Zane Lowe talks Beats 1 and Apple Music at SXSW [Liveblog]

Update: Full video now available.

We’re here on the ground for SXSW, and as was announced last fall, Creative Director and LA Anchor for Beats 1, Zane Lowe, is giving the Music Keynote.

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Lowe is a New Zealand native, Grammy-nominated radio DJ, live DJ, and producer. He was introduced at Apple’s 2015 WWDC keynote as being one of Beats 1’s DJs.

The event kicks off at 12 noon ET, so stay tuned below as we keep you updated on everything Zane has to say.

  • The event kicks off momentarily!
  • Video montage playing talking about music industry in general and the new platforms that have pushed it forward.
  • So far he’s just talking about the music industry in general and the artists here at SXSW that have embraced the confusion of the modern music business.
  • “This year alone, we’ve seen history made by Rag-and-Bone Man, Ed Sheeran, [and others]”
  • “It’s a real honor to be on this stage…. I always watch the SXSW music keynote… I have always try to be as close to music as I can…”
  • General musing about music in general and what it means to Zane Lowe…
  • “There are some people who do not like music. Chances are their parents are dicks.”
  • Tom Petty record playing, Zane Lowe music about how it was his first music love.
  • “It cut through the sadness.. and spoke to me on that level. This is the power of music. This right here was the master key.”
  • “I discovered record stores, and begged my mom to take me closer to my passion..”
  • “But I was in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world…”
  • “You would have to wait 3 or 4 months for the records to hit the record stores..”
  • He’s playing a second album that meant a lot to him to help tell the story of how Zane Lowe because Zane Lowe.
  • “The people behind the counter at the record store were the coolest people you know. And you are 100% a fucking grommit.”
  • Lowe talking about how a hip hop album — which were still fairly unheard of in New Zealand at the time — he loved transformed as a person.
  • “I had headphones, I had a walkman, and I had a private universe.”
  • “I wanted to be in the Beastie Boys..”

  • “We pirated the shit out of [a Nirvana album].”
  • “The first bit of advice I ever got when I started doing interview…. artists hate doing them. Especially in New Zealand.
  • “Those [New Zealand] artists wanted what we called the 3 W’s: weed, wine and the west coast.”
  • “The second bit of a advice I received was… don’t let your self esteem rest on the fickle affections of a rock star.”
  • Talking about lots of lessons learned in his early years.
  • “If you’re going to be in this business, the job is to be a conduit between the artist and the fan.”
  • “I finally got in the door when everything was just starting to change…”
  • Now talking about how the music industry changed in his early career.
  • “Music became two camps: pop vs. rock, rich vs. poor… fans vs. artists.”
  • Telling the story of how Jimmy Iovine wanted to work with Intel, and Intel basically laughed at him.
  • Mentions Steve Jobs’ love for music and the launch of iTunes in 2001.
  • Musing about how MySpace changed music.
  • “MySpace was where it was at. That was where the fans took control… This is where the conversation lived. It felt like distribution changed into the hands of the artist.”
  • “In 2007, it got made weird… album sales dropped.”
  • “But then Radiohead decided to release their latest album direct from their website, and allowed listeners to pay whatever they wanted.”
  • “Radiohead sold lots of records and made lots of money, but for the first time ever eyes were on the sales… artists looked for ways to make their music releases an event.”
  • “The argument was always that if you leave the system, you’re opening the doors to piracy.”
  • “Fans became followers, and followers became data.”
  • Lowe now talking a lot about the dramatic shift in the music industry in the mid-to-late 00’s, and how it changed his career.
  • “In around 2012, I took a hit. I took a few. 3 ratings drop in a row. I dropped a cold mil[lion listeners]. That’s a lot of people to lose.”
  • “In radio, we needed to adapt. Jay-Z thought so too.”
  • “Artists were experimenting with promotion… technology was pushing music.. and giving artists choice.”
  • “The truth is, I was burnt after the interview [with Kanye West]. It was 90 minutes long and it didn’t go as I expected.”
  • “In that moment, Kanye spoke direct to his fans… it went viral.”
  • Now mentions Apple Music for the first time and his recent career moves.
  • “When I got a chance to work with Apple on their new streaming service I knew what that could mean…”
  • “We had three months to build Beats 1 from scratch. So the question we had to ask was: is this even radio?”
  • “Are the radio and online streaming audiences separate? Right now I think so.”
  • “The problem for me, the music fan, is that there’s not a lot of conversation about music.”
  • “The streaming services have begun to grow… we’ve seen artists start to build… it has encouraged the artist to think over all, for themselves… they’re working harder at it than ever before… because we’re an insatiable audience with access.”
  • “Artists no longer need a hit record to thrive… the emphasis is on great ideas that build alongside great music. We don’t just love the music. We love the artist.”
  • “We wanted to get in the room with the artists, so why not just broadcast from the room?”
  • He mentions Chance the Rapper’s “No Problems” and how the artist has become one of the most innovative artists today. He went from free-only to the streaming services.
  • “We still believe in radio.”
  • “We believe that, though the fan has the choice to listen on demand, on their own time, we still [believe that collective listening is important].”
  • “There are no stories to be told on a playlist alone. Artists want their music to inspire and catch fire and to mean something.”
  • “Every artist has at one point dreamed big. Now, artists can dream big every time.”
  • Zane Lowe repeating this definition of his job, and how it shapes Beats 1: “It’s our job to be a conduit between the artist and the fan.”
  • “The future of music is unwritten, but it’s fucking exciting right?”

And it’s over! Thanks for following alone with us! We’ll post the full livestream when it goes live on the SXSW website next week.

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Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.