Jimmy Iovine says he’s staying at Apple, despite rumours

Last week saw numerous rumours and reports that Jimmy Iovine will be leaving his executive position at Apple this year. He says they’re wrong.

Jimmy Iovine, the man behind Beats that wasn’t Dr. Dre and has grown to an unspecified executive position at tech giant Apple, is now not leaving. After rumours spread last week saying that Iovine would be leaving Apple, suspected to line-up with his shares peaking, he is now denying all the claims.

In a Q&A on Monday night at the Grammy Museum, Iovine said: “I am almost 65, have been with Apple for four years and in 2 1/2 years the [Apple Music] service has gotten to well over 30 million subscribers and Beats has continued its successful run. But there’s still a lot more we’d like to do. I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band.”

Iovine confirmed that his stock in Apple has vested in different stages and that last of it will vest in August. He said: “All this stuff you’re seeing in the newspapers, let me tell you, my stock vested a long time ago. We need Donald Trump here to call it ‘fake news’. There is a tiny portion of stock that vests in August, but that’s now what I think about.

“My contract is up in August, but the funny thing is, I don’t have a contract. I have a deal, and certain things happen along that deal. The bottom line is I’m loyal to the guys at Apple. I love Apple, and I really love musicians. That’s why those articles annoyed me, because it had nothing to do with reality. It made it out to be all about the money.”

After clearing the air about his tenure at Apple Iovine went on to discuss his thoughts on the future of music streaming services. Iovine compares it to TV and film streaming, saying: “Netflix has a unique catalog, because they didn’t buy HBO and they have their own catalog. Then on top of that they have a little thing called $6 billion in original content. HBO has $3 billion, Amazon probably has $4 billion. Well, guess how much original content streaming has: zero! Fundamentally. All the catalogues are exactly the same.”

Although he didn’t make it clear it sounded like Iovine was advocating exclusives on music streaming, something that has created furor in recent years and seemed to have mostly died. Hopefully Iovine isn’t suggesting that exclusives are the future for Apple Music as the level playing field calls for services to innovate and create better systems rather than just throw their money at music to have it for themselves.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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