Rihanna Legally Revoked Trump’s Permission to Play Her Music at Rallies
Rihanna has successfully put a big barrier up for President Donald Trump should he ever want to play her music at his MAGA rallies again. In addition to the cease and desist letter her personal lawyers sent Trump, her publishing rights company Broadcast Music, Inc. sent their own letter revoking Trump’s right to play her music at his political events. This is big because Trump was playing Rihanna’s music at his rallies through a licensing agreement his campaign had with BMI.
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As Rolling Stone detailed, Trump’s campaign previously paid a blanket licensing fee to BMI for use of all its catalogue as part of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Political Entities License Agreement. The company has now removed Rihanna’s works from the list of artists included in that deal.
Rolling Stone obtained a copy of the letter sent to the associate vice president and the director of operations for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Part of it reads, “BMI has received a communication from Robyn Fenty, professionally known as ‘Rihanna,’ objecting to the Trump Campaign’s use of Rihanna’s musical works. As such … this letter serves as notice that Rihanna’s musical works are excluded from [an agreement between BMI and the Trump Campaign for song usage], and any performance of Rihanna’s musical works by the Trump Campaign from this date forward is not authorized by BMI.”
Mashable spoke to music attorney Kamal Moo who confirmed that while Rihanna has blocked Trump from playing her music in some venues, there’s a loophole that Trump could use to play her music in some places. Apparently, BMI also has separate licensing agreements with specific venues. If Trump holds a rally in one, he may still be able to play her music on the venue’s licensing agreement, not his political entities one.
BMI confirmed in a statement to Mashable that yes, Trump could rely on a venue license agreement, but it’s a legal gamble.
“If a campaign attempts to rely on a venue license to cover its music use for events, there is risk involved,” BMI said in its statement. “Many venues where campaign events are held do not have licenses, and venue licenses are not intended to cover campaign events in the first place. The Political Entities License protects against this risk and uncertainty, and it’s why campaigns take them.”