The central question around Ian Rogers’ abrupt and mysterious departure last week from his high perch at Apple Music has been answered: The longtime music tech exec will be joining the luxury brand LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moët, Hennessey) as the company’s Chief Digital Officer, Billboard has confirmed. Rogers will be based in Paris. (Re/code first reported the news.)
“I’ve been pushing streaming music for more than 20 years,” Rogers said in a statement to Billboard on Tuesday (Sept. 1). “It’s gone from science fiction to mainstream. That’s awesome but a long time to be doing one thing. I’ve got a lot of gas in the tank. I want to grow and learn both personally and professionally and apply my skills to another industry.”
LVMH is the luxury brand umbrella, led by Bernard Arnault, that presides over the aforementioned Louis Vuitton, Veuve Cliquot, Céline, Givenchy, Fendi and many others, organizationally divided into maisons for each subsection of brand — wines and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, watches and jewelry, ‘selective retailing’ and an et cetera pile. What Rogers will be doing at the company is probably to encompass refining and extending its powerful cachet of brands’ digital strength. LVMH also moved into the digital sector in recent years, launching the lifestyle video channel Nowness. The group reported a net profit of $1.58 billion for the first half of this year, a slight increase over the same period in 2014.
Rogers’ departure was seen by some as a sign of trouble at Apple and its nascent streaming service, just as that service was about to move out from under the three-month trial period that began with its public launch on June 8. However, it may be that Rogers sees Apple Music, and his pet project Beats 1, as well on their way. Regardless, Apple rolls on. As analyst Mark Mulligan told Billboard: “It’s just one service within Apple’s large portfolio of services. In a smaller organization Ian’s departure would be felt much more than it will in Apple, where no person is bigger than the project.”
–Additional reporting by Glenn Peoples