Jimmy Iovine calls ‘fake news’ on reports of him leaving Apple later this year

Last week, Beats co-founder and legendary music producer Jimmy Iovine reportedly was ready to leave Apple Music later this year once his Apple shares become fully vested.

But Iovine on Monday refuted that he was planning to leave Apple, according to Variety.

“All this stuff you’re seeing in the newspapers, let me tell you, my stock vested a long time ago,” said Iovine during a live Q&A session in Los Angeles to promote the recently Grammy-nominated HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones.” “We need Donald Trump here to call it ‘fake news.’ ”

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Iovine joined Apple in 2014, when the company bought Beats headphone for $3 billion, and he has worked since to develop Apple Music into a competitive music streaming service with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Eddy Cue, senior vice president of services.

Iovine does not have a title at Apple Music but has been seen as an influential presence, using his deep connections in the music industry to build the service’s catalogs. Apple Music has seen steady growth in subscribers, hitting the 30 million mark in September, directly competing with Spotify, which has more than 70 million subscribers.

“But there’s still a lot more we’d like to do,” said Iovine. “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.”

Iovine admitted that he does own shares that will vest in August, as the initial reports claimed. However, Iovine says his shares has been vesting in stages since he arrived at Apple and that the August shares are only a fraction of his total stake.

Iovine and Beats co-founder Dr. Dre stand to make up to $700 million once all their respective shares are fully vested, according to an earlier Variety report this month.

“My contract is up in August, but the funny thing is, I don’t have a contract,” said Iovine. “I have a deal, and certain things happen along that deal.”

Iovine revealed that he was irked by the original reports of his impending departure.

“The bottom line is I’m loyal to the guys at Apple,” said Iovine. “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.”

Photo: From left, music entrepreneur and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, and Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue at Apple headquarters in Cupertino on May 28, 2014. (Paul Sakuma/AP)


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