Zane Lowe Helping Apple Reinvent Live Radio
For the last 12 years, New Zealand radio DJ 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.
Now he is preparing for a much broader role as the guiding voice of Beats 1, a free Internet radio station from Apple that this week will begin broadcasting to smartphones and laptops around the world – an experiment, of sorts, to reinvent live radio. Lowe’s first big-get interview – rapper Eminem.
Compared with the mild-mannered corporate executives who usually represent Apple in public, Lowe, 41, is a new kind of animal for the company. A motormouth both on and off the air, he is an irrepressible advocate for the music he chooses to promote. And like that of the legendary BBC announcer John Peel before him, his endorsement carries major weight: Among the artists Lowe got behind early are Adele, Ed Sheeran and the Arctic Monkeys.
“One of the great advantages Zane had over a lot British DJs when he started was not being British,” said Paul Stokes, an associate editor at the British music magazines Q and Mojo. “He never had that false modesty that other DJs had.”
With a devilish stubble and a wardrobe of T-shirts that fit snugly over his muscular shoulders, Lowe has carved out a certain celebrity status in Britain. But he is largely unknown in the United States, and he views Beats 1 as his opportunity to expand his profile globally.
Beats 1 is a high-tech twist on one of the oldest forms of electronic media. It is a fully programmed radio station, broadcasting with a complement of live DJs and even sponsors.
Original article by Ben Sisario, The New York Times, June 25, 2015.
Photo by Jake Michaels.