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Now at the helm of Apple Music’s Beats 1, Zane Lowe was formerly the host of BBC’s Radio 1. We caught up with him at Sonos Studio for the final St. Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service show to learn more about Beats 1 and its place in global music listening culture.
What were some of the driving factors for you wanting to go to Beats 1?
Streaming is creating very functional and very direct access to a lot of music but I’ve always believed that the recommendation part of discovery is best served on a personal level. The idea of being part of a community and listening at the same time has enormous value for people. I think that discovery is more exciting when you feel like you are a part of something than when you’re on your own. And so I was excited by the idea of developing a place where we could utilize the power and the immediacy of streaming but build a community around that experience.
How do you think Apple Music and Beats 1 are changing the consumption and curation of music?
When I first started in radio I was at a regional London-based station and then I went to work at a national U.K station and I was somewhere that reached the whole United Kingdom and so I started talking about wanting to reach the world. Now for the first time I feel like we can actually reach the world. I know that every time that Beats 1 is being broadcast or every time that Apple Music is being used, it’s being used by people who have instant access to it no matter where they are without any restrictions or boundaries, without any geo-blocking whatsoever. It’s as easy for them to hear it in the middle of nowhere as it is for them to hear it a mile from where we are broadcasting and that feels truly global and truly international to me. And we’re starting to notice the impact that is having.
Do you think programming is becoming more valuable as technological advancement allows for more exploration and discovery?
I’ve made the most of technology in music. I’ve sat down and listened to unlimited amounts of songs that have been provided to me because technology made it possible. But I also find myself on a daily basis listening to Beats 1 or in fact my friends or family and hearing their opinion about things, and I find that to be an important part of being passionate about music. The idea of being able to share with your friends and share with the world something you care about. To me, technology is providing us with the chance to do that on a bigger scale than ever before.
How does the communal aspect of listening to music affect your family life?
My kids are at that golden age where they are discovering music on their own terms…they want to know an artist, they want to know all about David Bowie, they wanna know all about Eminem. The conversation about music in my house has become very loud and the moment when you can debate with your son about the merits of a piece of music and have him emphatically argue his point is a magical moment.
Watch Zane interview St. Vincent in the video below.
Listen to St. Vincent Mixtape Delivery Service on Beats 1 / Apple Music and visit Beats1 on Tumblr