THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED AT POLITICAL RALLIES
Here’s an interesting piece from longtime Cincinnati Radio personality Craig Kopp. Craig is in Tampa now, and he recently took a look at rock musicians, including the Rolling Stones, who’ve objected to President Trump playing their songs at his rallies. Just for reference, here’s a Forbes article with a comprehensive list of the objecting artists.
Craig’s piece is interesting because it flips the script a little. He notes that while the artists are certainly free to object to who uses their songs and for what purpose, politicians have rights too. Maybe more than the artists.
Here’s what complicates things. Artists use licensing services (BMI and ASCAP are the two big ones) to manage their material. This relieves artists of the burden of policing who is using their songs and billing and collecting for the use. It’s a huge benefit to the artists.
So, if a campaign wants to use a particular song, it doesn’t call the band, it just contacts BMI, pays a fee and gets a license to use the song. So, the price of the benefits of convenience and a regular payment stream is the lack of control over who gets to use the song. Anyone who pays the fee can play the tune. Artists may not like it, but a deal is a deal.
Apparently, some of the licenses have an opt out for the artist, and the Rolling Stones apparently invoked that right. In their case, the President (who likes to play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at his rallies) may have a problem.
And if all of the artists in the Forbes piece can exercise the opt out, President Trump may have to hope Tucker Carlson takes guitar lessons if he wants any music at his rallies.