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Zane Lowe on BBC Playlister: 'It's Hallelujah time'

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Just one day after it was first announced, the BBC today launched the first version of its Playlister.

The digital music product lets users collate their own playlists from BBC Radio and TV and export them to Spotify, YouTube and Deezer, with the promise of a DJ-powered recommendation system.

Zane Lowe

Zane Lowe


> Zane Lowe: 'I railed against criticism that I'm too soft on music'

We visited BBC's New Broadcasting House in London today (October 9) to hear more about Playlister from the playlist partners and the Beeb's own team, including DJ Zane Lowe. Here's what Zane had to say to the press this morning.

"There's a big thing at the BBC at the moment which is going across not just the people who are making decisions, who are in charge of making things better, but just also us DJs, us people who are just trying to play the records, and that's 'What's next?'.

"There's so much to play for here, with Playlister moving forward and a lot of the other changes that were talked about yesterday [in director-general Tony Hall's speech about the BBC]. It's been building for a long time - ever since we realised that the old model, for lack of a better term, is going to be redundant.



"You can't get in the way of that change. People have decided. They've made the decision, 'We are now going to access music differently, we're going to treat it differently, we're going to look at it differently. It's not like it was'.

"We've all been having conversations in between playing records on the air, me and my friends, in pubs or whatever, 'Where's it going to go?'. The only thing we could really come to terms with was, 'Try and be around the smart people'.

"Try to look for the people who actually care about this, and who aren't whinging about where it was and what it meant, but where it's going and the possibilities of that... anyone who cares about music has been thinking about that for a very long time.

"Being here is great, because it means being a part of the BBC, which I'm hugely passionate about - I love working at the BBC. It means that we are a bit part of what is happening now. Not just what we've done, but also where it's going and where it's at.

New BBC iPlayer

© BBC

The new BBC iPlayer



"We're no longer at that point of where it's gonna be. It's happening now. To be able to be part of Playlister which launches today, and be able to connect to an audience in that way is Hallelujah time. For a broadcaster like me to be on the air, all I ever want to do is connect music to the audience.

"That is my single greatest passion in radio and the whole essence of radio is to communicate. To say to somebody, 'I love this song'. 'Well, I love it too'. Or, 'I don't know if I do, but I like the way that you pitch it, so maybe I will check it out'.

"This gives us a big chance to do this globally, which I know is a big part of what the BBC's future is - doubling the number of listeners and people who connect to the BBC globally. It's a huge moment for that. It connects us to the aether, which is where pretty much all of this information exists now.

"It starts to filter that down, as everyone's been saying. How do you do that? How do you filter it down? If you're somebody at home and you love music, where do you begin? With a couple of trusted pros... you have radio, TV, you have YouTube, you have Spotify, you have Deezer, you have access to these things and increasingly so.

"We can now filter that down as DJs and say, 'Hey, you like that song, make it yours, share it'... hundreds of billions of hours are being watched, but each one of those minutes that you listen to a song is personal to somebody.

Zane Lowe

Zane Lowe



"It gives them the chance to get ownership of that music in their own way. Share it their own way the way we all did when we were coming up. Spread that around. And it comes from the BBC which has been a part of that for a long time.

"It's going to have a huge impact on the way that we make radio, which is one of the most exciting things for us. Once you get your head around what the listener is going to do, and how they're going to use it, you start to think that it goes both ways.

"Now we can really listen to what they're into, and what they love. They can start to shape our shows... the whole idea of communication is completely open now but focused at the same time. It's reining it in and making it very direct between us and the listener in an infinite way.

"People have a finite amount of time to connect to an infinite amount of information. What hasn't changed is that we have minutes to really look at these things between what we're doing on a day-to-day basis.

"Now we can actually narrow that down and create some definition out of the static that's been going on for a long time. I'm hugely excited about it... I'm totally thrilled."

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