Key Apple Music executive Ian Rogers is leaving the company

Key Apple Music executive Ian Rogers is leaving the company
An advertisement for Apple Music on the streets of Manhattan. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

Ian Rogers, a key figure in Apple's new streaming music service, is leaving the company.

Rogers was the chief executive of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Music. He joined Apple last year when the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant bought Beats Music and headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3 billion.


An Apple representative confirmed Rogers' exit but did not give any additional details.

The Financial Times, which first reported Rogers' departure, cited anonymous sources as saying he was leaving the Apple Music's Culver City offices to work for "a Europe-based company in an unrelated industry." A person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed that Rogers was planning to move to Europe to join a luxury brand.

Rogers, an active Twitter user, cryptically posted the word "Europe" on his account Friday morning, along with a photo of the Swedish rock band of that name and a link to their music on iTunes.

His departure is said to have surprised colleagues, coming just two months after Apple Music launched. But when Rogers, known for being an entrepreneur at heart, joined Apple, he became part of a music team with a robust roster of senior executives. Those included not only Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor coming over from Beats, but also the likes of Eddy Cue, David Dorn and Robert Kondrk on the iTunes side.

Rogers was instrumental in the creation of Apple's new online radio station Beats 1, which boasts celebrity hosts and DJs and broadcasts from London, New York and Los Angeles.

He was known as a champion of the station, and was still tweeting about it Friday morning as news of his departure broke. One of his tweets linked to Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe's interview with the artist A$AP Rocky.

The radio service has been well-received as a component of the new music app the company launched in June to compete with Spotify and Pandora. Apple Music, which offers on-demand streaming of millions of songs, says it has signed up 11 million users for its free 90-day trial period. The broader streaming service has gotten a mixed response from tech critics.

After the trial expires, users will have to pay $9.99 a month to remain on the all-you-can-listen Apple Music. Beats 1, however, is available for free.

Spotify has 75 million users, including 20 million who pay for its ad-free version. Its premium tier also charges $9.99 a month. Pandora counts 80 million monthly listeners, the vast majority of whom use it for free with commercials.

Rogers joined Beats in 2013. Before that, he led the entertainment software firm Topspin Media, which helps musicians connect with fans, and Yahoo Music.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder