Artists sign open letter to restrict use of their music at political events

Listen up, politicians! Mick Jagger is telling you that you can’t always get what you want.

In an open letter, Lorde, Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, and many more are demanding that politicians gain permission before blasting their music at political events or for advertising.

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Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty

Thinking of using that kickass song for your political gain? Musicians Mick Jagger, Pearl Jam, Lorde, and more demand politicians ask for their permission first.

French composer Jean Sibelius believed that “music begins where the possibilities of language end.” His words hold truth but not in the case of political campaigns, with musicians urging politicians to use their own words instead of relying on empowering music to push their campaigns.

Written by an all-star line up of musicians and produced in partnership with the Artist Rights Alliance, the open letter calls for all 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.”

Signed by the likes of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Sia, Regina Spektor, R.E.M, Blondie, and Elvis Costello, the letter calls out both sides of politics in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.

The letter states that “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.”

Most importantly, the letter addresses the issue of consent. The named artists have said that using a song without passing through channels of permission is “dishonest and immoral” and when publicly used it “can compromise an artist’s personal values while disappointing and alienating fans – with great moral and economic cost.”

The issue of consent continues to feature in this year’s presidential election, with the Trump campaign failing to grasp why artists such as Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and others do not want their music to be the backbone of political campaigns.

Funnily enough, all Presidential candidates are allowed to use the music of these artists under certain conditions. The complex process is broken down by intellectual property lawyer Danwill Schwender breaks the complicated process down in his 2017 essay The Copyright Conflict Between Musicians and Political Campaigns Spins Around Again.

Parties have until August 10th to respond with how they plan to “accomplish these changes” and move forward seeking permission before they press play.