The Rolling Stones have released a statement this past weekend stating that if President Donald Trump does not stop using their music at his rallies, they will take legal action. The statement reads: “Despite cease & desist directives to Donald Trump in the past, the Rolling Stones are taking further steps to exclude him using their songs at any of his future political campaigning. The Stones’ legal team is working with BMI. BMI has notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement. If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”
Donald Trump has been using songs like, You Can’t Always Get What You Want at his rallies since 2016, including using it at his recent rally in Tulsa. In 2016, The Rolling Stones spoke out about the campaigns use of their music at the Republican Convention.
Political rallies often include music to hype up the crowd. It is not necessary for the Trump campaign to gain permission from the artist as the arenas they are held in have Public Performance Licenses, which gives them the right to over 15 million musical works from the BMI’s collection.
The BMI have stepped in to assist the Rolling Stones in stopping the campaign from using their work. Speaking to Deadline, a spokesperson for BMI has said; “There is a provision, however, that allows BMI to exclude musical works from the license if a songwriter or publisher objects to its use by a campaign. BMI has received such an objection and sent a letter notifying the Trump campaign that the Rolling Stones’ works have been removed from the campaign license, and advising the campaign that any future use of these musical compositions will be in breach of its license agreement with BMI.”
Many other artists have spoken out about the Trump campaign’s use of their music, in order to make it clear that they do not support him and didn’t give permission for their music to be played. This list includes: Adele, George Harrison’s estate, Rihanna, Aerosmith, Queen and Panic! at the Disco. In 2015 Elton John asked for Donald Trump to stop using his song Rocketman, which was famously the inspiration for Trump’s nickname for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, as he didn’t feel comfortable with his music being used in American elections.
Dear Everyone Else,
Donald Trump represents nothing we stand for. The highest hope we have is voting this monster out in November.
Please do your part: https://t.co/JX8GynZduq
— Brendon Urie (@brendonurie) June 24, 2020
While these artists can ask for their music not to be used, unless Trump agrees or they can sort it out with him privately, there is no legal need for him to stop using their music.
Donald Trump has always had a lot of push back from celebrities. When you compare how many artists have performed for Obama over his presidency, Trump’s list is almost non-existent, especially with all of the artists who refused to perform at the inauguration ball such as Charlotte Church and Bruce Springsteen.