Rihanna music publisher removes her songs from Trump campaign license
BY MORGAN GSTALTER – 11/10/18 08:42 AM EST
Pop star Rihanna won a legal victory over President Trump this week after her performing rights company Broadcast Music Inc., (BMI) informed the Trump campaign that it can no longer use her music at events.
BMI removed Rihanna’s music from the blanket “political entities license” agreement which previously gave Trump’s campaign the right to play Rihanna songs during his campaign events and rallies, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
“BMI has received a communication from Robyn Fenty, professionally known as ‘Rihanna,’ objecting to the Trump Campaign’s use of Rihanna’s musical works,” BMI said in a Nov. 6 letter obtained by the Times.
“As such … this letter serves as notice that Rihanna’s musical works are excluded from the [political entities] Agreement, and any performance of Rihanna’s musical works by the Trump Campaign from this date forward is not authorized by BMI.”
The letter, addressed to senior members of Trump’s campaign, comes days after the singer vowed that her songs would no longer be played at Trump’s “tragic rallies.”
Rihanna first became aware that her hit song “Don’t Stop the Music” was playing before a Trump rally in Tallahassee, Fla., last week.
Washington Post correspondent Philip Rucker tweeted that Rihanna’s song was “blaring” in the stadium and that Trump aides were tossing free T-shirts into the crowd like they were at a baseball game.
“Not for much longer,” Rihanna responded on Twitter. “Me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies.”
When the same song was played again during another rally in Chattanooga, Tenn., her legal team sent Trump an official cease-and-desist letter.
“As you are or should be aware, Ms. Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper,” the letter obtained by Rolling Stone read.
Rihanna is an outspoken Democratic supporter who endorsed Andrew Gillum ahead of Florida’s contentious gubernatorial race.
She’s not the first musician who has fought back against Trump for using their songs during his political rallies.
Pharrell Williams reportedly sent Trump a cease-and-desist warning after his song “Happy” was played at a rally just hours after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose called out the president for playing their music even after the band formally requested that he stop.
“Unfortunately the Trump campaign is using loopholes in the various venues’ blanket performance licenses which were not intended for such craven political purposes, without the songwriters’ consent,” Rose wrote on Twitter. “Can u say ‘shitbags?!’”
Other musicians include Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Twisted Sister, Elton John and members of Prince’s estate.