updated 10:24 am EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Spokesperson puts story in doubt
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has left his position at Beats as chief creative officer, according to USA Today. The paper also suggests that one of the company's technology executives, Fredric Vinna, recently left for Spotify, while co-founder Ola Sars has gone to an unspecified Spotify-backed venture. A spokesperson representing Beats and Reznor insists that the report is inaccurate, but without mentioning which parts.
If it did happen, the departure of Reznor, Vinna, and/or Sars could be a blow to the image of Beats, although the company's biggest celebrity backer is co-founder Andre Young, better known by his rap name Dr. Dre. It might also be linked to Apple's recent $3 billion buyout, since some executives might not want to join Apple or may not have been invited to do so. Reznor in particular has had conflicts with Apple in the past, for instance criticizing the hypocrisy of rejecting an app of his for offensive song content when the same songs are sold on iTunes.
He also has less to gain from the deal than people like Young or Jimmy Iovine. Reznor only holds a stake in Beats Music, which is worth far less than the core of Beats, which is its headphone and speaker business.