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- Rumours went round last week that Apple executive Jimmy Iovine was set to leave the company in August.
- Some speculated that the timing coincided with the last of Iovine’s stock vesting.
- The exec was on stage at the Grammy Museum on January 8 and addressed the issue saying that he’s loyal to Apple and its vision, and he is, in fact, not leaving.
- He also spoke about what’s next, and said that his main objective will be focusing to get streaming right.
Jimmy Iovine said he’s not leaving Apple.
The music mogul was on stage at the Grammy Museum for a screening to promote the Grammy-nominated HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” and during the following Q&A he shot down the reports that claimed that the end of his contract would coincide with his departure from the company (we first saw the news via Variety).
“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 said. “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.”
In addition to the claims about him leaving Apple, some commented on what the move might mean financially, as the last of Iovine’s stock will vest in August as well. The famous producer, however, wasn’t pleased about the media’s focus on this aspect: “Those articles annoyed me, because it had nothing to do with reality. It made it out to be all about money,” he said.
“All this stuff you’re seeing in the newspapers, let me tell you, my stock vested a long time ago. […] 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, but the funny thing is, I don’t have a contract. I have a deal, and certain things happen along that deal,” he added.
“The bottom line is I’m loyal to the guys at Apple. I love Apple, and I really love musicians.”
As for what he is actually planning to do in the future, Iovine said that streaming will be the main focus. Apple Music now has over 30 million subscribers, which is a fairly good number considering that the service is just two-and-a-half years old.
The service’s main rival Spotify, however – despite having been around for about a decade – has well over 70 million paying members, so there’s obviously work to do. “The next chapter, whatever intensity I’m working, will be to help streaming come to scale,” Iovine said.
With a tech giant such as Apple behind its back, technology will undoubtedly be a factor in the evolution of the streaming offering and its platform – however, Iovine is convinced that technology can’t do everything on its own.
“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,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about the great oil gusher, but it’s not going to scale unless streaming gets more interesting.”