Madonna is accusing Britain’s Radio 1 of ageism, describing the BBC station’s decision to pull her music from its lineup as “discriminatory and unfair.”
The station, whose target audience is those aged 15-30, announced in February that the 56-year-old’s newest album would essentially be snubbed, as Madonna has grown “irrelevant” to listeners.
“At the end of the day it’s all about relevance. It’s natural that as an artist gets older their audience goes elsewhere and Radio 1 has to reflect that,” a station insider said at the time.
Her single “Living for Love,” from the album Rebel Heart was aired only once on Radio 1 on Jan. 9.
Madonna issued a response this week, telling The Sun, “I was like, ‘Wait a second. Shouldn’t it have 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.’
I didn’t know it was anything to do with my age. I just do my work. We’ve made so many advances in other areas – civil rights, gay rights – but ageism is still an area that’s taboo and not talked about and dealt with.
Radio 1’s head of music, George Ergatoudis, described the station’s decision as cut and dry, via BBC:
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. That’s something we’re very conscious of.
The vast majority of people who like Madonna, who like her music now, are over 30 and frankly, we’ve moved on from Madonna… 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.
Earlier this week, Madonna told Out magazine gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights.
“To me, the last great frontier is women…Women are still the most marginalized group. You’re still categorized—you’re either a virgin or a whore,” she said. “If you’re a certain age, you’re not allowed to express your sexuality, be single or date younger men.”