Apple poaches top producers from BBC Radio 1 for new Spotify rival


Whatever Apple is creating to rival Spotify just got a lot more intriguing.

Little more than two months after poaching Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1, MBW understands that Apple has pinched four producers from the station – including key talent from BBC Introducing.

One of this foursome is believed to be Lowe’s old producer at Radio 1, James Bursey.

Bursey is understood to have left the Beeb on Friday and is now headed to Los Angeles to team up with Lowe.

Three more BBC producers are set to join him at Apple – but working from the company’s London office.

They will enter Apple’s doors after the completion of Radio 1’s One Big Weekend event, which takes place on May 23-24.

Names rumoured to be on Apple’s shopping list include Natasha Lynch and Kieran Yeates – both considered star producers at Radio 1.

“There’s no denying that there’s something of an exodus from radio 1 to apple right now.”

MBW source

Lynch’s credits include the popular Huw Stephens show. In 2011, she was named with Stephens on The Guardian’s Music Power 100.

If Apple lands Yeates, it will perhaps be the most interesting new hire of all: he’s the exec largely responsible for orchestrating Radio 1’s up-and-coming talent programme, BBC Introducing.

“There ‘s no denying that there’s something of an exodus to Apple from Radio 1 right now,” a well-placed BBC source told MBW.

“With four producers joining Apple, that hiring of Zane all-of-a-sudden makes much more sense, doesn’t it?”

Another insider informs MBW that the exodus has been dubbed “the Apple crumble” internally at the Beeb.

Meanwhile, the respected head of editorial at Deezer, James Foley, is understood to have left the company to join a secretive competitor.

[Update: Foley is leaving Deezer for a competitor… but it’s Spotify, not Apple.]

Apple was recently advertising for editorial staff to help drive its new streaming service, which is on course to be unveiled in June.

“Radio 1 is vital to the record industry… we are proud of discovering and developing staff that are the best in the business.”

BBC statement

What does this all mean for Apple’s entry into the competitive streaming space?

Well, we can deduce that the Cupertino giant is clearly impressed by the contextual appeal of British broadcast radio – particularly when it comes to attracting young listeners – and wants to borrow some of that magic in the digital world.

It’s also presumably interested in giving a leg-up to the kind of emerging artists who would be selected to appear on BBC Introducing.

We’re set to find out more on June 8, when Apple is expected to unveil its on-demand streaming platform for the first time.

The BBC told MBW in a statement: “Radio 1 is respected worldwide for making great programmes and is vital to the record industry for choosing the best new music and artists.

“We are proud to have a proven record of discovering and developing staff that are seen as the best in the business.”

Radio 1’s Head Of Music, George Ergatoudis, and Controller, Ben Cooper, are currently in Los Angeles attending MusExpo.

Ergatoudis is being recognised as the International Music Person of the Year at the US event.Music Business Worldwide

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  • Chris Johnston

    Please – no more of this phrasing!
    “MBW has reached out to the BBC for comment.”

  • Guitardaddy1

    Apple is a ‘disruptive monster’ says R1 head of music. Mmmm just like the BBC Radio 1 always has been with “has been” being the operative term!