Thursday, January 11, 2018

Jimmy Iovine not leaving Apple, says Jimmy Iovine | UNLIMITED | CMU

Apple Music

Jimmy Iovine has denied recent rumours that he’s about to leave Apple. “I am in the band”, he said, seemingly confused about what Apple even is.

Claims that Iovine planned to leave Apple, where he has worked since the company acquired his Beats Electronics company in 2014, originated in Hits Daily Double. Various sources then confirmed the news to Billboard, with August mooted as a departure date.

Sources or not, Iovine says there’s no truth in the story. He’s staying put. He has unfinished business at Apple that he doesn’t foresee being done by August. So let’s all just stop talking him out of a job, eh?

“I am almost 65, have been with Apple for four years, and in two and a half years the [Apple Music] service has gotten to well over 30 million subscribers and Beats has continued its successful run”, he told a small audience assembled for a Q&A and screening of documentary ‘The Defiant Ones’ this week, according to Variety.

Referencing Apple boss Tim Cook and SVP Eddy Cue, he went on: “But there’s still a lot more we’d like to do. I am committed to doing whatever Eddy, Tim and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band”.

Noting speculation that Iovine’s commitment to Apple was linked to his stock options in the company, he added: “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 not what I think about”.

“My contract is up in August”, he conceded, “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 money”.

So, to recap: His stock is vested, but will vest in August. His contract is up in August, but he doesn’t have a contract. I hope that’s all clear.

As for how the music streaming business will reach its required scale, making itself profitable and reducing the risk that the whole thing will collapse, taking a now reliant record industry with it, he said that the labels have to do a lot more themselves.

“The record industry right now is expecting technology to fix their problems, like they always have”, he said. “I’m not sure technology is going to fix their problems this time. It will make music better, it will make it sound better, and improve access and delivery, but I’m not sure that benefits the labels unless the labels do something to make the proposition more interesting. Everybody’s talking about the great oil gusher, but it’s not going to scale unless streaming gets more interesting”.

Quite what he means by “do something to make the proposition more interesting” isn’t clear. The push for artists and labels to provide streaming platforms with exclusive content, a push led by Apple, proved something of a failure. Maybe he’s just saying that modern music is shit.


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