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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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 18 Jun 2015 @ 1:33pm

    Donald Trump is just a host for what really runs the show, his hair.

    It's a sentient, alien looking to make a power grab.
    I know this as Trump has never provided his hair's birth certificate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 1:34pm

    I don't know if I am for or against Trump but his response to Young's complaint impressed me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      I could almost gaurantee that you are not for trump.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 18 Jun 2015 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, did I miss the announcement what being for Trump has been decided on to entail?

        Has he made up his hair about this yet? Or did his campaign managers roll dice?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 1:42pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 18 Jun 2015 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      Ah but it was his press sec that responded. It's possible he feels that way, but unknown for sure.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Not a NY fan, 18 Jun 2015 @ 2:02pm

    Actually...

    Neil Young had a pretty good and definitely cogent post as his response.
    Argued for democracy and people and against corporatism and the hijacking of the democratic process.
    Spent VERY little time discussing the "permission" issue.
    I thought it was pretty good as a tech dirty kind of awesome...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anon, 18 Jun 2015 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Actually...

      Exactly - how did Niel look bad in this exchange? He has a cogent and differing point of view, and using his lyrics just invites the response he got. I don't recall noticing the name Bernie Sanders, but now I know who he is. Brilliant, Donald!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 2:45pm

        Re: Re: Actually...

        I. also, don't doubt that the response that came from Neil Young came directly from the pen of Neil Young.
        I fail to see how Trumps spin-doctor saying he likes Neil Young has him looking like a "sympathetic figure". Sorry, a what?

        Trump a sympathetic figure - are you serious?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 18 Jun 2015 @ 2:38pm

    Right behind you, Napoleon.

    "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"
    - Donald Trump, on Obama's 2012 election win

    He may have failed to overthrow the US government, but he CAN defeat a Canadian folk singer using ASCAP licensing. Look out, ISIS!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ukko, 18 Jun 2015 @ 2:45pm

    You must be joking. Any boost to Bernie Sanders' campaign is a boon for Republicans. If he wins the Democratic nomination, it will be McGovern all over again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:14am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Howard the Duck, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      At least it won't be German Shepherds and fire hoses. Democrats are so forgetful.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 3:08pm

    The tangled web

    I couldn't give a shit about Trump, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the fact that Mr. Young didn't grasp that he had handed over his rights to ASCAP, and they can license his stuff to any cretin with a checkbook. Make a deal with the devil, you live with the results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 18 Jun 2015 @ 3:12pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 3:29pm

      Re:

      Now lets just the get the studios on board with the idea that a sale is a sale. Neil was just practicing what the studios preach, the creator of the work should be able to control its uses, at least that is their excuse or all the limitations they want to impose on use via DRM.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 4:39pm

      Re:

      You don't sell any rights to a collection agency like ASCAP, you're assigning the authority for the agency to collect and distribute royalties.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      Did you read what Mr Young wrote/said?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 5:11pm

    I find it humorous when politicians choose a "theme song" when they obviously do not understand the lyrics, what a bunch of idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:36am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 Jun 2015 @ 6:47pm

    Good 'ol Neil Young. Creative Commons Man don't need him around anyhow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 7:28pm

    Did Donald Trump just fire Neil Young from his campaign? Or did Neil Young quit? It appears to be a bit of both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2015 @ 7:36pm

    Actually, what Trump paid for was the performance rights. Since Trump hired his own crowd, it might be judged as a political commercial, and for that he ALSO needs the permission of the artist and/or publisher (the song is published by Neil's own company).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 18 Jun 2015 @ 8:02pm

    Maybe?

    Maybe Donald Trump, if elected, will push for major copyright reform?

    Now if this doesn't get a few "funny" votes, I don't know what will!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Jun 2015 @ 11:54pm

      Re: Maybe?

      Now if this doesn't get a few "funny" votes, I don't know what will!

      Which is the reason you don't make the "funniest posts of the week" lineup. If it's any consolation to you, neither do I.

      Fart joke.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 3:30am

    Perhaps Donald could use Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever" instead?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:59am

    Young is Canadian, does anyone care who he wants to be our President?

    What is supposed to do, do you think any artist would support Trump using their music?

    Most people overthink these kind of things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:49am

    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. :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 19 Jun 2015 @ 1:25pm

    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.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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