Zane Lowe discusses future of radio DJs in age of streaming

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Things are looking good for Beats One and leading DJ Zane Lowe, one of the world's top radio personalities.
Things are looking good for Beats One and leading DJ Zane Lowe, one of the world's top radio personalities.
Photo: Apple

Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe says he’s excited that Apple Music’s competitors are starting to rip off his live streaming radio show.

Lowe, who left the BBC’s Radio 1 to lead Beats 1 Radio, said in a recent interview that he still questions how his radio show fits in with the music scene. In the age of social media where artists can interact directly with fans, radio hosts don’t seem like a necessity, but Spotify and YouTube Music are planning to launch radio shows of their own and Lowe is ready to welcome them to the league.

“This is a controversial statement: I don’t ever want us to be the only streaming service on the block,” Lowe told the LA Times. “There is no league with one team. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. But you’re still in the game. Not to sound too holistic but I’m glad I’m in the game.”

The Future of Beats 1 Radio

Spotify recently hired Dawn Ostroff from Conde Nast Entertainment to be its new chief content officer. Apple Music only has 50 million paid subscribers to Spotify’s 75 million. Lowe isn’t worried and says his focus is to be a part of the future of radio.

“We’re the only voice in streaming. That’s not cockiness. It’s fact,” said Lowe. “This is my favorite era of broadcasting. I got into music because of what it looked like, what it made me feel, what it felt like when I met the people. It’s that obsession for me. I wanna bring that obsession in.”

Lowe told the LA Times that his aim is to be the thing that moves the needle. Even though broadcasters no longer get album exclusives before they’re released, he still sees broadcasters playing a pivotal role in the future of radio because DJs are the biggest music fans.

“My hope is that we’re all the same. Everyone’s a ‘fan’,” he explains. “Asking where we fit in the conversation is healthy. I still ask myself.”