As Spotify crosses 70 million paid subscribers, distant #2 Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine reportedly to bow out

“It’s now been over three years since Apple closed its $3 billion acquisition of Beats, which remains its largest acquisition to date. Apple didn’t buy Beats because Beats was a strong business with robust financials (it was the opposite); Apple bought Beats because it had an incredibly strong brand and had foundational pieces of a music-streaming service, and the talent to go with it,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “Chief among that talent was Jimmy Iovine, who has been in charge of Apple Music ever since the music-streaming service launched in 2015.”

“It looks like Iovine’s stint at the Mac maker is coming to an end,” Niu writes. “Billboard reports that Iovine is planning to leave Apple in August, citing anonymous sources. The music executive’s departure is said to coincide with when his Apple shares fully vest.”

“Iovine’s planned departure comes as Apple’s competition with Spotify continues to intensify,” Niu writes. “Spotify just announced that it now has 70 million paid subscribers, expanding its lead over Apple Music. The last time that Apple disclosed Apple Music subscribers (September 2017), it had 30 million. Iovine has been instrumental in growing Apple Music to where it is, but it looks like the company is going to have to carry on without him in a matter of months.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Somehow, some way, Apple will find a way to survive without Jimmy Iovine.

Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine may leave the company in August; departure timed to his shares fully vesting – January 4, 2018
Dr. Dre to star in Apple’s first, sex-soaked scripted television series ‘Vital Signs’ – February 12, 2016
Jimmy Iovine brings his own brand of ‘reality distortion field’ to Apple – May 29, 2014
Apple’s Dr. Dre apologizes for past abuse of women, Apple issues statement – August 21, 2015


  1. Be careful MDN at leSt Iovine saw the potential of music streaming while you and indeed Apple persisted with their ‘people want to own their music’ mantra well beyond its sell by date. Interestingly that’s a mistake they have repeated quite a lot since. So much for skating to where the puck is going to be, too often they are skating to one long stuffed in the kit bag.

      1. ‘Tilt the rink’ is a much more accurate and telling statement than a ‘distortion field’. And I’m you’re completely right. When they miss the puck they tilt the ring. (The iPhone is 4 1/2 inches so you can use it with one hand! Nonsense!)

    1. I have to agree. Music stream and soon subscription TV content will elude Apple. Also not recognizing Amazon’s pivot with The Echo is akin to Microsoft failing to see how Apple would shift the iPod into the iPhone. It’s foresight they once had and hindsight all that remains.

    2. Not everyone has 24/7 broadband internet access. Also, some users contend with data caps. Hence, putting all one’s music in the cloud is not a viable option for those in either situation. Personally, I prefer Spotify because I can listen to a variety of streams on my computer or IOS devices without having to contend with Apple’s iCloud mentality. Likewise, I prefer to keep my music on my computers, syncing content to my devices as I wish.

      1. If you’re saying you download music to play later off of Spotify instead of streaming, Apple Music does the same. Other than unique playlists and some exclusives, the services are pretty much at feature parity.

      2. Have you ever used Apple Music? You can download the songs to your Apple devices and playtime without the cloud. My only gripe with Apple Music is if I want to use a song on a slide show on my Mac I have to buy it, not only do I have to buy it I have to make sure I delete the Apple Music copy and then re-download it to I get a message saying I can’t use it. It took me awhile to figure that 1 out and even Apple support didn’t know why the song I purchased could not be used, they assumed the owner prohibited it, till I tried deleting and down loading it again and boom I was able to use it.

    3. Last time I checked Spotify and Pandora do not make a profit.

      This may mean people, I don’t want to own anything millennials EXCLUDED, PREFER TO OWN their own music, movies, etc.

      The RENTAL model is for those who cannot afford to own, nuff said …

      1. Not quite.

        I was firmly in the Jobs camp (“People rent videos and own music”). It made complete sense, and Jobs’s argument was 100% rock solid (You watch your favourite movie a few times in your lifetime before it becomes boring; you listen to your favourite music hundreds of times, every day, in the shower, during your commute, at work, everywhere).

