Last night at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump introduced his wife Melania while Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was playing in the background. The band has now come forward, claiming that this use of their song was unauthorized.
The band tweeted the following shortly after their song was used without their permission:
An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) July 19, 2016
The band has never given Trump permission to use their music at any point during his campaign. In a statement issued by their publishing company, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the band said:
‘We are frustrated by the repeated unauthorized use of the song after a previous request to desist, which has obviously been ignored by Mr. Trump and his campaign.’
‘Queen does not want its music associated with any mainstream or political debate in any country. Nor does Queen want “We are the Champions” to be used as an endorsement of Mr. Trump and the political views of the Republican Party. We trust, hope and expect that Mr. Trump and his campaign will respect these wishes moving forward.’
This is not the first time Trump has used “We Are The Champions” without Queen’s permission. Guitarist Brian May spoke out against the Republican presidential nominee after he used the song during a victory speech last month, when he clinched the final round of state primaries. May issued the following statement on his website:
‘I’ve had an avalanche of complaints – some of which you can see in our “Letters” page – about Donald Trump using our “We Are The Champions” track as his “theme” song on USA TV.’
‘This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue. Regardless of our views on Mr. Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool.’
Throughout his campaign, Trump has used music from many other artists without their permission. According to Rolling Stone, the bands R.E.M, Neil Young, Everlast, and Aerosmith have all asked Trump to stop using their music ever since his campaign launched last year.
In one of the more colorful statements asking Trump to “cease and desist,” Michael Stipe from R.E.M said the following:
‘Go f*ck 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.’
Regarding the matter of Queen’s song, however, the Republican National Committee insisted, in a tweet responding to the band’s request to cease and desist, that the party obtained full permission to use the song. Sean Spicer, the Committee’s communications director, tweeted the following:
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) July 19, 2016
The license to Queen’s music does not, in fact, belong to the band themselves. Their music is part of the BMI catalog, meaning that anybody who purchases a BMI license can use any music they want, so long as it’s in the catalog. If it is true that the Republican National Committee has paid this particular licensing fee, then they are legally allowed to use the song.
Featured image via Getty.