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Is Madonna really banned from the BBC Radio 1 playlist?

By Chi Chi Izundu
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

image copyrightReuters

There's been a bit of a media storm surrounding Madonna over the last couple of days, and it's not down to the outfit she wore at this year's Grammy awards.

Instead it's been about her music, her age and whether she's been banned from the Radio 1 playlist.

The singer, 56, has a new album out, Rebel Heart, and the first official single is called Living for Love.

But Radio 1 says age has nothing to do with tracks not being playlisted.

Earlier this week, the station's Facebook page was flooded with messages urging the network to play Living for Love as part of the station's 10-Minute Takeover feature.

image copyrightBBC RADIO 1 FACEBOOK

The fans, many from South America, accused the network of being "discriminatory".

Jordan, 24 and from Manchester, got in touch with Newsbeat to say he loves radio and "can't believe that Radio 1 has snubbed a song like Living for Love".

"I think there's a massive problem when it comes to radio playing, particularly, female singers over a certain age," he says.

"If this song had been recorded by someone younger, it would have had a lot more airplay by now.

"Madonna's a musical icon and as shown by her recent Grammy performance, she's just as relevant as any other recording artist out there right now."

There are several playlists run by Radio 1, including In New Music We Trust, and the tracks on it are published every week on the station's website.

image copyright@DIPLO

In a statement, Radio 1 says: "The tracks are chosen on musical merit and their relevance to our young audience on a case-by-case basis, and while around 40% of the country's 15 to 29-year-olds tune into Radio 1 each week, an artist's age is never a factor."

Radio 1 DJ Diplo has also waded into the argument, tweeting "tell @BBCR1 age ain't nothing but a # and support Nicki Minaj and Madonna".

But Radio 1 bosses say this track didn't make the cut.

Newsbeat has occasionally been invited to sit in on the Radio 1 playlist meeting, which comprises the music team, production teams and of course - lunch.

It's a meeting that can go on for up to four hours, with in-depth discussions about songs, the audience and "musical merit".

image copyrightGetty Images

But if you think about all the music being made and released in the world today, then you can imagine the competitive nature for the 15 places on the A playlist.

Sir Paul McCartney, 72, has two playlisted singles (Only One and FourFiveSeconds).

DJ David Guetta, 47, is on the list too with his track What I Did for Love featuring Emeli Sande as well as 39-year-old Sia and Foo Fighters, fronted by 47-year-old singer Dave Grohl (the band has a joint age of 232).

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