Zane Lowe quits Radio 1: Presenter heads for 'exciting times' at Apple

The company is rumoured to be creating a new music streaming service

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The Independent Culture

Zane Lowe, the award-winning Radio 1 presenter, said yesterday that he is quitting the BBC. Lowe, 41, who joined the station in 2003, will present his last weekday evening show for the station next month. He is leaving to join Apple, which is rumoured to be creating a new music streaming service.

The New Zealand-born DJ has a reputation for bringing new musical talent to the airwaves, including Arctic Monkeys, Ed Sheeran and Gnarls Barkley. He also won an award for music broadcaster of the year at the Radio Academy Awards in 2014.

Other career highlights include exclusive interviews with some of the music industry’s biggest artists, including Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Lowe has also worked as a music producer, earning a Grammy nomination for his writing and production work on Sam Smith’s hugely successful album In the Lonely Hour.

The hiring of Lowe is a coup for Apple as the technology giant is believed to be gearing up to launch a music streaming service, similar to Spotify. However, an industry insider told Billboard magazine that Apple’s intention “is to be the music business; it’s not to compete with Spotify”.


The service is expected to go live this summer. It is also set to incorporate Beats Music, the streaming service set up by rap artist Dr Dre, which Apple bought for $3bn (£1.9bn) last year. Apple already has iTunes to provide music for consumers, while Beats Music has a subscription service.

With artists such as Taylor Swift turning their backs on Spotify, if the highly regarded Apple were to move into the streaming game, it could gain the trust of artists that Spotify seems to lack.

Speaking of his BBC departure, Lowe said: “I want to thank everyone at Radio 1 – for their support and friendship. 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.”

Annie Mac, presenter of the station’s flagship dance music programme and a former assistant producer on Lowe’s show, will be taking over the popular 7pm-9pm week-night spot.