What do Adele, Queen, Neil Young and the Rolling Stones have in common? They are all Grammy awardwinning artists. Incorrect, Queen has never won a Grammy. We're shocked too. What they do have in common is they form part of a growing list of musicians who have spoken out about their disdain at Donald Trump using their music to promote his political agenda.
Roosevelt was the first US presidential candidate to take the ingenious step of using popular music in his presidential campaign. Being a Democrat, it was smooth sailing. Likewise, in 2008 Stevie Wonder was happy to say, signed sealed delivered, I'm yours, to Obama. However, finding music to use in a political campaign has been a battle the Republicans have been fighting for decades.
Back in 1984 Bruce Springsteen told Ronald Reagan to take the long walk home when a request was made to use Born in the USA in Reagan's campaign. Tom Petty said I won't back down to George Bush in his 2000 campaign, and more recently a long list of music industry heavy weights have told Trump to stop using their music to convince voters that America needs him to make America great again.
So what rights do musicians have to stop politicians from using their music? The legal position in the States is pretty different to here in Australia.
Any public performance of music needs a licence. In Australia, the majority of those licenses expressly exclude public performance at a political event, however that's not strictly the case in the USA. An event may tick all the copyright boxes, however artists can still rely on actions such as passing off, misrepresentation and trademark infringement to prevent their music and consequently their brand being used for a cause they don't support.
Republicans will keep battling to find popular artists to endorse their campaign mind you, if we were the Stones we'd let the Donald keep playing "You Can't Always Get What You Want", just for the irony.