Classic Rockers & Current Stars Demand Clearance For Campaign Music

What do members of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, R.E.M., Pearl Jam and Green Day have in common with the likes of Lorde, Sia and Regina Spektor? Outside of hordes of fans and albums sold, all have signed an open letter demanding that their songs get clearance before they can be played at political events.

They are among the dozens of big names who are teaming with the Artist Rights Alliance to call on major U.S. political parties “establish clear policies requiring campaigns to seek consent of featured recording artists, songwriters and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting.”

Also among those inking the letter are members of Blondie, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash and Lionel Richie.

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BMI Warns Donald Trump Campaign To Stop Playing Rolling Stones’ 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want' At Rallies

The news comes among a flood of recent complaints by musicians griping about their songs being used by the Donald Trump re-election campaign. As Deadline reported exclusively last month, performing rights groups BMI and ASCAP have warned the president’s team against using certain songs at rallies and other events. At the forefront of that initiative are the Rolling Stones, whose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” has been a staple at Trump events for years.

That band’s Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are among the musicians who signed the open letter. But they certainly aren’t alone in wanting their music off the rally playlists.

Numerous other acts have publicly objected to the use of their songs at Trump’s campaign rallies, including Neil Young, whose “Rockin’ in the Free World” was played when Trump announced his candidacy after descending an escalator at the Trump Tower in New York in June 2015; Queen for his use of “We Are the Champions” at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland; Rihanna, for the use of her hit song “Don’t Stop the Music” at a 2018 Trump rally in Tallahassee, FL; Pharrell Williams, whose Oscar-nominated “Happy” was played at a Trump rally hours after 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018; Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie, whose “High Hopes” played at Trump’s Phoenix event this week; and the estate of the Tom Petty, whose “I Won’t Back Down” also was played at Trump’s rally last week in Tulsa.

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