        Then I tried the three-month Apple Music free trial. And I got hooked. It was simply mind blowing, to realise that I now have unlimited access to the world’s largest music catalogue. Everything. Whenever I want it. And If I know I’m going on a subway train, I just tap that cloud icon and the album is instantly downloaded (so the stream isn’t interrupted). For some people, this allows exploring genres, or finding undiscovered artists. For me, it is comparative performances. I was working on the Mozart’s Requiem with my community ensemble. I wanted to hear a good recording of it. I searched and there were over 80 (eighty!) different recordings, from Jordi Saval and his Concert des Nations (clocking in at brisk 52 minutes) to Karl Böhm with Vienna Philharmonic (stretching it to slovenly 108 min) and everything in between. It was most illuminating, and informative, to be able to hear a dozen different interpretations of the work.

        For years, I had been adamantly dismissing music subscription as a waste of money and useless service. I no longer think this is true. Rental model has surprisingly strong arguments in its favour.

        As for the financial math, even if you begin paying the moment you become adult (and start paying our of your own pocket), and live to be 85 (average life expectancy in the developed world), you will have paid less than $8,000 for Apple Music, which would only get you a library of around 800 CDs (or digital downloads), and it would take you 65 years to accummulate that library, starting with nothing. With spreading the money at the same pace, but on Apple Music, you would get those 800 CDs on day one, plus millions more, and there would be no need to shuffle the music in and out of your phone (due to storage limits); you can stream anything and everything (without taking up your phone’s storage space).

        I’m on US T-Mobile, which has unlimited music streaming that doesn’t count towards my 4G data cap. Family of 4 on unlimited all (5GB 4G throttling cap per line) for $100 per month. $15 Apple Music family plan on top gives us all access to that seemingly limitless music catalogue.

        1. I am not opposed to Rental Services but think none of them give adequate compensation to the artists and have yet to see one that meets my expectations relative to music.

          Apple Music is a low quality format- especially when streaming- and that shows up on well recorded music. By well recorded I mean stuff that is not pan-potted close miked with no ambient or room input, that was recorded on high quality mikes and not lossy compressed for recording or mastering.

          Lossy formats strip music of much of the life in it and close miking is not a real representation of what the artist or performance would sound like live. Many early digital recordings & remasters sounded brittle and flat because the sampling and filtration of the signal acted in essence like a lossy technique and failed to record the sound accurately.

          I listen to lots of stuff in many genres, but my heart is in Jazz and live acoustic music. Apple Music just sounds like crap compared to my Apple Lossless (ALAC) files taken from CDs. The sound is flat and lifeless by comparison on the same tracks.

          If Apple would like to improve the revenue stream on iTunes it could offer us the option to buy tracks in ALAC for a higher price and an upgrade path- like iTunes + a couple of years back, where we could pay a nominal fee to upgrade tracks we has already purchased in lower quality formats. I would gladly pay more for the lossless files and for the upgrade of old ones.

          As to library sizes and time to acquire, my iTunes library has 2,241 albums and I am far from retirement age (56). Most was purchased in CD format and ripped into iTunes with ALAC encoding. Most newer stuff I am buying via Amazon where you can often order the CD and download the digital files to use until the CD arrives.

          Finally, there is plenty that does not exist on Apple Music or iTunes. Danger Money (the album not the song track) is still not available on iTunes.

          1. Your collection is truly impressive, and I have to say, you are very likely an outlier (a far out outlier). There are very few people who have amassed such a huge library, and possibly even fewer who may care that much about the sonic quality difference.

            I had worked in the music business for quite a few decades (we’re the same age), and I’d like to think I could easily tell the difference between the streamed AAC and ALAC/FLAC/AIFF (at 44.1kHz/16bit). I have to admit, outside of the recording studio, I can’t remember when was the last time I had the time to sit down, power up a decent audio system and listen to some music. Literally all of my music listening takes place on the go (on the bus / subway, in the street of NYC), on Apple’s bundled Earpods, under which conditions I can’t possibly tell the difference between AAC and AIFF.

            It is highly doubtful that an effort to re-encode their entire iTunes catalogue into ALAC (since Apple actually doesn’t keep the original, uncompressed source) would ever have a chance of recovering the investment through any additional sales of uncompressed music.

            1. I was always under the impression that Apple passed the files through their servers, but were resident on the label’s storage.

              Not an audiophile snob, but having played music from age 4 or so (Mandolin 1st, Violin, Trumpet, Guitar and now Piano) and sitting among others playing you get a very definite idea of what stuff is supposed to sound like- I expect drums to sound like drums and to be able to hear the wood on a guitar. Without ambient sound all you hear on a plugged in acoustic is the pickup.

              Like you, these days most listening is in the car or a set of headphones out and about from my iPhone. But at home I have a set of Focal Monitors in both the Living Room and a smaller set at my Computer desk and both have their own DACs instead of relying on what Apple slaps into their HW these days. My audio library is on multiple discs on a ProBox connected to a Mac that functions as a server for TV, Movies and Music and the CDs are ripped in ALAC- and yes I still own the original CDs, DVDs and BluRay DVDs.

              For those too young to know, this is what a well recorded song can sound like- this back before CDs and such.

            2. Having released (independently) a few albums on iTunes in the early 2000s (when the store first launched), I can tell you that Apple only gets AAC files. The agreement states that all audio files must be given to Apple properly encoded by an Apple-approved encoding house. If you are an independent artist, you go through one of the popular distribution agents (CD Baby, Tunecore, etc), who encode it for you. Major labels do their own encoding. Either way, Apple never sees the original AIFF / WAV / audio CD.

              I totally get what you’re saying about being surrounded by other musicians and hearing the organic sound of the room, inseparable form the instruments.

              There has been a long trend in clinically pure studio recording, especially for contemporary stuff (classical, and to some extent, jazz, are still most often recorded at distance, in order to capture that organic mix of source and room). The sterile trend aims to capture as cleanly as possible just the source (the voice, the guitar, each piece of the drum kit, with mics as close as possible, to eliminate as much as possible, any contribution from the room. The philosophy behind this is that the most authentic way to listen to music is in a room, on high-quality speakers, and there, you will pick up the acoustics of that listening room. If the acoustics of the original recording studio space were present in the mix, it would then confuse the listener, bringing the sound of one room into another.

              This argument doesn’t quite always hold water, since nobody mixes such sterile recordings completely dry; we always carefully pick reverbs (and echos) and judiciously determine the size of the virtual room that the reverb is simulating. In other words, rather than recording the room organically, we go to great efforts to eliminate it completely from the source, and then go to even greater (digital) lengths to simulate it and re-create it, presumably, having greater control over how that room will sound on each instrument/voice. As remarkable as digital reverbs are today, acoustically modeling real spaces with amazing fidelity, the process still seems a bit redundant; remove something, than simulate it later. I can understand that is necessary when some (or most) of the sources are purely electronic, but for an acoustic (or electro-acoustic, as in, guitar amp, or bass amp), it does take away the authenticity of the organic sound of the room.

            3. Personally, l’m not in the recording business but I like all types of good tunes. That said, I can certainly appreciate your professional approach and detailed techniques in the artistic creation of music. Insightful read and learned a few trade secrets (not that I’ll ever use them) behind the scenes, thanks … 🎤

            4. Great post.

              Sometimes the studio is used as an Instrument like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. But so much is done close miked or direct and pan potted or run through some form of DSP to create an image.

              I do not think anyone is going to seek high end stuff to listen to Taylor Swift, but there is plenty that should get it. It is amazing to see the eyes of a kid light up the first time they hear an Orchestra or Band live for the first time. You just do not get that from lossy files.

