Apple Inc. AAPL -0.47% tapped the head of its European music and content operations to lead Apple Music world-wide, a role of growing importance as the tech giant aims to boost its services revenue amid slower iPhone unit sales.
Oliver Schusser, who joined Apple in 2004 and introduced iTunes in Europe, will become vice president of Apple Music and international content, reporting to Eddy Cue, senior vice president, internet software and services. Mr. Cue made the announcement in an email to staff Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the email. The appointment was reported earlier by Variety.
The promotion comes weeks after Jimmy Iovine, who has been the public face of Apple Music, confirmed he would transition into a consulting role in August. He joined Apple as part of its acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC in 2014 for $3 billion, a deal that helped jump-start Apple’s music-streaming service even as it suffered from early design issues and later faced critical reviews around a push into original content.
Mr. Schusser takes over as Apple Music is poised to surpass music-streaming rival Spotify Technology SA in the U.S. in paid subscribers. The music unit has become a key piece of Apple’s strategy to boost its services revenue to more than $40 billion by 2020, a critical part of the company’s future as people hold on to iPhones longer and device sales slow, analysts say.
Services revenue for Apple’s fiscal year ended last September was $29.98 billion, or about 13% of the company’s total.
Mr. Cue told staff that Apple Music has reached more than 40 million paid subscribers, an 11% increase in subscribers since February.
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Mr. Schusser will relocate to the U.S. from London and split time between Apple Music’s offices in Cupertino, Calif., and Culver City, Calif. He previously oversaw the international launches of the App Store, iTunes Movies, iTunes TV, iBooks, Apple News and Apple Podcasts. He also helped create live events like the iTunes Music Festival, and managed label, studio and publisher relationships outside the U.S.
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