Beats co-founder and legendary record producer Jimmy Iovine will be leaving Apple Music in August once his shares with the Cupertino tech giant is vested, according to multiple media outlets on Thursday.
Before founding Beats headphones, Iovine was known as a star-making music executive, creating Interscope Records in 1990 and signing distribution rights for legendary rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. With Dr. Dre, Iovine founded the popular Beats headphone line, which they sold to Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.
But some argue that it was Iovine, not the headphones, who was worth the $3 billion. A Bloomberg profile on Apple in 2015 pointed that Apple spent the money to acquire Iovine’s “savant-like knowledge of the music business.”
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Iovine’s ties with Apple go more than a decade back, when Iovine met Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue, the head of Apple Music. Iovine was a big supporter of the iPod and iTunes, according to Billboard. Billboard and Hits Daily Double, a music trade publication, helped break the story of Iovine’s planned departure.
Iovine, who did not have a title at Apple Music, saw Apple Music grow into a music-streaming powerhouse. In September 2017, Apple Music reached more than 30 million subscribers and saw 17 percent growth in the first half of 2017 compared to a year prior.
However, Apple Music still lags behind Swedish streaming powerhouse Spotify, which recently announced it now has more than 70 million subscribers.
Not all of Iovine’s time at Apple was smooth. In November 2015, Iovine publicly apologized for sexist comments. He said the impetus for Apple Music came when he thought of “girls… sitting around talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, when they have their heart broken or whatever” and need music to match their moods.
“We created Apple Music to make finding the right music easier for everyone — men and women, young and old,” said Apple and Iovine in a statement. “Our new ad focuses on women, which is why I answered the way I did, but of course the same applies equally for men. I could have chosen my words better, and I apologize.”
In a September interview with Billboard, Iovine said he wanted to continue making music streaming bigger and better after Apple Music.
“I’m 64 years old. I have no idea,” said Iovine. “There’s just a problem here that needs some sort of solution, and I want to contribute to it. Goldman Sachs may think it’s solved, but I don’t. We’re not even close.”
Photo: From left, music entrepreneur and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, and Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue at Apple headquarters in Cupertino on May 28, 2014. (Paul Sakuma/AP)
Tags: Apple Music, iPod, iTunes, jimmy iovine