Apple Music Loses Beats 1’s Exec In Surprise Move

Apple Music, already struggling through a rough first three months, just lost a key executive behind Apple’s Beats 1 radio.

Ian Rogers, the CEO of Beats Music when the company was bought by Apple last May, unexpectedly quit, the Financial Times reports.

Rogers led development of the Beats 1 radio service for Apple Music. He hired Zane Lowe to head the various shows and curated playlists. Rogers is reported to be moving to a company in an unrelated industry in Europe.

While that might seem shocking, given that Rogers has spent the last 20 years working with streaming music and was clearly passionate about the launch of Beats 1 radio, it’s actually a common pattern in tech acquisitions, analyst Rob Enderle told the Inquisitr.

“Top executives from small companies that are acquired rarely stay long at large firms. They like the independence of the smaller company and often do poorly with the often hostile competitive politics of the bigger firm. I expect he is doing another startup now in stealth mode because that’s what he likes.”

In a personal blog post after Apple’s launch of the Beat 1 music service, Rogers wrote, “In 1993 I was a Computer Science student at Indiana University when Dr Fenske gave me an opportunity to put my studies together with my love, music. He set me off writing an app on NeXTSTEP to stream music (wav) from one part of the campus to another. I’ve been streaming music ever since.”

Before and after going to Apple Music, Rogers’ stated that his career was about “giving artists direct access to the people who love their art and more recently building and releasing a human-curated, music-respecting service, Beats Music.”

Rogers started working in the music business back in 1993, when he built websites for the Beasties Boys’ manager John Silva for $8.50 an hour, according to Billboard.

Rogers was the head of Yahoo Music from 2003 to 2008, a $140 million business that ultimately folded, one of the many victims of Yahoo’s never-ending corporate struggles.

In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Rogers emphasized human curation over computer algorithms. Describing Beats Music (now Apple’s Beats 1), Rogers said that while radio’s programming is excellent, it’s narrow.

“We think humans know better than robots about what should come next. We wanted to bring that sensibility to our service, but open it up more broadly. Behind every single one of our recommendations is someone who truly loves the album that’s being recommended.”

A recent study by MusicWatch, a consumer music research company, found that of people who had tried the new Apple Music service, 48 percent had stopped using it.