Why Zane Lowe left BBC’s Radio 1 for Apple’s Beats 1

“For the last 12 years, Zane Lowe has been a top tastemaker on the BBC’s Radio 1 by championing brand-new music, landing interviews with stars like Kanye West and running his show with a frenetic production style inspired by hip-hop itself,” Ben Sisario reports for The New York Times. “Now he is preparing for a much broader role as the guiding voice of Beats 1, a free Internet radio station from Apple that on Tuesday will begin broadcasting to smartphones and laptops around the world — an experiment, of sorts, to reinvent live radio.”

“Apple Music, which in addition to Beats 1 includes a subscription streaming service and a media platform for artists called Connect… has signed a gaggle of celebrities to do shows on Beats 1, among them Pharrell Williams, Drake, even Elton John,” Sisario reports. “‘Zane is a genuine enthusiast; this is not a fake thing,’ said Mr. John, whose Beats 1 show, ‘Elton John’s Rocket Hour,’ will be an eclectic mix of old songs and new. ‘He’s a fan, and he’s a fan who’s got the opportunity to make his position in the world work for other people. He genuinely loves music, and that’s my kind of guy.'”

“‘I’d started in radio at XFM,’ he recalled over a dinner near Apple’s Beats offices here, referring to a privately owned alternative station in London, ‘and then I got offered a chance to go to Radio 1,’ Sisario reports. “‘A friend said, ‘Why would you leave XFM?” he continued. ‘And I said, ‘Because at Radio 1, I can play records to the nation.’ It’s the same thing 12 years on: Maybe I can play records to the whole world. It’s hard not to get excited by that prospect when you love being that bridge between music and an audience.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Currently, since we’ll be subscribing, we consider Beats 1 to be a sidelight to the main Apple Music attraction: Unlimited access to just about every song ever recorded. But, since Beats 1 is free (available to anyone with a free Apple ID) and the membership is not ($9.99/mo.), it’ll be interesting to see just how popular Beats 1 becomes.


  1. Thankfully this means we won’t be getting him on the Glastonbury coverage pulling superlatives out of his backside and proclaiming that every performance was career defining.

    1. Exactly. Have no desire to listen to (C)rappers as they jump around on stage spitting misogyny over drum machines as they hold their junk dressed up like clowns.

      Rap is not music. Musicians play or sing- not the same as talking shit to a rhythm pattern.

    2. Oh man yeah. They need to offer a guaranteed hip-hip and C-rap (Eminem, Jay Z, P. Diddy & the assholic supreme Kanye West among others in particular) FREE station, and no black or white or otherwise artists who don’t or can’t actually sing.

      These no-talent M.F.’ers have totally ruined the music business using “me-too!” repetitious production techniques, transparently gross use of Auto-Tune ad nauseum, horribly nasty lyrics and then have the temerity to think of this crap as “songs.”

      Having grown up during one of there greatest periods of music-making in the 50’s & 60’s the current scene is as if we all regressed back to musical Neanderthals. Your chewing satisfaction may vary.

        1. So young farts like you can enjoy booming miscreant so-called music by impolitic jerks and ne’er-do-wells who are one step away from serving jail time? 🙂

          There’s much more to music life than Elton John (but he was and is a fine artist) and my tastes are more eclectic than you might think, but they stop at the door of obvious musical mediocrity. That’s the advantage of long term musical exposure and not short term inexperience unable to see it for what it is. I believe the word is “gullible.”

          Doubtful decades from now when your farts grow older and less smelly you will be waxing poetic over current droppings from your youth about crass booty calls, butts and profanity-laced lyrics.

            1. Music wrapped in a turd doesn’t interest me, regardless of “fartistic” merit. Don’t go there there’s something supremely intellectual and deep going on with that junk you loosely call “music.” It’s obvious you are the clueless one and the exact kind of justifying sap they look for to legitimize their meager talent and offerings. IMHO.

