Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine will reportedly step back from the company and take on a less hands-on “consulting role,” new reports suggest. The leak resurrects rumors from earlier this year that Iovine – who joined Apple Music when Apple acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music in 2014 – plans to leave the Cupertino firm, which at the time were strongly denied by executives.
Iovine, with Dr. Dre, founded the Beats companies and built them into one of the most recognizable brands in headphones and other music-related accessories. That caught the attention of Apple, which was looking to bolster not only its streaming offerings but gain some credibility from Iovine and Dre’s reputation in the industry.
Now, according to sources speaking to the WSJ, Iovine is pulling back. While he will remain an Apple consultant, he will no longer be involved day to day with Apple Music’s operations, the report suggests. Iovine will step in “as needed,” with Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue at the helm of the product.
According to the sources, Iovine’s public reason for the transition is to spend more time with his family. However, sources close to the executive say that there was also something of a culture shock involved in going from Beats to Apple. The goal of the latter of “appealing to the masses” was a stark contrast from the more “edgy culture” that he’d been familiar with, it’s suggested.
Whatever the reason, it won’t leave him out of pocket. Although the bulk of the Apple stock he received upon joining Apple in 2014 has already vested, there’s still some he’s been waiting on. That will occur in August, which is when he’s reported to be adopting this new consulting role.
Exactly what will happen with Apple Music management next remains to be seen. Currently, day to day business is said to be handled predominantly by Jeff Robbin, on the engineering side, and Robert Kondrk, on the business side, though neither has a particularly public-facing profile. That might continue, with an external candidate brought in to take over Iovine’s position as Apple Music’s most visible figurehead. Alternatively, one or both could be promoted internally.
Reports back in January suggested Iovine was leaving Apple Music altogether. At the time, both he and Apple denied the claims, with Iovine insisting that “I am in the band.”