Pure Insider takes a look at what Zane Lowe’s departure means for music
With Zane Lowe’s departure coming as a shock for many, what will the loss of this musical legend mean for radio in the UK? New Zealand born Lowe has become a favourite among music and radio fans – both in the UK and globally – but is this really a loss or are we seeing an undercurrent of something brilliant in the making?
Is streaming learning from radio?
Zane Lowe’s move to work with Beats has been shrouded in vague speculations about what this means for Apple’s streaming service, with Lowe himself claiming simply to “…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”. It seems a logical move that Lowe would help to recreate that energy for raw talent and getting to the heart of authentic music for Apple Beats. Whether it’s in the form of creating podcasts or even streaming live interviews, Lowe has always driven conversation and hype around new talent, humanising music in a way which other mainstream shows have often struggled to grasp.
King of Discovery
Zane’s talent and his passion always came through fervently on the show, as did his ecliptic taste in music. While we associate him with alternative rock and hip hop, if you tune in to his show on Radio 1 you’re never quite sure what to expect.
As he says himself “I wouldn’t wanna work necessarily in a genre specific show – just a hip hop show or just an alternative rock show, whatever ‘cos it doesn’t really represent what I’m into and I really think that radio really has to be an honest representation of whoever’s driving it as much as whoever’s listening to it.” It’s this open minded approach to all music that has led Zane Lowe to act like a human conduit of new music, a talent he has used to reinforce radio as a form of music discovery.
Can radio keep up with streaming’s evolution?
It’s the added layer to music which Lowe brings to the table – his wealth of experience born from an innate passion for music and years working in the industry – from his first job at the Record and Tape Exchange in Notting Hill, to MTV News and MTV Brand:New, then later to his own show Gonzo and BBC Radio 1.
Lowe brings his avid followers from his show around the world touring as a superstar DJ and his prolific presence in the music scene interviewing everyone from up and coming indie bands to hop hop legends straight to the radio. It’s this added layer to radio which has served the station well – focusing on social media and maintaining Lowe’s profile in the music press. With podcasts and streaming services dominating the music industry online, for radio to survive it needs to reignite the human element to music. From live interviews with the hottest music artists, to keeping the conversation going with social media elements to live radio features, radio still has a lot to offer.
We’re pleased to hear that Annie Mac will be stepping into Lowe’s seat when he departs in March. Whether we’re tuning in to Annie Mac’s musical hot water bottle or getting in the mood for the weekend on a Friday night, Mac’s musical zeal is unarguably on par with Lowe’s and we’re excited to see what she has in store for listeners.
As our own salute to this radio legend, we thought we’d share with you a clip of his pre-superstar DJ life in the lesser-known hip hop band, Urban Disturbance: