A president without a soundtrack: these are the artists who have demanded that Trump stop playing their songs at rallies
The music of political rallies is part of the experience that campaigns build for the public, but it seems that no one wants to sound on Trump's campaign.
Political rallies have two major functions: to help publicize a candidate's proposals and to build momentum: to get people excited, to make them feel united around a person and, at the same time, to measure forces against their competitors.
That emotion then causes volunteers to join campaigns, make donations, have heated discussions with family members about their favorite candidate and, most importantly, remember to go out and vote.
And music is a fundamental part of all this: it not only builds emotions but also makes it easier to remember campaign proposals.
As Astead Herndon said, almost a year ago, in an episode of The Daily about the sountracks of the 2020 campaigns: President Donald Trump's rallies are, almost, like events in megachurches. And to achieve that level of public excitement you need very good music.
Indeed, another way of thinking about the list of musicians who have asked the president to refrain from playing their songs at rallies is to imagine the Billboard lists from the mid-1960s onwards. Trump's campaign has used songs from all these decades and from the most prominent artists: from Queen to Pharrell Williams.
While some musicians have simply said they don't want their songs played at political rallies, others have expressly said they don't want them played at the president's, sent cease and desist orders - which are the step before starting the formal process of a lawsuit - and openly supported other candidates.
The list of artists who have refused to play at their rallies, both for the first election and now in the re-election campaign, includes Neil Young, R.E.M. (twice already, in September 2015 and in January of this year, his singer tweeted furiously in 2015: "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"), Aerosmipth, Adele, Elton John, Queen, Earth, Wind & Fire, The O'Jays, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones (first in 2016 and again two days ago), Twisted Sisters, Pharrell Williams (who had his lawyer send a cease and desist notice after Trump used his song "Happy" hours after the shooting at the Tree fo Life synagogue in Pennsylvania), Rihanna, Guns N' Roses, Nickleback, Prince, Tom Petty (whose family also sent a cease and desist letter and called the president's campaign a "hate campaign") and Panic! At the Disco.
On June 28 The Rolling Stones announced that their legal team had begun working with the BMI team to prevent their songs from continuing to play at Trump's campaign rallies, after "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was played at the Tulsa rally, which was heavily criticized for its potential to spread the COVID-19 contagion and for being held in the Tulsa district so close to the end of slavery commemoration and at the site of the 1921 massacre.
If the Stones succeeded in their mission, it would not be surprising if other artists followed their course of action.