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UPDATE: APPLE POACHES TOP PRODUCERS FROM BBC RADIO 1 (MBW)

Breaking news out of London, courtesy of Tim Ingham’s Music Business Worldwide:

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 rumored to be on Apple’s shopping list include Natasha Lynch and Kieran Yeates—both considered star producers at Radio 1. 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 program, BBC Introducing.

“There’s no denying that there’s something of an exodus to Apple from Radio 1 right now,” a mole within the BBC told MBW. “With four producers joining Apple, that hiring of Zane all-of-a-sudden makes much more sense, doesn’t it?”

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

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

So that’s potentially one star presenter and four star producers from Radio 1 headed to Apple—plus one wordsmith/curator from Deezer.

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.

In other BBC personality news, MBW reports that top music gatekeeper Nigel Harding will be departing the U.K. institution to hang up a freelance shingle, with 5/25 set as his last day at the Beeb.

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