“We also license our music very aggressively. This is for two reasons: We derive a huge income stream from this exploitation, and our music reaches listeners in new ways, building more fans.”
Jay Jay French
There has been a bit of backlash to politicians and other movements using popular songs as backing tracks to their campaigns and demonstrations. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was exploited by Arnie for his California Governor campaign and recently by Trump for his presidential bid. Both times, the TS machine allowed it to happen. However, in 2012 Dee Snider asked Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan to stop using the song, because he did not support Ryan.
Prior to Trump using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” he used songs from other artists.
Steven Tyler asked Donald Trump to stop using the power ballad “Dream On” at his campaigns. Trump responded by saying that he found a better song to take its place.
Trump was also asked to stop using, R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in The Free World”.
In Australia, anti-Islam rally groups started to use a song from Cold Chisel at their rallies, which had Jimmy Barnes (the vocalist) taking to his Facebook page to state that he did not support these groups using the music.
So what right do artists have if any, to stop these exploitations from happening?
Did you know that Neil Young was asking Trump for money for his stupid PONO music player before Trump decided to enter politics. Then months later, Young is asking Trump to stop using his music because he doesn’t agree with his viewpoints nor does he want to be associated with it.
How can it be that it is okay for people to purchase the music of the artists, but not okay for those same people to use the music of the artists to prove a point or get a message through.
Don’t we live in a democratic society, where freedom of speech is valued?.
And then that Copyright word is put out there. If an artist sells their copyright to a corporation for a fee, then what right do they have to “use copyright” as a censorship tool. They have sold their right. You can’t have it both ways.
If anyone has the right to complain, then it is the corporation.
So which way do artists want?
I have read articles where Dee Snider is even contemplating telling Trump to not use “Were Not Gonna Take It” anymore, however I hope he doesn’t do so.
Because, in the end, music needs people to thrive and it can be used by the people in many different ways. Many supporters of political campaigns and movements are music fans. So while the artist thinks that they are taking a stand against the politician or the movement, as a by product of taking that stand they are also taking a stand against their own fan base.
Now, people might come from different walks of life and have differing viewpoints on a range of issues. Just because an artist doesn’t agree with a viewpoint it doesn’t mean the people should be stopped from using songs that they grew up with or songs that could get their message across in a way no speech could.