When R&B superstar Rihanna discovered that Trump had been playing her song "Please Don't Stop the Music", she had a pointed reply. Pharrell sent Trump a cease and desist after "Happy" was played at a rally, and Axl Rose recently said that the band has formally requested that Trump stop using Guns "N" Roses' music too.
Blanket performance licenses are obtained via ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers), the primary organizations in charge of licensing music. These licenses allow venues to play whatever music they like at various events, without an artists' permission.
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The singer responded Sunday after Philip Rucker, the White House bureau chief for the Washington Post, tweeted that Rihanna's single "Don't Stop the Music" was being played at a Trump rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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In 2015, the singer's legal team warned Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, over his use of "Dream On". Trump has also had some musical squabbles with Neil Young for using his song "Rockin' in the Free World", as well as REM for "It's the End of the World". Elton John, Axl Rose and Prince's estate have all complained about Trump's unauthorized use of their work. Last week, Pharrell objected after Trump played his song "Happy" at a rally held in Murphysboro, Illinois hours after a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Some lawyers have argued that there may be other legal routes that could be used to try to block politicians from using music without specific permission, even where a venue has its BMI and ASCAP licences.
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According to the letter, Williams will "not allow" Trump to use music from his back catalogue at any future event.