Donald Trump has another Hollywood foe coming after him. This time, it’s pop star Rihanna, who has the same beef with the president that Steven Tyler, frontman of the world famous Aerosmith band, had a couple months ago.
Just like Tyler, Rihanna doesn’t like Trump playing her song at his massive rallies, which there has been quite a few of in the final days before the midterms. Perhaps she’s just really jealous that he can fill a stadium ten times more full that her concerts can and she’s really just trying to capitalize off of his attention. Of course, she’d never admit that, even though her jealousy seemed to show when she called his enormous events “tragic.”
Rihanna got wind that her song “Don’t Stop the Music” had played at Trump’s Tennessee and pitched a fit. She demanded that he not use her music at any of his rallies and was immediately hit with a ruthless response to her whining.
With #Democrat‘s dead and illegal voters being counted, it’s up to every single conservative to get out and #VoteRed! Some races are so tight that as little as 200 votes could make the difference.#Midterms2018 #Midterms #ElectionEve #ElectionDay #MAGA #RedWave
— Amanda Shea (@TheAmandaShea) November 5, 2018
The Washington Post reports:
Hours before President Trump took the stage at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Sunday night, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” reverberated through the 11,000-seat McKenzie Arena. “Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics,” The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker wrote on Twitter, where he described the scene: staff members throwing Trump T-shirts into the crowd “like a ball game,” lines stretching out the doors.
“Keep on rockin’ to it,” Rihanna’s recorded voice sung out. “Please don’t stop the, please don’t stop the, please don’t stop the music.”
But when the pop star learned that her 2007 hit song had been featured at the rally, her response was unambiguous: She did, in fact, want the music to stop.
“Not for much longer,” she tweeted, in response to Trump using her song. “… me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies.”
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
The Barbadian singer can’t vote in the United States but has made no secret of her political leanings: She has been a vocal critic of the president. Last year, she called him an “immoral pig” after he signed an executive order banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States in January 2017 and criticized his response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico.
Weeks before the 2016 election, Rihanna was spotted wearing a T-shirt with a photograph of Hillary Clinton’s face screenprinted on it. After Trump’s inauguration, she showed up at the Women’s March in New York in a pink sweatshirt and matching tutu and dabbed in front of Trump Tower.
Have you signed our petition at https://t.co/JkYAbMFM5M
We are taking 1 million signatures to congress and we will hold Facebook accountable for attacking Free Speech. WE NEED YOU TO SIGN! #MAGA @codeofvets @GartrellLinda @Lrihendry @jjauthor @sxdoc @irritatedwoman @jstines3
— Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) November 5, 2018
The answer is complicated. When a politician wants to use a song as background music at a rally, their campaign needs a public performance license from the copyright holder of the musical composition, rather than one from the recording artist, intellectual property lawyer Danwill Schwender explained in a 2017 article in “American Music,” a scholarly journal published by the University of Illinois Press. Radio and TV ads are another story — the owner of the sound recording, typically the artist’s label, will need to license the song to the campaign.
In the United States, the copyrights for most musical compositions belong to one of two performance rights organizations: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), which administer 23.5 million songs between them. In 2012, BMI created a separate license for political entities, Schwender wrote, which allows musicians to opt out if they don’t want their songs used at rallies. ASCAP has a similar provision in place, according to NPR.
Musicians from Adele to Neil Young have requested that Trump stop playing their songs at his campaign stops, and some have taken advantage of that clause. In October 2015, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler demanded that the Trump campaign stop playing “Dream On” at rallies, and BMI pulled public performance rights for the song. (Trump’s Aug. 21 rally in Charleston, W. Va., featured Aerosmith’s “Livin’ On the Edge,” prompting another cease-and-desist letter from Tyler.) Similarly, after the Republican National Convention licensed Queen’s “We Are the Champions” in 2016, the band chose to exclude the song from being used for future political events.