Rihanna on Sunday voiced her disapproval of the use of her song “Don’t Stop the Music” during Trump’s rally for U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee.
The singer tweeted in response to The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, who wrote: “It’s been said a million times, but here’s a million and one — Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics. Currently, Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ is blaring in Chattanooga as aides toss free Trump T-shirts into the crowd, like a ball game. Everyone’s loving it.”
Rihanna replied, “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!”
Earlier on Sunday, the singer endorsed Democrat Andrew Gillum in Florida’s governor’s race with social media posts.
Rihanna’s comments came just a few hours after a similar complaint by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who fired off a series off Tweets accusing the Trump campaign of “using loopholes in the various venues’ blanket performance licenses … without the songwriters’ consent.” Guns N’ Roses, along with the Rolling Stones, Pharrell Williams and other artists, have formally requested that their music not be used at Trump’s rallies — including sending cease-and-desist letters — to little avail.
The blanket licenses in question, which are issued by performing-rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI and apply to the venues at which the rallies are taking place, do provide protections for the use of music that the PROs represent, leaving the artists little legal recourse short of withdrawing from the blanket license. In August Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler contested that situation, citing the Lanham Act, which 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.” Tyler’s attorney contends that playing an Aerosmith song in a public arena gives the false impression that Tyler is endorsing Trump’s presidency, although no legal decision has been reached. Trump has used the Aerosmith songs “Dream On” and “Livin’ on the Edge” in his rallies.
“Just so ya know… GNR like a lot of artists opposed to the unauthorized use of their music at political events has formally requested r music not b used at Trump rallies or Trump associated events,” Rose wrote. He made his political perspective clear earlier in the week by tweeting, “Vote Blue… B—hes!”