            2. Standards, classical, jazz, progressive rock, popular music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s (probably the funnest era), 90’s to some more selectively modern, film scores, Broadway shows, a little country and stuff like that. It’s a pretty wide range. And not a mention of big butts, fscking, or gross outs going for the cheap sale in the bunch.

              Back when I was a kid people focused more on the music. With so many distractions these days and added activities vying for young people’s time I think music has taken more of a back seat. I think too when you’re younger you are just inherently a little more passionate about what you do like by virtue of how much less you’ve been alive. But like I said it’s doubtful you will be humming any of today’s low class tunes when you’re 60. You may be surprised when your tastes finally turn when you hit your 40’s & 50’s and you realize that old stuff before you were born wasn’t so bad after all. 🙂

  2. I wonder how iTunes Match fits into the picture, going forward. iTunes Radio was related to iTunes Match; the same $25 per year included ad-free iTunes Radio streaming. But now (after June 30), iTunes Radio is “Apple Music Radio.”

    It would be nice if the iCloud features of iTunes Match are rolled into the $10 per month subscription for Apple Music.

      1. It’s not redundant if you listen to a lot of music not on the iTunes Music store. Being able to upload any track to the cloud and have it available on any device is really the only thing iTunes Match has going for it anymore (other than being $95 cheaper a year than Apple Music).

        1. It’s also useful as a secondary backup (or primary backup for some people) for your locally stored iTunes music library. I had data corruption on my external drive, where my “iTunes Media” folder was located. It was not immediately obvious, so I went a few months before noticing that many of my song files were corrupted. It is backed up using Time Machine to another external drive.

          I went “back in time” with Time Machine and restored my iTunes library files and iTunes Media folder to before the data corruption existed. I could have re-downloaded all of my songs from iCloud, if my Time Machine backup did not exist, but it was much faster using the Time Machine archive. The convenience here was that the songs I added since the restored backup date were easily added back. The effort was trivial. By sorting songs by date added, they were all at the bottom of my library list, with the “cloud” (download) button thanks, to iTunes Match. Without iTunes Match, it would have taken longer to remember the new songs I added and manually add them back.

          NOTE: A locally stored iTunes library is needed to use iPods (that are not iPod touch), including currently sold iPod nano and shuffle. I can’t sync my iPods directly from iCloud, and I certainly can’t stream music on them.

  3. Elton John? Zane Lowe does an ‘Elton John’s Rocket Hour?’ Just lost me as a customer, not that I was considering to be one. I like to own my music.

    Nothing against the musician, just had a horrible experience a la Clockwork Orange involving this guy’s music and ever since I can’t stand his stuff. That’s another problem with the stream or radio, sooner or later you are going to come across something that you don’t like. That has to be balanced with something you don’t know but could possibly like but there are other options other than the stream or radio.

    I’m building up my library nicely over the years. It’s cost me but the return on the investment is really paying nice dividends. I’m sure Apple will be doing great with streaming radio but I’m more of the Jobs slant in wanting to own my music.

    Now what did I use to displace that horrible Elton John experience, oh yes Babe Ruth, can’t say I’ve ever heard them being played on the radio but Janita (Jenny) Haan has a great voice, and she’s a lot easier on the eyes.

  4. BeatstheMeat1 sounds just like the godawful crap I ran screaming away from back in the 80s on AM radio. Since then I’ve settled nicely into roots, classical, jazz, world, folk, celtic, gothic, death metal, ambient, prog and all those other things that the insipid dreck called popular music/hiphop/R&B/urban is. Good riddance, too, to stations attempting to influence my taste with tastelessness.

    1. I appreciate what you say and what you said gave me a chuckle. I will never be talked into being convinced what constitutes popular talk-along no-talent music today is “worthy.”

      I have a massive music library too and depending though I might give an Apple Music station listen but my patience and tolerance is pretty off switch/hair trigger for nonsense.

      I realize I probably sound like my parents but I am more fairly broad-minded, but also recognize junk/crap from cheap F-artists when I hear it.

