All week, the Republic National Convention has been raising the ire of musicians who say they don’t want their work associated with the party or its nominee for president.
Monday night (July 18), Donald Trump strutted onstage in Cleveland to the tune of Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” prompting the band to issue a public disavowal afterward. The band, which has been vocal about its feelings about the billionaire mogul in the past, took to Twitter to say that Trump used the song “against our wishes.”
Since then, a veritable horde of musicians have also piped up to complain about their music being used by the GOP. That crowd includes Paul Rodgers, R&B group The O’Jays, pop-fusion band Earth, Wind, & Fire, and even artists who are no longer alive: the families of the late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and the late Beatles member George Harrison both issued statements on July 21 calling for Trump to stop using their loved ones’ music.
All of this comes on top of the pile of artists who’ve been protesting Trump’s use of their songs throughout his entire campaign—including Adele, R.E.M., Aerosmith, and Neil Young.
But artists generally don’t get to decide who can play their music and who can’t. Usage rights for major artists are managed by performing rights organizations. And as long as those firms have blessed the licensing requests, Trump and the GOP can play the music of their choosing.