        2. Predrag, you make a very convincing, incredibly detailed and strong argument for streaming — appreciate it.

          I guess it depends on what one is looking for at their stage in life. I’ll give you an example.

          In my college days between eating canned tuna and noodles, homework and classes — a highlight of college life was making use of a lot of idle time.

          Specifically, it was a highly anticipated and enjoyable event just to wait in cold lines for long hours with friends trying to score front row tickets to the latest Yes, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin concert.

          Today, I have other priorities and if it takes longer than five minutes on my iPhone to score tickets, it has become a chore.

          Recall a 1980s interview (radio) from Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) where he mentioned exactly the same. When we were young, the lines were fun. But no longer at my age.

          In a parallel way all I am saying is the streaming hunt is not for everyone and I for one, go directly and prefer to own.

          Certainly, to each his own, ALWAYS …

          1. Indeed… While I’m happily paying my $15 per month for the family memership to Apple, I also have a collection of some 300 CDs at home, and curiously enough, it continues to grow (albeit quite slowly these days) by a disc or two per year (on average). Old habits die hard…

    1. This is a story about Jimmy I and Andre Young
      Two young grifters with nothin’ better to do
      Than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube
      And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

      They headed down to, old Cupertino
      That’s where they ran into a great big hassle
      Jimmy I conned a man (Eddie Cue) while robbing his castle
      Andre Young took the money and run

      Tim Cook said, go take the money and run
      Go on, take the money and run…

            1. well, I’ll bring you up-to-date…The Plantation Party has lost:
              • The White House
              • The Senate
              • The House
              • The Supreme Court
              • The Governorships
              • The State Houses

              but you fascists still have “The View” and Al Franke….oops, guess he got sent back to The Grope’her State.


            2. Your enthusiasm is always fun to watch, but quite a few of your bullet-points are a big stretch:

              SCOTUS — an ultra-conservative justice replaced by a conservative justice (can’t imagine any living judge on the planet being more conservative than Scalia) — so no change; if anything, a nudge to the left;

              Senate — a few weeks ago, that “Plantation Party” of yours picked up a seat, bringing the total within a heartbeat of parity.

              Governorships and State Houses are too much hassle to go through at this point, but since your golden Messiah took office, a few have apparently gone the D way…

              To imagine undecided and independent voters swinging for the Republicans in November, after a almost a full year of practically ZERO outcome on any of the meaningful issues (and a single, rushed, massive legislation that absolutely nobody had a clue what they voted for), is to be fully immersed in the WH RDF…

      1. Clueless Cook will be around as long as iPhone sales don’t tank. He is a one-trick pony and his acquisitions like Beats and fashionista Angela are not panning out as expected. Apple seriously lags behind in music services, no answer to Netflix growth and other streaming services. Apple TV is STILL a hobby. Project “Titan”, ::crickets:: Just give it time and he will be gone and it can’t come soon enough …

    1. Wall Street and the news media only want to hear about market share percentage. They somehow equate making revenue and being profitable with how much market share percentage a company has. That is their stupid assumption. If a company practically gives away some product or service it will gain in market share percentage. It’s the company that actually keeps their books in the black that makes the money. Spotify’s music streaming service is their only business. AppleMusic is just a sideline business to Apple and a small one at that.

      Yes, let the headlines read how Apple is in a distant second place. But wait… Apple will soon be sitting on a mountain of repatriated cash worth $200B while Spotify will still be struggling to make money no matter how many subscribers they have.

      I really like Spotify and hope they eventually do turn a profit in order to continue their business. I’m only saying that bragging about which company has the most subscribers really doesn’t mean diddly. A good business makes money in order to survive and thrive.


    iTunes when it was selling downloads made money, millions.

