Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is expected to leave his role at Apple in August, and now The Wall Street Journal reports that he’ll transition into a “consulting role” after that, dropping the daily responsibilities of overseeing the company’s streaming music service. Iovine initially denied that he would be leaving the company in August.
Iovine was one of several high-profile executives Apple brought on when it bought Beats back in 2014. Of them, Iovine was among the most valuable since, as a longtime leader in the music industry, he had the connections to tie Apple to artists and help it work with labels that might be wary of the tech giant venturing into their industry again.
But Iovine hasn’t had a particularly public-facing role for several years now. The Journal reports that, as Apple has scrubbed the edgier Beats Music brand in favor of the cleaner, more broadly appealing Apple Music name, Iovine has been among the executives who found they didn’t quite fit in.
It’s likely that Iovine’s departure is mutual. The Journal points out that his compensation from the Beats acquisition fully vests in August, and the consulting role seems like a win-win for both parties: Apple gets to retain Iovine’s music industry advice, while freeing the company of someone who doesn’t necessarily embody its culture of absolute secrecy, and Iovine gets to leave a company that may not be as interested in his input as the ones he’s used to controlling.
The Journal reports that the other high-profile executives who joined Apple after the Beats acquisition have all either left or become less involved with the company since the time. That includes Dr. Dre, who was supposed to be making an Apple Music video series last year, which has yet to premiere.
Despite losing some of Beats’ top talent, Apple Music has grown to be surprisingly successful. It’s said to be on track to surpass Spotify in US subscribers this summer and currently has 38 million subscribers total. However, the Journal also points out that Beats has been losing headphone market share in the US — though it’s likely that Apple itself is stealing some of its market share with the AirPods.