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    How Zane Lowe Reimagined Radio, The Music Industry For Good

    Zane Lowe’s presence and influence in the music industry is undeniable, so whenever he drops a gem, it would be wise to listen.

    New Zealand’s Zane Lowe is the most powerful DJ on the planet, but it his affinity for breaking new records and adjusting to the growing age of music that makes him a rebel or chameleon of sorts. The Auckland Grammar boy started hosting TV and radio shows as a side gig to actually producing music.

    Initially a part of the Hip Hop group, Urban Disturbance and then the more successful electronic group Breaks CO-op, he moved to London in the late 90’s and rapidly moved from XFM and MTV to his breakout spot as one of the biggest radio hosts on BBC’s Radio where he premiered tracks, interviewed artists and yelled a whole lot. But, it wasn’t until 2015, when Apple approached him to launch their own station, the antithesis to the old age of music exposure and consumption.

    Zane Lowe Reimagined Radio

    “It’s about being able to get great music to an audience on a global level. I know that there is an opportunity to come out here and to build something that will reach parts of the world that I’ve never reached before…”

    He states on his move to Apple, where he has found the balance between the artist and fan. “I really want a platform for the most passionate people who love music,” he says. “I want to be able to bring that human experience, that we all had growing up with record stores, but actually make it something you can listen to in a world where you’re left to your own devices.”

    During the keynote address, Lowe states “We had three months to build Beats 1 from scratch… the first question we asked on day one was… is this even radio?” Lowe recalled. “Radio had been driving pop music in the world for 50 years, and for all of those years, that was the only way to get a hit record. I’m not sure that’s still the case. Radio listenership like that is declining and in some cases gone. The Norwegians are turning off their FM signal. Where does new music fit on the most terrestrial radio these days? With few exceptions, mainstream music radio has not been a driving force for change for some time. That’s why college, pirate, digital and blogs do the groundwork for it.”

    Zane Lowe Reimagined Radio

    Lowe goes on to critically analyze the boundaries of music distribution and artists who are pushing the boundaries like Beyonce’s incredible rollout for Lemonade or Tyler, the Creator creating his own app. He also highlighted Frank Ocean’s decision to debut “Chanel” on Beats 1 and play it for nearly an hour with no break, stating “Could we have done that using traditional models… using the old expectations of what artists should do for the U.S.? No. Look at all this creativity, we need to reflect on it. It’s our job… to be a conduit. Between the artist and the fan. Technology has freed us all. And now, music moves fast. So, to survive… we have to move fast too.”

    In fact, Beats 1 radio breaks all the rules of radio. One day you might tune into London host Julie Adenuga playing thirty minutes of grime tracks or Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koeing interviewing the owner of a New Jersey bagel store. “I don’t think anyone would be interested in talking about Beats 1 if we had just tried to be another outlet for ten massive pop songs on massive rotation with no real risk taking. You’d just be like ‘well we have that’. Every country has that, it’s called terrestrial radio.” Instead, Lowe’s underlying mission is to think of the fans.

    Check out the full interview here to hear more gems from Zane Lowe.

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