On Sunday lead signer for the rock band Guns N’ Roses (GNR) took to Twitter to express his stance on GNR’s music being used by President Trump during MAGA campaign rallies.
Rose, who is no stranger to controversy, explained in his first two tweets that he, like other artists objected to the use of their songs during “political events,” and had, “formally requested,” that their music not be “used at Trump rallies or Trump associated events.” The artist also goes onto to explain the “loopholes in various venues,” that allow the campaign the continued use of the song without the artists permission.
Unfortunately the Trump campaign is using loopholes in the various venues’ blanket performance licenses which were not intended for such craven political purposes, without the songwriters’ consent.
Can u say “shitbags?!”?
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 4, 2018
The loophole Rose cites in the above tweet as explained @ the balance careers is called a “blanket license,” according to the article this is used to “give permission to use any music from a specific catalog.”
The in-depth article explains in part that “most venues that host public performance of music need blanket licenses,” this would include venues such as the Staples Center located in CA, or say Madison Square Garden.
How it works is a bit complicated, but in short, a songwriter joins what is called a performance rights group, this group, either Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) or the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), is then paid by the venue, such as radio stations, a fee, for this fee, the venue can, “use all of the music represented by the group.”
Rose continues tweeting several more tweets on the subject explaining that as far has he is “concerned anyone can enjoy GNR,” that he understands you “can’t choose your fans,” and that’s okay with him, however, he adds, in his personal view that the “Trump administration,” along with “Republicans in Congress,” are doing our “nation a disservice.”
He spent two of his tweets stating that President Trump is “feeding off the anger,” and “the resentment,” that President Trump “sows 24/7.”
In his last tweet Rose explains, “Most of us in America have never experienced anything this obscene,” before in our lifetimes and that “if we as a country don’t wake up,” and “put an end,” to “this nonsense now it’s something we will definitely all pay hard,” for, “as time goes on.
Most of us in America have never experienced anything this obscene at this level in r lifetimes n’ if we as a country don’t wake up n’ put an end 2 this nonsense now it’s something we definitely will all pay hard 4 as time goes on.
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 4, 2018
Rihanna joins in the group of artist who expressed unhappiness that President Trump was using one of her songs. The singer slash actress learned via tweet that President Trump used one of her songs before a campaign rally in Tennessee.
Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip! https://t.co/dRgRi06GrJ
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 5, 2018
Vulture reported that so far, fourteen artists have requested their music not be used during MAGA rallies. Such artists include The Rolling Stones who have asked not once, but twice for the campaign to stop using their song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Another artist that through his lawyer, Dina LaPolt, sent a “cease and desist” letter to the White House, was Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, according to Variety, LaPolt in the letter cited the Lanham Act.
According to the article the Lanham Act prohibits, “any false designation or misleading description or representation of fact … likely to cause confusion … as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person.”
In the letter LaPolt writes, “Mr. Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr. Trump.”
Multiple sources reported throughout 2015 and through 2018, typically when asked to halt the use of a musicians song, a campaign simply does so, even if the campaign is within their legal right.