Music Licensing, Permission, Prince and President Trump

The Estate of the late pop icon called ‘Prince’ has raised a dispute with the American President, Donald Trump. At a recent campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Trump used Prince’s track ‘Purple Rain’. In the U.S.A to play an artist’s music in public you have to purchase a licence. The company BMI is America’s largest music rights organisation that sells licenses which allow the purchaser to use the artists catalogue of music. Many artists are not happy with licenses being sold when they are going to be used for politics, as this may give the false impression that an artist supports the politician.

A legal letter has appeared on Prince’s official Twitter page. The letter, dated 15th October 2018 states that Trump ‘will not use Prince’s music in connection with its activities going forward.’ Only twelve months later, Trump has been caught playing Purple Rain at his campaign rally. Prince’s estate has said that they will ‘never give permission to President Trump to use Prince’s songs.’ This is not the first time that the President’s team have come under fire for playing tracks without the artists permission. Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Neil Young have all criticised President Trump for playing their tracks.

In the UK you also need to purchase a music license. This is because under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 permission is needed from the relevant copyright holders to be able to play or perform music in public. The licence you need is called ‘TheMusicLicence’ and it can be purchased from PPL PRS Ltd. Many different businesses such as, shops, offices, hairdressers and cafes may need to purchase this licence, even if they are just playing background music on a cd. If you are unsure if you need a music license at your business, please feel free to contact us here at Lawdit.

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