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Zane Lowe: Apple's Beats 1 radio is a newborn baby that's 'wide-eyed and shits everywhere'

Lowe says the success of Beats 1 is measured in noise

Beats 1 presenter Zane Lowe has compared the worldwide, always-on radio station to a newborn baby, stressing that the service is still experimenting and trying to find the right way to execute its mission. "Right now, we’re three months old," said Lowe, speaking at the Radio Festival in London in an interview transcribed by Music Week. "And babies make a lot of noise, they look at the world all wide-eyed and they shit everywhere. That’s kind of what Beats 1 is, it’s very, very new, 13 weeks man, it’s crazy."

When asked why Apple Music needed Beats 1, Lowe responded: "It’s a great question. I’m not sure that they do." He said that while the station is "absolutely working right now," it's still "a work in progress, and overtime we’ll find out why Apple Music needs Beats 1." He added: "I hope there’s a place for it, I feel right now there is."

"will they see the excitement in it?"

The New Zealand-born Lowe left BBC Radio 1 in February this year to work for Apple alongside fellow DJs Julie Adenuga and Ebro Darden. Lowe's frenetic presenting was something of a surprise for US listeners, but at the Radio Festival, he said this energy was necessary to help listeners see past the "scrappiness" of the station. "All I cared about when I got to launch [was] will they see the excitement in it, the intention in it and the passion in it? Or will they focus on the stuff that isn’t ready? Thankfully they focused on the stuff that shone through."

Lowe said that the "first discussion" once he was hired was working out how to make the station work in different time zones. The answer, he believes, is focusing on the music. "We know Tokyo and Mexico City love Beats 1, so we’ve found a language that is common, and I believe that language is music," said Lowe. "I loved waking up and listening to a good breakfast show when I was living in London, but every time I hear someone talk to a reality TV star, or talk about what’s in the papers, you’re off message from what I want, which is music. So I put the spotlight entirely on music."

Music — or noise, at any rate — is also how Lowe says the success of Beats 1 is measured. "When I said to Apple, 'What is success? Because I come from a ratings system where I’m told I’m either up or down. Is that what we’re gonna do? Are you gonna give it to me every day?' They said, 'No, we have our way of dealing with numbers.' Apple don’t share numbers. So I said, 'How do I find out?' They said, 'Noise. Go out and make as much noise as you can,' and that’s what we’ve been doing."