Note To Music Artists: All Right Now, You Can't Always Get What You Want

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Donald Trump, Queen, Rolling Stones, George Harrison

Every election cycle, there is always a story or three about some politician running for office who picks a theme song and forgets that he has to pay the band. And it's such a simple thing to do -- you contact ASCAP or BMI and you get yourself a license. It's simple enough that every high school band director or local cheerleading camp instructor knows the drill. And after one or two lawsuits making the news, you can bet that every campaign strategist knows this as well.

So why is it that the campaign for Donald Trump is angering so many musicians? Surely they know better.

Well, the fact is, they do know better.

As the campaign for the nomination wrapped last night in Cleveland -- and prepares to propel itself into the next and final phase of the quest for the White House -- we have heard (or at least read tweets of) outrage from Queen, Paul Rodgers, and The Rolling Stones. Heck, even the corpse of George Harrison has become offended to the point of offering a statement!

Offended musicians have been the angry chihuahua nipping at the Italian loafers of Trump almost since the campaign began. But it's been with the #RNCinCLE (that's Republican National Convention in CLEveland for the #hashtagchallenged) that things have become even more heated. On the first night, Trump appeared to Queen's "We Are The Champions." As soon as I heard that it was a song that was recognizable, I knew there'd be news the next day of objections.

I wasn't disappointed. But if The Rolling Stones weren't able to get the Trump campaign to let go of their music, what chance did Queen have?

If the RNC and/or the Trump campaign paid the licensing fees to the label, then the answer should be: None at all. Same for Paul Rodgers. Same for zombie George Harrison. I'm sorry, but you all wrote music and put it into the hands of someone to manage for you, which (a) makes it easier for you to make more music so you don't have to run the business, and (b) makes you money every time a marching band uses your tune or a 13 year old does a tumbling routine to a boombox blaring your lyrics. You can certainly complain about it, and use that complaint to garner more publicity (which, truth be told, is more than likely the true motivation for any such expression of outrage). Tweet to your heart's content, and get your followers to agree with you (and buy more music to support your position).

But if you want to control who can play it and where, and you've already consigned it to someone else to make those decisions, well, I'm sorry -- you can't always get what you want.