It’s been clear for some time that the rivalry between on-demand music-streaming services and traditional radio isn’t just about the former attracting the latter’s listeners – it’s about poaching its on-air and behind-the-scenes talent too. Apple was one of the high-profile early examples of this when it hired Zane Lowe away from British broadcaster the BBC ahead of the launch of Apple Music and its Beats 1 station.
Now it’s returning to poach another key musical figure on the Beeb: Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth. At least, Sloth has announced his departure from the BBC, while MBW cites industry sources as pinpointing his destination as Apple Music “where he will host a new worldwide show on Beats 1, and will contribute to the creation and curation of playlists”.
But the most interesting thing about this hiring may not be the show and playlists, but Sloth’s ownership of the ‘Fire in the Booth’ format that’s been such a success for the BBC – where guest rappers come to his studio to show off their freestyle skills. At a time when Apple continues to quietly build its video content, with much of it music-based, Fire In The Booth could be a valuable part of its offering.