    (note: if Spotify loses money doubtlessly apple Music does to)

    streaming is a music industry stupidity, it was set up by greedy music industry execs who thought that music download services, mainly iTunes (because it was the biggest) was taking too much profit. They thought that by streaming they could short circuit Apple, but they short circuited themselves because streaming has been a financial disaster for the Music Industry.

    Iovine has anointed himself ‘saviour’ , vowing to ‘fix’ the money -losing streaming system FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY (not Apple) .

    Iovine if you read his interviews in Billboard, business magazines, music pages in newspapers, frankly says he’s not interested in Apple but HELPING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
    He does it basically by funnelling Apple’s millions (made from iPhones and Macs etc) to his music industry friends, one example being by overpaying millions for music streaming ‘exclusives’ to ‘save’ millionaire rap stars and their managers. He then goes around spouting that ‘nobody does more than for the music business than him’.

    1. people downvote but don’t write why they think i’m wrong

      i assume the down voters like streaming as CONSUMERS which is fine but the article is basically about streaming as a business and as a business i’m right… no one has really made money from streaming . Pandora loses money as well:

      “FORTUNE — There is a fundamental problem with Pandora Media’s business model: the more its product is used, the more money it loses “

      1. the only small advantage i see in Apple music as a business advantage for apple is that it helps a bit to keep people in the eco system, but even that i question its stickiness because Spotify and Pandora etc are available.

        i believe the original plan was to have way more subscribers as the number of ios devices sold is more than a billion

        1. They’re available, so is Sirius FM, but Apple Music is very sticky once you get connected to it.

          I think music streaming is a loss leader that you use to make money elsewhere. Apple HAS an “elsewhere”, many streaming services don’t.

          1. you make some valid points

            I also agree Apple Music has got a broader motive to keep people in the eco system (which I mentioned) but I wonder about the costs, Iovine boasts of hiring ‘hundreds of curators’, fat deals for millionaire artists, millions for shows like Planet of the Apps, etc which resulted in only 30 million subscribers ‘in a sticky trap’ out of 1 billion iOS devices sold….

            (Apple has resources to do EVERYTHING, but results show apparently it can’t focus on too many, if they had to choose I think getting SIRI to be the number one AI , getting an answer to Echo sooner etc would be more important to the ecosystem )

      2. “people downvote but don’t write why they think i’m wrong”

        Happens to me and a few others here on a daily basis. Suspect it comes from the snowflakes and SJW denizens that cannot articulate beyond their auto-dogmatic beliefs.

        I don’t worry about it one atomic particle …

  3. Keep in mind the source of this article- Motley fool. Their “news” releases are always with a bias to encourage investors to buy/sell stock which they benefit from. In this case its just more “Apple stock is doomed” tripe. Just read the headline and look at associated article 10 stocks we like better than APPL… hope the shorts get screwed. On to a Trillion baby!

  4. Apple Et al. are trying to glom on to the “success” of the Netflix subscription model for media. One minor problem, Netflix only survives because they get essentially free bandwidth when their product is transferred to customers. That foolishness is coming to an end, look out below.

    1. That argument doesn’t stand up. Using that argument, you could say the same for any data service, including Directv now, etc. We are already paying for that service, then deciding for what we want to use that service.

  5. Take Ahrendts with you. Another galactic waste of money and no performance whatsoever. Apple Stores are warehouses with tables with watches and laptops, and some other boxed junk on the sides. They have neutered the stores like they have their MacBook Pros. She is all dressed up and no one to …. well you get the drift. She and Iodine are jokes. Only Cook would fall for the fake and glitter.

  6. I know guys like Iovine, who want millions and billions for an idea many can think of, or have, but not really work on the heavy lifting to make it work and improve upon. Iovine just wants to sit back, rake in the dough, take all the credit for his ego, but will have none of the nonsense of working out the actual details or best user presentation. That’s for low paid grunts to do. (Lamborghini peels out, leaving Iovine dust and flaking particles of his ego on our faces. “On to more easy money from other fools!”)

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