Award-winning record producer Jimmy Iovine is reportedly leaving Apple in August, according to Billboard. The executive who’s been at the helm of Apple Music since its inception will exit the company next summer once his shares fully vest.
Apple hasn’t confirmed the news, but multiple sources have agreed that Iovine doesn’t plan on staying beyond 2018.
Iovine first became involved with Apple all the way back in 2003 when iTunes and the iPod were being launched. He met Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue, and almost instantly Iovine supported Apple’s efforts to change the music industry.
In 2008, he teamed up with Dr. Dre to create Beats Electronics. The company, first known as Beats by Dre, created audio products ranging from headphones and earbuds to speakers and a music streaming service. Beats also licensed out its name to HP and HTC for their computers and phones.
Then, in 2014, Apple surprised everyone by dropping more than $3 billion to buy Beats in its largest acquisition ever.
Beats continues to run independently, but Apple’s been able to leverage its technology for things like the AirPods and Apple Music. However, creating a best-in-class music streaming service is arguably the biggest reason why Apple went after Beats.
A little more than a year after acquiring the company, Apple launched Apple Music with Iovine leading the way. And it’s quickly become one of the world’s most popular music streaming services. While Spotify currently has 70 million subscribers, Apple Music currently has over 30 million subscribers. Spotify’s been around longer, though, and so Apple’s quick progress is downright impressive.
Iovine pushed Apple to invest in content, particularly original programming, to engage listeners on Apple Music.
Right now there aren’t any names being rumored to replace Iovine. In mid-2016, Apple lost Bozoma Saint John to Uber. She was the executive in charge of marketing for both Apple Music and iTunes. Although Saint John would’ve been the logical replacement then, it’s difficult to see her returning to Apple a little more than six months later. So there will be a full search to name Iovine’s successor later this year.