Eddy Cue and Robert Kondrk have built iTunes into the biggest music retailer in the United States, where it commands a 38 percent share of the market, generating some $2 billion in revenue. Both are longtime Apple employees -- Cue's a 25-year veteran; Kondrk has served 24 -- and label executives describe Cue as the brains and Kondrk as the heart of the iTunes operation. "Kondrk is extremely good with the artists, while Eddy is more the businessman," says one major-label executive. "They are just so different, and that is why it works so well for them."
As iTunes enters its second decade, Cue, who has led Apple's music effort from the start, will have ultimate say in how Apple presents music to consumers. And with iTunes facing the industrywide 11 percent decline in digital sales, the hope is Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music in May 2014 -- not to mention its record-breaking $75 billion in first-quarter revenue -- will set up the company as a streaming powerhouse. With the Beats team onboard -- founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, and longtime digital guru Ian Rogers and Trent Reznor (who has hinted that he's "designing some products" with Apple) -- labels are counting on iTunes' 800 million customers to bring streaming into the mainstream. Apple will reportedly concentrate on a premium interactive service, instead of an ad-supported one, and the expectation is that it will be more responsive to artists than Pandora and Spotify, with access to user data and analytics.