It is not unusual for rock stars to band together to support political causes but recent actions have caused some music artists to start fighting for their rights.
Lately, many musicians have been hearing their songs played at political rallies even though politicians never asked for permission to use their music. Well, now these musicians have had enough.
Today, the Artists Rights Coalition (ARA) is demanding that politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties get clearance to use artsists’ music in advance.
The ARA is a non-profit organization and advocate for songwriters and musicians. They are calling for major U.S. national political party committees to "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."
An all star lineup has signed a letter addressed to both major political parties in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. Here are some highlights.
"As artists, activists, and citizens, we ask you to pledge that all candidates you support will seek consent from featured recording artists and songwriters before using their music in campaign and political settings.
"This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy, and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist's support or distorting an artists' expression in such a high stakes public way."
The letter was signed by several well known musical artists including the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Sia, Regina Spektor, R.E.M., Lorde, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Roseanne Cash, Lionel Richie, Pearl Jam and Green Day.
The letter goes on to explain that it is about more than just politely asking permission. The actions politicians have taken can, at times, question artistic integrity and set forth the implication that the artist supports the candidate. In this light, the use of the music can be taken into the hands of the law.
As a follow up to the letter’s release, the ARA has issued the following statement. "We've seen so many artists and estates dragged into politics against their will and forced to take aggressive action to prohibit the use of their music - usually songs that are broadcast during political rallies or used in campaign ads. It can confuse and disappoint fans and even undermine an artists’ long-term income – and mostly, it's just not right.”
The matter of suing for consent is one that artists promise will not go away. The Rolling Stones and Neil Young are just some musicians considering suing the Trump campaign for using music without their approval.
The letter calls for the parties to respond by Aug. 10 concerning how they plan to accomplish these changes. We can only wait to find out what the upshot will be.