At a recent screening for Jimmy Iovine and Dr.Dre’s upcoming documentary The Defiant Ones, Iovine refuted any rumors that he will be leaving Apple in August 2018, the date his stocks are scheduled to vest. At that time, both he and Dr.Dre are slated to make a small fortune of $700 million. These comments come at the heel of rumors of his impending exit from the streaming giant he helped create.
Beginning his career as a recording engineer in the early 1970s, Jimmy Iovine worked with renown artists like John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. After gaining ground in the music industry, he founded Interscope Records in 1990, subsequently signing Tupac Shakur to a recording contract in 1991. Providing the initial funding, distribution and financial oversight for Death Row Records, a then subsidiary of Interscope, would further evidence his eye for timeless talent. It would be the artists that were signed to Death Row who would give Iovine’s record company its first taste of platinum selling success, propelling the company to sign other platinum artist like Eminem (with Iovine also co-producing the Academy award winning film 8-Mile) and Lady Gaga.
Iovine teamed up with Dr.Dre in 2008 to co-found Beats by Dre after Dr. Dre’s dissatisfaction with the increasing amount of piracy of music and the poor sound quality of Apple’s plastic earbuds. Beats by Dre went on to own 40% of the market share of the headphones industry.
On May 28, 2014 Iovine and Dre sold the headphone company to Apple music for $3.2 billion – the largest purchase in Apple’s history. Besides the cash prize, the terms of the deal gave Iovine an undisclosed executive position at Apple. Iovine’s presence in Apple would help improve Apple’s music streaming platform, Apple Music, from 10 million users in its founding year of 2015, to 20 million users just one year later in 2016. Moreover, Apple Music has been able obtain to exclusive album releases like Drake’s Views, Frank Ocean’s Blond, DJ Khaled’s Major Key, Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and Future’s Evol.
Iovine’s business savvy, eye for talent, and now his influence in the worlds leading tech company has demonstrated his ability to mix music, technology and access to anyone with a desktop or smartphone. As of 2016, Apple Music has continued to move towards video – a move that has prompted Iovine to express his desire for Apple to be much more than a music provider:
“A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists. I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans. We have the freedom, because it’s Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn’t work until it feels good.”
Considering these comments, it seems obvious that Jimmy Iovine will not be leaving the company any time soon. In an interview with Variety, he reaffirms his desire to continue on as one of the most influential voices in the industry:
“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…”
To leave no further doubt, Iovine makes his stance with Apple clear:
“The bottom line is I’m loyal to the guys at Apple. I love Apple, and I really love musicians.”
Stock vested or not, it seems like the legendary Jimmy Iovine has more work to do for Apple Music streamers world, so the real question is: What will he do next?