Beats 1 Zane Lowe talks about the changing role of the music influencer

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A new interview looks at Beats 1 tastemaker Zane Lowe, and his unique role in today's rapidly changing music ecosystem.

Zane Lowe and Tim Cook in 2017


A new Los Angeles Times profile feature takes a look at Zane Lowe, the Beats 1 host, and his relatively amorphous role as a DJ, radio host, and impresario for Apple Music. The piece does question, in places, just how much of an audience Lowe and Beats 1 has.

The 45-year-old Lowe, a New Zealand native who first earned fame as a global radio host for the BBC, jumped to Beats 1 in 2015.

"Reshaping broadcasting"

While Beats 1, according to the LA Times, is available to stream in more than 100 countries, although that's not quite a strong metric for exactly how many listeners the Apple Music station has. The piece acknowledges that Lowe is much more of a household name outside the U.S. -- especially in the U.K. -- and that his actual influence is difficult to quantify.

The profile calls Lowe "possibly be the world's biggest music devotee -- or at least one of music's loudest cheerleaders."

It describes his role as talking up music and artists, and using his enthusiasm to encourage appreciation of the music he plays and the performers he interviews. But that's a harder thing to do, Lowe acknowledges, in the age of streaming, where traditional radio DJs, which he used to be, don't have the same power they once did.

"People buy things or they buy into things," Lowe told the newspaper. "I'm working out what motivates the buy-in. We consume every day. But consumption is different from knowing way more than what a song sounds like."

#NickiDay

One example is Lowe's recent hosting of popular rapper Nicki Minaj, and his show's successful promotion of her new album "Queen," that helped get the hashtag #NickiDay trending high on Twitter.

The piece adds that Spotify, Apple Music's top competitor, is beginning to add radio-style programming in an effort to compete.

In an interview last year, Lowe was also talking about Apple Music and Beats 1's model. "Imagine Apple Music as a store. We're the front window," he said at the time. "We're the thing you see by the counter."

In January, Lowe announced that Drake's song "God's Plan" had broken an Apple Music record with 14 millions streams on the day of its release.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 887member
    While I can only take their word for it and assume Beats One is a successful venture, I wish there were alternatives for those of us that don't listen to rap and hip hop. As hard as I've tried to listen to it I just can't. I'd almost rather listen to country, and that's bad.

    For a company that claims music is a part of who they are, they sure are exclusive in the type of music they promote. Tim really took it to heart when Steve said (paraphrasing) don't ask yourself what would I do, just do what is right. I just can't picture Steve listening to Nicki Minaj on his way to the office.
    JWSC
  • Reply 2 of 6
    Apple will not say how many people bother to listen to the pretend station.

    I could understand if Apple set up a broad and diverse set of streaming hosted channels like SiriusXM. The one "station" that seems centered on Rap/Hip-Hop is a pretty narrow and not worth bothering with. It would be nice if Apple put some of that cash pile to work on something other than buybacks of stock.
    razorpitJWSC
  • Reply 3 of 6
    I like Beats 1  quite a bit. It has that cool radio feeling,knowing you can’t control the song.
    Whenever I want to listen to something random & new, I ask Siri to play Beats 1.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,995member
    Not a fan of Beats 1. Hopefully Apple will create more radio stations in the future such as Beats 2, Beats 3, etc with different genres of music. 
    edited August 17 JWSC
  • Reply 5 of 6
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,043member
    "music influencer", more like music influenza. 
    JWSC
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Wow, talk about uniformed opinions.  Apple Music radio has 19 top level genres.  Some of these include alternative, rock, pop, jazz, and hip-hop.  It’ll even build a station on fly if you ask it to play ... radio.
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