Artist News

Survivor and REM angry at Republican use of their music

By | Published on Thursday 10 September 2015


Survivor and REM have become the latest in a seemingly endless line of bands to distance themselves from the use of their songs by right wing politicians.

In Survivor’s case, the use of ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ by Mike Huckabee associates the band with various layers of shittiness. The Republican presidential candidate not only used the song, but used it to introduce Kim Davis to the stage like some kind of war hero at a rally this week. Davis, of course, being the Kentucky county clerk who just spent six days in prison for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences.

Writing on Facebook, Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan said: “NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use my tune ‘The Eye Of The Tiger’. I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin!”

Let’s just hope that message gets through to future generations, because you know that video is going to be used to illustrate how utterly fucking awful the people of 2015 were for decades to come.

Speaking of awful people, Donald Trump has upset some more musicians by using their work in his campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate. REM follow Neil Young in calling out the billionaire hair technician for using their music without asking first.

Responding to Trump’s use of their song ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ at a rally yesterday, the band said in a statement: “While we do not authorise or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here. The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign”.

Guitarist Mike Mills added on Twitter: “Personally, I think the Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him”.

While vocalist Michael Stipe said bluntly: “Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign”.

As ever, it’s important to note that neither politician, no matter how moronic their campaigns maybe, has broken any copyright laws here, so long as they paid the relevant public performance fees. While you do need permission to play published songs in public in the US, such things are covered by blanket licences provided by the collecting societies, so no specific case-by-case permission is required.

Of course, given how upset usage of this kind often makes artists, when their music and lyrics are attached to political views they do not share, it would be a nice gesture for politicians to routinely ask for permission anyway. Although for many candidates, this would make it hard to find much recognisable music to use in their campaigns.