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Apple Music Exec Ian Rogers Is Out

The former Beats Music CEO and the guy behind Beats1 radio leaves after a short stint. "This was his dream job."

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Beats by Dre
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Ian Rogers, one of Apple’s top music executives, is leaving the company.

Rogers was the former CEO of Beats Music and joined Apple when it bought Beats in 2014. He was a key figure in Apple’s push to compete with Spotify in the streaming music business and oversaw its Beats1 online radio service.

The Financial Times, which first reported news of Rogers’s departure, says he is leaving his home base in California to work for a “Europe-based company in an unrelated industry.”

A person familiar with Rogers confirmed his departure; I’ve asked Apple for comment. (Update: Apple confirmed the report.)

Rogers’s departure is surprising to people in and outside of Apple. He had been a passionate advocate for Apple and Beats in the last year, and Apple sent him and iTunes executive Robert Kondrk to brief reporters in advance of the Beats Music launch last June. “This was his dream job,” said an Apple colleague.

The Beats1 radio service, which uses a mix of high-profile DJs like Zane Lowe and celebrities like Elton John to curate music for a worldwide audience, has received lots of critical acclaim. The revamped Beats Music service itself has generated lots of criticism for bugs and design flaws.

Apple says at least 11 million people have signed up for Beats’ free three-month trial; the first of those trial users will need to convert to paid users or stop using the service at the end of September.

Rogers got his start working on digital music as an undergrad at Indiana University — his first (of many) tattoos was the logo for NeXT, the computer company started by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in the 1980s — and helped the Beastie Boys with their digital efforts in the mid-1990s. He later ran Yahoo Music, then Topspin, a service for artists and their managers. He joined Beats in 2013.

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