New leaked over the weekend that top UK DJ Zane Lowe was leaving BBC's Radio 1 for Apple and a revamped iTunes Radio service. New Zealander Lowe is a fixture in the UK's influential music scene. After stints as a music journalist and MTV VJ, Zane helped push BBc 1 music programming to the top of the ratings by championing early releases by o less than the Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Ed Sheeran.
“I want to thank everyone at Radio 1 for their support and friendship," Zane told listeners during his final show. “The station has allowed me to share incredible music with the country’s best music fans – I’ve loved every minute of it. Exciting times lie ahead.”
Now he's moving to America with his wife and two children. It's not yet clear exactly what role he'll play at Apple, but that hasn't slowed speculation. While he live DJ a radio like show on a revamped iTunes Radio or create playlists and more on a Apple's next generation of Beats?
The Real End Game: Creating Hits
Whatever Zane's exact roll at Apple, it clear that human curation will be center stage within Apple's new music service, as it is in Beats. And while a computer can be programmed to feature certain songs and artists, its the recommendations of trusted human gatekeepers that make us take notice.
Apple execs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre remember from their days at major labels that the real power lies on the ability not to just deliver music, but hits. Hitmaking has been elusive for Spotify and other in the digital space who satisfy demand, but seldom create it.
If Apple learns to use its status as a trendsetter and massive reach to create hits, it could own the music industry.