Music Licenses

Every four years we are subjected to another round of musicians complaining about politicians using their music during campaigns and conventions. Most of the time they not only use the song, but the actual recording.

In 1978 Cecil answered a question on the licensing laws regarding recording a cover version of a song. I would love an update on this as it applies to the current situation — Do politicians need permission to use a song? Can they use the musicians’ recording or do they legally need to create a cover version? Are royalties paid and does the amount vary based on the size of the venue (e.g. did the RNC pay more to use “We are the Champions” at the convention than Trump did when he announced his candidacy at his hotel)?

Thank you.

I just read an article on this (in regards to the “Don’t use our song(s)” video) and that reporter said most venues buy the licensing so artists don’t get a say in the matter. John Oliver's 'Don't Use Our Songs' Enlists Usher, Sheryl Crow, Michael Bolton, and Others to Shame Politicians About Music - The Atlantic

The Master’s article in question: “Must you get permission to record someone else’s song?”

Thread in progress: Is permission required from musicians for political rallies?

I remember Bruce Springsteen hired a flood of lawyers in the 80s to make sure the rnc quit using born in the usa…

Good self-interest and honest disagreement with the Repubs, to be sure. But since the song was actually about hard times and disillusionment with the “American Dream” as fetishized by the RNC, I always thought he’d have been better off letting them use the song and then mocking them for not actually understanding it… pointing out how deep their disconnect from any reality outside of their fever dreams they really were. :stuck_out_tongue: