Every day we are hearing a little bit more about Apple’s potential acquisition of Beats Music. Following last week’s revelations that the two companies were in talks for Apple to buy the audio equipment and music streaming company for the rumoured price of US$3.2 billion, today’s reports seem to suggest that it is Beats’ co-founder Jimmy Iovine who is the real prize for Apple. Or a major incentive at least.
Bloomberg reports that Iovine has had a long relationship with Apple and was a friend of Steve Jobs. Iovine’s CV includes working with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Meatloaf, Lady Gaga and the Pretenders, as well as co-producing the hit film 8 Mile, starring Eminem. He was given a personal demo of Apple’s iTunes Store by Jobs before the service was launched in 2003 and quickly got on side, telling an interviewer at 2013′s All Things Digital tech conference that iTunes was the industry’s best way to counteract the illegal downloading of music.
“These aren’t strange bedfellows at all,” Peter Csathy, chief executive officer of entertainment law firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures, told Bloomberg. “Steve Jobs really drove the relationship with the music industry. The executives at Apple and Beats know each other very well, and there’s a comfort level there.”
If the deal goes ahead, Iovine could become an instant billionaire, as he owns a quarter of Beats Music and also enjoys the proceeds of 40 years of producing the artists named above, as well as other huge names like U2 and Fleetwood Mac.
Billboard magazine suggests that Iovine and Dr Dre (aka Andre Young) may make their first Apple appearance at next month’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, while MacRumors adds that Iovine could well be announced as the company’s new music chief. The site also expects that Apple will keep Beats as a separate stand-alone brand, while providing design improvements for the products.