a long time ago." A tiny portion remains unvested, but it's "not what [he] thinks about."
"The bottom line is I'm loyal to the guys at Apple. I love Apple, and I really love musicians. That's why those articles annoyed me, because it had nothing to do with reality. It made it out to be all about money."
Iovine plans to continue to help the streaming music industry advance, and while he says he'll "eventually" need to slow down, that's not happening soon. His goal is to get streaming music right.

According to Iovine the streaming music industry needs to become "more interesting" to be successful, following in the footsteps of companies like Netflix with original content. Apple has been focusing heavily on original content with exclusive music-related documentaries and television shows like "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke: The Series," which have debuted on Apple Music, and it is delving into serious original content programming with several new TV shows on order.

Iovine first joined the Apple Music team in 2014 when Apple acquired Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service, both of which were co-founded by Iovine and Dr. Dre. Iovine has a much longer history with the company, though, first pitching a subscription music service to Steve Jobs in 2003.

Though Iovine has no official title at Apple, he has been heavily involved in Apple Music since its 2015 launch and has negotiated many of the streaming deals for the service alongside Eddy Cue, Dr. Dre, Robert Kondrk, Trent Reznor, and other Apple Music execs.

Under Iovine's leadership, Apple Music has seen strong growth, with the service now boasting more than 30 million subscribers.


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Jimmy Iovine Allegedly Planning to Leave Apple in August

Apple Music exec Jimmy Iovine, who works alongside Dr. Dre, Eddy Cue, Robert Kondrk, Trent Reznor and other prominent executives is planning to leave Apple in August, reports Billboard.

The rumor about Iovine's alleged departure from Apple first surfaced on music rumor site Hits Daily Double, but Billboard says its sources have confirmed the news. According to Billboard, Iovine's exit will be timed with the vesting of stock he acquired when first joining Apple.

Iovine joined the Apple Music team back in 2014, when Apple acquired Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service, both of which were co-founded by Iovine and Dr. Dre. Iovine has had a long history with the company, though, first pitching a subscription music service to Steve Jobs in 2003.

Iovine does not have an official title at Apple, but he has been heavily involved in with Apple Music since its 2015 launch and has negotiated many of the streaming deals for the service.

Under Iovine's leadership, Apple music has seen strong growth since its debut, with the service now boasting more than 30 million subscribers.

Should Iovine leave Apple, it's not clear if he would be replaced, nor what his plans are after departing the company.


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Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine: ‘Streaming Services Have a Bad Situation’

Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine sat down for an interview recently with Billboard to talk about The Defiant Ones, a four-part documentary series that focuses on the careers of both Iovine and his long-time partner Dr. Dre.

During the interview, Iovine commented on the state of the streaming music industry and the precarious position of companies focused solely on streaming music, like Spotify.
"The streaming services have a bad situation, there's no margins, they're not making any money," he said. "Amazon sells Prime; Apple sells telephones and iPads; Spotify, they're going to have to figure out a way to get that audience to buy something else. If tomorrow morning [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos wakes up and says, 'You know what? I heard the word "$7.99" I don't know what it means, and someone says, 'Why don't we try $7.99 for music?' Woah, guess what happens?"
Streaming music, says Iovine, is "fine" with major companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, but it's "not a great business" for standalone companies like Spotify. "They have to figure out a way to show the road to making this a real business," he said.

Iovine went on to explain that the record industry doesn't yet know "where technology is gonna go," and that things could shift at any moment with the debut of software and hardware breakthroughs. Referencing the 8-track, cassette tape, and CD, Iovine says companies need to adapt and "figure out their role."

According to Iovine, streaming services that offer content for free undermine the music industry and present a major problem that's not something television providers like Netflix have to deal with. Streaming services all offer the same general content, making it difficult to convince customers to pay when content is available elsewhere at no cost.
"So Netflix has all that original stuff and it's $11.99," he said. "Music, everybody has everything, plus the free tiers, every song is on YouTube, so how can they charge $11.99 to a consumer? I'm like, no. I'm gonna buy this and get the music for free.... It's a massive problem."
Iovine's opinion on free music is likely one of the reasons why Apple is focusing heavily on exclusive content. Apple has purchased the rights to air multiple exclusive documentaries, and the company is working on exclusive television shows much like Netflix, with the aim of drawing in customers with original content.

