Yes, those days of Jimmy Iovine assessing and mentoring American Idol contestants are long long gone, as he takes an executive position at Apple in the wake of the company buying Beats Entertainment for 3 billion dollars. The company’s other co-founder, Dr. Dre, is also headed to the land of iTunes. Beats sells high priced headphones and a music streaming service. Maybe you’ve seen those cute little pill speakers? That’s Beats.
The deal, which ranks as Apple’s largest ever, is the culmination of a relationship Iovine has had with Apple for years. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with Beats executives in February last year to discuss a potential partnership involving the new streaming service released by Beats. Iovine and Apple founder Steve Jobs were long-time friends who often sought advice from each other, with Jobs sometimes staying at Iovine’s house when visiting Los Angeles before he passed away and handed the reigns of the company over to Cook.
Though Iovine is leaving Universal Music to join Apple, the record label can’t be too unhappy about the deal — it will receive a $420 million windfall by virtue of its 14.4% stake in Beats. It was earlier reported that Apple was buying Beats Entertainment for $3.2 billion, but the deal took a while to close and the final price appears to have dropped in the period since the deal was first reported. The announcement also comes less than a week before its annual developer conference, WWDC, takes place in San Francisco.
“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” Iovine said as part of the announcement. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”
Taking over for Jimmy at the label will be current Interscope Records COO John Janick.
“Together we created a once-in-a-generation opportunity that allowed Jimmy to maximize the use of his many talents,” UMG CEO Lucian Grainge said in response to the news. “In recent years, as Jimmy partnered with John Janick, one of the industry’s most talented and promising young executives, Interscope’s results have skyrocketed. We thank Jimmy for both the incomparable leadership he’s provided to Interscope and UMG and for the highly beneficial partnership UMG has enjoyed with Beats. We wish Jimmy the very best and look forward to enhancing our partnerships with Apple and Beats for many years to come.”
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