Madonna vs Radio 1

Staff Writer

Madonna has come out swinging over the lack of airplay for her single “Living for Love” on the high-rating CHR station BBC Radio 1.

The debate has degenerated into a war of words over the last couple of weeks, with both Madonna and Radio 1 trading verbal blows.

For her part, Madonna has branded Radio 1 ‘discriminatory and unfair’ following its refusal to play the song, saying that the decision is based on her age, rather than the quality of the song.

Radio 1’s Head of Music, George Ergatoudis, has previously stated that he does not believe Madonna fits the audience requirements of Radio 1;

“The BBC Trust have asked us to go after a young audience. We’ve got to concentrate on people aged 15-30. We have to bring our average age down. The vast majority of people who like Madonna are over 30, and frankly we’ve moved on from Madonna’

However, Madonna believes the lack of airplay is due to her age, rather than the song itself, saying:

‘I was like wait a second shouldn’t it be to do with whether you wrote a good, catchy pop song? My manager said to me, if you’re not in your twenties, it’s hard. You might get your record played in your thirties. There’s a handful of people who do – Pharrell got lucky. But if you’re in your fifties, you can forget it’.

“Really? Is that how it’s broken down? I’m so stupid. I didn’t know it was anything to do with my age. I just do my work.”

Radio 1 Head of Music George ErgatoudisRadio 1 Controller (Content Director) Ben Cooper has hit back saying that Madonna will be played on the station when she releases a more relevant song, and that the lack of airplay has nothing to do with her age but is based on the ‘merit of the music’.

Cooper said; 

‘We do not ban artists. The playlist committee takes into account all different elements and information about what records feel relevant. When it’s a choice between her and a new up-and-coming artist, you say which is more relevant to a young audience?”

High-profile Radio 1 Announcer Scott Mills agreed, saying the station was right;

‘I don’t actually mind the new single, but do I think Radio 1 should play it? Probably not. They’re trying to get the average age of the listener down and, to be honest, most Madonna fans are in their 30s and 40s.

When you’ve got more relevant up-and-coming artists and bands and there’s a space on the playlist, then it’s in the BBC Radio 1 remit that it should go to a British artist anyway.

So although DJs have no say on what does or doesn’t get played, I completely understand why they don’t play her.’

In refuting the claims of ‘ageism’ Radio 1 have pointed out that FourFiveSeconds, the Kanye West, Rihanna song featuring Paul McCartney is currently on rotation.

Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper

Controller Ben Cooper said:

‘Radio 1 do not ever ban artists. The tracks are chosen on musical merit and their relevance to our young audience on a case-by-case basis.’

‘Whilst around 40 per cent of the country’s 15 to 29-year-olds tune into Radio 1 each week, an artist’s age is never a factor.’

In Australia, the current Madonna track “Living for Love” is on high rotation on the Nova network, receiving around 30 spins a week on each Nova station (according to Aircheck data);  whilst the Today/Hit Network, and KIIS stations are not playing the track.

See the video for Madonna “Living for Love” below. 





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