After responding to a slough of rumors saying that he was leaving Apple entirely, music executive and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is reportedly transitioning to a "consulting role" for Apple Music this August, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Iovine is one of the few remaining music execs Apple welcomed when it bought Beats Electronics LLC in 2014 — a team which once included Ian Rogers, Dr. Dre, and Trent Reznor before they all distanced themselves from the company. In addition to Iovine, Luke Wood, who oversees the headphones business, also remains. Since the acquisition, Iovine has played a vital part in the growth of Apple Music, providing the brand with artistic credibility and savvy that it may have otherwise lacked.
The WSJ didn't offer any details regarding what exactly "consulting role" means, though the article did say that according to those close to him, Iovine "plans to spend more time with his family while supporting Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple Music, as needed."
Though Iovine has yet to give any reasons for his stepping down as Apple Music's figurehead, the WSJ speculates that part of it has something to do with reconciling Beats' inherent "edginess" with Apple's focus on appealing to everyone. Iovine's primary responsibility was maintaining relationships with artists and creatives while other execs quietly held up the more technical end:
For Mr. Iovine and his colleagues, transitioning from the edgy culture they established at Beats to an Apple Music culture that is more focused on appealing to the masses was a particular challenge … Most of Apple Music's operations were left to senior executives Robert Kondrk, who oversees the business of Apple Music and iTunes, and Jeff Robbin, who oversees the product and engineering teams, the people said.
In addition, the piece mentions that the timing of his transition is linked to the Apple shares he received when the company acquired Beats, which will fully vest in August.
In spite of the leadership changes it has seen since its genesis, Apple Music is one of the most popular and successful music streaming services in the world, currently boasting 38 million subscribers. The service is even on track to overtake Spotify in the U.S. in terms of subscribers later this year.
How do you feel about Jimmy Iovine's reduced role in Apple Music? Share your thoughts in the comments!