So far, two shows have premiered exclusively on Apple Music: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series. Apple has other television shows in the works, including an Amazing Stories reboot with Steven Spielberg and a morning talk show drama that will star Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Apple has not yet confirmed these new shows will be exclusive to Apple Music, but it's a possibility, and it's also possible Apple is planning on some kind of future service that offers both music and television content.

Jimmy Iovine's full interview, which goes into further detail on streaming services and covers The Defiant Ones, can be read over at Billboard.


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Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Break Ground on Their New USC Academy Opening in 2019

Apple employees Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre this week broke ground on The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, a new academy named after the two men opening at the University of Southern California in 2019 (via USC News). The academy will focus on four areas of study: art and design; engineering and computer science; business and venture management; and communication.

The origins of the academy date back to 2013, when Iovine and Dr. Dre donated $70 million to help create the 10,000 square foot academy. Although the first building won't open for another two years -- called the "Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Hall" -- some of the academy's programs and classes are being run within other USC buildings. In total, 114 students are already taking part in Iovine's and Dr. Dre's new program, and are set to graduate next May.

Image via Gus Ruela/USC Photo
“It will stoke the fire of students’ imaginations, and it will propel the next generations of inventions and products that will transform our lives,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I hope at this school we can help our students to dream big, execute and build the courage to stay in the saddle,” Iovine said Wednesday.
One of the academy's programs includes an annual pitch competition where students have the opportunity to win $10,000 to help grow an original idea, and a few enrolled in its programs have recently received internships at Facebook, Hulu, Sony, and Oculus. To get into the academy, students described "the most intense application process," where they first submit a portfolio and video of their own idea or business proposal, and then sit down for an interview with a panel of 10 people.

In a profile by The Wall Street Journal in 2014, Iovine explained that the academy was built to prepare students to "speak both languages" of technology and liberal arts. The Apple Music executive also said that one of the goals of backing the academy is to "find kids who can work at Beats or at Apple."


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Apple Music Now Has Over 30M Paid Subscribers, Up from 27M in June

In an interview with Billboard posted today, Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine has discussed a number of topics related to the streaming music service's "long game," including its growth over the past three months. At WWDC in June, Apple mentioned that Apple Music had 27 million paid subscribers, and today the company confirmed to Billboard that it has now reached "well over" 30 million.


Iovine was enthusiastic about Apple Music's growth, but admitted that simply adding more subscribers, launching entire back catalogues through record label deals, and staying on the forefront of new hits isn't enough to maintain Apple's presence in the streaming music market. "I just don't think streaming is enough as it is," he said.
“I believe we’re in the right place, we have the right people and the right attitude to not settle for what exists right now.” But ultimately? “Just because we’re adding millions of subscribers and the old catalog numbers are going up, that’s not the trick. That’s just not going to hold.”

"I just don’t think streaming is enough as it is. I don’t agree that all things are going to be OK [just] because Apple came into streaming and the numbers went up. Look at the catalog: It’s a matter of time before the ’60s become the ’50s and the ’50s become the ’40s. The people that are listening to the ’60s will die -- I’m one of them. Life goes on. So you have to help the artists create new stuff that they would never be able to do on their own."
Apple Music's main rival remains Spotify, which counted 60 million paid subscribers in July. Spotify has continued to grow faster than Apple Music thanks to the former streaming service's free tier that allows users to listen to music interspersed with advertisements, which Apple Music does not have.

Apple's offer for new users is a three-month free trial to test out the service before deciding to pay the $9.99/month price point. In May, Iovine said that if Apple Music did have a free tier, "it would have 400 million people on it" and make his job easier, but he and Apple believe in focusing everything into creating a quality experience for the people who are paid subscribers, making them "feel special" in the process.

Check out Billboard's full interview with Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and Larry Jackson right here. Other topics discussed include how the Apple Music team discovers new artists, Spotify's plan to go public, and Iovine's belief that while Apple Music is good where it's at, the company is "not even close" to being done with iterating and adding onto its features.


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