Famed music mogul and Beats Electronics co-founder Jimmy Iovine plans to leave Apple this August, according to multiple reports. Bloomberg, Billboard, and Hits Daily Double all cite sources close to Iovine, who say he is unlikely to change his mind. Some or all of those sources believe that Iovine's departure is timed with the concluding payout to Iovine related to Apple's acquisition of Beats in 2014.
Iovine joined Apple with that acquisition and has acted as a creative and business lead for the Apple Music streaming service in partnership of Eddie Cue, who heads up Apple's Internet software and services division. Iovine has reportedly been a key figure behind initiatives like exclusive content on Apple Music, like special albums or video series like Carpool Karaoke. However, Bloomberg reports that Iovine and Cue did not always see eye to eye.
While Apple Music—born out of Iovine and Dr. Dre's own Beats Music streaming service—has been successful, it has not become the market leader. It has 30 million paying subscribers, but Spotify has 70 million. Experiments like Carpool Karaoke have not made a significant impact on the market, though Iovine's efforts to push curated music and other perks are laudable to music obsessives.
Apple has since begun investing in original TV series more akin to what competitors like Amazon have been producing—longform shows from major Hollywood producers, albeit with a family-friendly bent. Bloomberg says these efforts are under Cue, not Iovine, but they have been slow to get moving.
Iovine's departure may be a loss for the company, though. The Interscope co-founder brought decades of experience and contacts in the music industry to Apple at the time of the acquisition. He has worked closely with Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Bruce Springsteen—he was closely involved with the iconic Born to Run album by the last of those. He also famously signed Tupac Shakur in 1991.
His partnership with Dr. Dre in founding Beats was documented in the popular HBO documentary series The Defiant Ones. Even before the Apple acquisition, Beats managed to secure a 60-percent market share of headphones priced $100 or more.
The Bloomberg report says that Iovine's tendency to "trust his gut" has led to conflict within Apple. It was exactly this kind of approach that Steve Jobs built Apple on both in his original tenure in the '70s and '80s and after his return in 1996. But Apple is a different company now in some respects. Jobs passed away before the Beats acquisition occurred.
Neither Iovine nor Apple has released a statement about the reports.