DJ Zane Lowe: 'I’m not sure that Apple Music needs Beats 1'
DJ Zane Lowe has admitted he’s unsure if Apple Music needs the digital radio station Beats 1 as the enterprise is so new, although he hopes “there’s a place for it”.
Speaking at the Radio Festival 2015 in London, Lowe was in conversation with his former boss, Ben Cooper, controller of Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra.
When asked by Cooper if Apple Music, the Californian tech company’s streaming service, needed its digital radio branch Beats 1, Lowe replied: “I’m not sure it does.
“We’re working this out, time will tell,” he said. “We’ve been going three months, I don’t have the answers. I hope that there’s a place for it… This is in progress, and over time we’ll find out exactly why [it’s needed].”
New Zealander Lowe was announced as one of Apple Music’s digital radio service Beats 1’s three in-residence DJs, alongside Julie Adenoma in London and Ebro Darden in New York in June. Lowe left Radio 1 after more than a decade to relocate to Los Angeles with his family.
Cooper asked Lowe to explain the circumstances which caused him to leave the BBC, prompting Lowe to squirm slightly in his seat.
“The job wasn’t advertised, the job came along at a moment which was very unexpected because I was very happy,” Lowe said, adding he hadn’t previously imagined leaving either the BBC or Radio 1.
“When I said yes [to the job], I felt like I said ‘no’, and then ‘yes’, and then ‘I’m not sure’. Leaving someone like the BBC is not [a] cut and dried [decision],” he said. “I was at my kitchen table with my wife and my manager when the contract came in.
“It was a celebration, because the last time when I joined Radio 1, it wasn’t like that. When I left XFM, it was tough.”
Lowe joined BBC’s Radio 1 in 2003, gaining a reputation for championing up-and-coming artists in their early days, including the Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg and Frank Turner.
Previously, he worked at XFM and MTV, continuing to present MTV Two's Gonzo flagship music programme throughout his time at the BBC.
Lowe was visibly moved after Cooper presented him with a Radio 1 award, and launched an impassioned defence of the corporation.
“It pains me to see the BBC under fire like that,” he said, saying that while everyone has the right to ask questions and to hold the corporation to account, the BBC’s place in British culture was “second to none”.
“I believe in the BBC. And I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the BBC,” he added.