        1. The thought did occur to me, the difference being my parents had extremely limited exposure to the types of popular music. Since I was a kid it’s been a whole different ball game. By what sounds like your standard there ARE no standards and everything is fair game. Nah uh. Bad is bad whether it’s 2015 or 1965. There is definitely good music created today I will say, along with the bad. But when it’s bad now it’s REALLY bad.

            1. Oh yeah sure, no you are exhibiting troll behavior trying to set up my choices to then desecrate them. No thanks. Lots of great music be it jazz, rock ‘n soul, R&B and the like came out of the mid-20th century. There are lots of guilty pleasures to be sure since. But at least then people treated the music with more respect. The “anything goes” of today can be crude and rude if the artist is cynically looking to sell music to naive & gullible hapless souls who have no class themselves.

              Nobody said you couldn’t choose to listen to whatever contemporary soul-sapping music that’s out there you want. It’s called choice. I just wish more music today had a little more respect for itself though there are plenty of pockets of good taste out there still plugging away. We just need to get rid of the bad seeds.

            2. Not at all and that’s probably true about you and I liking some of the some things. I just know junk when I hear it and you’ve yet to be able to discern the difference it sounds like. It’s a certain class of popular music and style that has me vomiting in the aisles, but not everything.

      1. Uh oh, he pulled the race card, which people do when bereft of any real arguments.

        I guess you don’t bother to notice there are black, white, etc. artists all creating much of the repetitious & unoriginal crap sound of today. Not all artists succumb to the desperate temptations of popular C-Rap & Hell-Hack mediocrity and actually sing for their living.

        We feel really sorry for you and your blanket acceptance, applying no objective critical faculties to music past, present and in the future.

        1. ok racist was uncalled for but you still sound old, jaded and stupid.

          peterblood71, just take a breath and relax. you like your music and i like mine. but i’m not judging what you like and you really sound like an old crusty dinosaur when you generalize an entire genre you know nothing about.

          if you’re interested, i’ll give you a homework assignment to listen to two hip hop albums of my choice and you can come back in a few days and tell me what you think.

          1. You sound young, naive and stupid without a sense of the rich musical history behind you.

            Sorry I will never dig hip-hop or other forms of non-music. I understand it’s a generational thing. You feel compelled to like the things your contemporaries like. For me there are limits as to what is music and what clearly is not. And that includes a pretty wide berth. But I’m not so “stupid” as to acknowledge blatantly bad and nauseatingly repetitious “music” as anything with value. By repetitious I mean the sound is often the same with few permutations as is the style of talk-sing. You would have had to be born into listening to this junk to have the need to desperately justify it’s existence.

            Granted my parents didn’t think what I was listening to was their cup of tea either. When I asked my Dad why that was he simply said “It’s too juvenile.” He might have had a point.

            1. You know absolutely nothing about me but one thing is crystal clear- you sound like an old ignorant fool stuck in the past.
              But it doesn’t matter because I win. Beats 1 is catered to me and obviously not to you. That’s the final word.
              Thanks Apple.

            2. It’s always trolls who must paint some vacuous, imaginary, ego-driven witless “win” but really showing what adolescent fools they ultimately are by doing so and you’re no different. The nature of your response is of course from someone young and foolish with no benefit of perspective. You ARE where I WAS, do you understand that?

              You will have this same conversation with the next young foolish turk without a clue when you are much further down the road. “Only then, at the end, will you understand.”

              You will also discover in the years ahead and looking back just how foolish you were.

              Apple Music will cater to many tastes including those with ultimately poor juvenile taste like you. The “win” is actually for everybody to enjoy what they like.

              Enjoy your Apple Music free trial HTML420!

  5. I tend to agree with you about owning my own music, although I am open to the idea of a reasonably-priced streaming service.

    But you lost me completely when you let a single bad experience with an artist sour you against their entire music portfolio. Elton John has some beautiful songs and it is your loss that you latch onto a grudge so tightly. You don’t have to scrap EJ to listen to Babe Ruth.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.