The Republican National Convention was held over the course of this last week and it is evident that there is a great deal of conflict regarding the music played throughout the event. A number of artists are upset over the usage of their music as permission was not granted, some were unpaid, and many do not support Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump’s defense? He enjoys the music and it amps up the audience – It serves no political purpose.
The biggest controversy of the Republican National Convention surrounded the Rolling Stones’ song titled You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The Rolling Stones has previously banned the Republican party from using their music in their campaign, specifically this song; however, Trump continues to play the song at the end of each of his speeches. The Rolling Stones has been quite public in their disagreements with Trump’s political campaign and their discontent with being involved in politics whatsoever.
Aside from the Rolling Stones, the surviving members of Queen has also announced their disapproval of Trump’s campaign using We Are The Champions. Similarly to the Rolling Stones, they also asked the Republican party to avoid using their music. Again, Trump disobeyed and many are displeased. While Trump and his campaign state that the music has been used for the sole purpose of entertainment, one truly has to wonder.
An artist creates a song with a message in mind, but in politics and to the general public, interpretations may always differ. What does Trump have in mind in playing specific songs such as You Can’t Always Get What You Want? Is he mocking those who do not support his campaign? Is it his way of celebrating his accomplishments thus far? Is he showing members of the Republican party that while the candidates they supported are out of the race, he is still in the running and is what the party needs? There are many possibilities, but I do not see one being simply for the joy of this music.
This has led me to wonder if an artist can take legal action against Trump in their defense of not providing permission nor support. Unfortunately, an artist has little legal action for the use of their music; it is only illegal to use music in a commercial without permission for copyright legalities. I for one believe an artist should have a say in where their music belongs in politics as it may have a negative affect on them per the public’s response. All in all, it does affect the artist.
This prompts me to ask for your opinion on the matter. Should artists have a say on where their music belongs? Or should politicians be free to use music however they like? Please comment below so we may further the discussion.