Trump Campaign Was Legally Allowed To Use Neil Young's Music At Rally, But Doing So Was Kind Of Dumb

from the yeh-fired dept

It seems like every presidential election cycle, which comes around far too often and lasts for far too long for my taste, there inevitably ends up being some kind of row between some musicians and some politicians over music used at campaign events. The targets of these disputes tend to be Republican candidates, due to the political demographics of musicians as a general thing, but Democrats have been targeted as well. And, as we’ve mentioned in the past, other than creating a stir in the media and hoping the target campaign relents, there’s roughly shit-all these musicians can do about it. But that stir can often times be enough, especially if the musician uses the opportunity to pimp a rival candidate.

Like Bernie Sanders, for example. Apparently when walking ego Donald Trump decided that he was going to announce his candidacy for President of these United States, his campaign decided to use Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” at the event. Neil not only wasn’t pleased, but he used the opportunity to boost the candidate he does endorse.

“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” said Young’s manager in a statement. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States Of America.”

As it turned out, as it usually does, Trump was authorized to use Young’s music through an ASCAP license. That said, maybe it’s time politicians learned to take the extra step and clear things with musicians before using their music, if for no other reason than to protect against the backlash becoming an advertisement for a rival campaign. Campaigns are very much like brands, after all, and the last thing a brand wants to do is get a competitor’s name in circulation. That’s got to be doubly so when the rival “brand” is someone like Bernie Sanders who, think whatever you like of him, is starving for more name-recognition on the national level. A couple of simple phone calls from the campaign office would likely inoculate against this sort of thing happening, where now every quote from Young on this dust-up mentions Young’s support of Sanders.

All that being said, Young has somehow managed to make Trump the sympathetic figure in this whole story.

A press secretary for the real estate mogul said Wednesday that Trump would respect the wishes of Neil Young and no longer use “Rockin’ In the Free World,” which Trump featured Tuesday during his announcement that he was seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Trump press secretary Hope Hicks said Wednesday that “despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes Neil very much.”

It’s a good way to spin the ending of this story for Trump’s team, appearing so reasonable and agreeable to Young’s antics, which come off looking petty. Still, no reason to let your campaign’s music choice give the artist an opportunity to pimp Bernie Sanders. There are enough conservative musicians out there making music.

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Comments on “Trump Campaign Was Legally Allowed To Use Neil Young's Music At Rally, But Doing So Was Kind Of Dumb”

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41 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A local radio personality endorsed Chris Christy for president. His argument was that all the candidates are basically the same, but Christy has the potential for much more comic relief than any of the other likely candidates. This was before Trump.

So I support Trump for president. If he wins, the amount of comedy gold coming out of the White House will be unprecedented. Late night comedy shows will have to spill over into daytime. Just the need for more writers and on air comedians will be enough to keep Trump’s promise of being the best jobs president ever.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People who find Sanders appealing are very likely to find the other Democratic candidates unappealing. So, you’re recommending that those people should avoid voting for the candidate they feel represents them the best in order to vote for a candidate they dislike just because it might cause a different candidate they dislike to win?

This type of thinking is a large part of what’s gone wrong with elections in the US.

Bob says:

Doesn’t matter what Neil Young wants or says he sold his rights to the music publisher. Now the music is available to anyone to use as they see fit if they paid for it. It is no different than purchasing any other consumer good. After the consumer buys it the manufacturer has no say in how it should be used.

Neil shouldn’t have sold the rights of his songs to a publishing company if he didn’t want Trump or anyone else to use it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not just politicians. It’s amazing how many times companies choose inappropriate music to use in their commercials. One example that I found extremely funny was when Devo’s song “Here To Go” was used in a car commercial.

It’s funny because the song is about how we’re all going to die and ends with the sounds of a car accident.

Anonymous Coward says:

All I know is that any time a popular song is used as background music in a commercial or theme song it completely turns me off to ever listening to it again on the radio or adding it to my collection.

If anything the studio selling rights to a song has caused them to lose more money from me than anything else. If only my boycotting wasn’t so irrelevant to them. 😛

GEMont (profile) says:

Heil POTUS!!

Corporate Figurehead Selection Day approaches once again.

With the addition of the final Clown Candidate for POTUS now dancing around the ring, all that is left is the introduction of the Ringer – the pre-selected corporate winner of the “contest”.

It has to be someone nobody knows well, and who has no track record of past (dirty) deeds, like Barracks (Drones) O-bomber once had. Otherwise it will be impossible to convince the American public that it all “voted” for the same candidate once again.

Certainly, with the addition of the “Toupe”, the list of people that nobody in their right mind would vote for, is now complete, leaving only the introduction of Mr., (or more likely) Mrs. Only Possible Choice.

Should be a fun circus performance as usual. Don’t forget your popcorn.

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