Donald Trump’s recent presidential campaign announcement continues to make headlines. This time, it’s about more than just his colorful comments. He’s grabbed the attention of Neil Young. The singer-songwriter is upset with the presidential hopeful for using Young’s song, Rockin’ In The Free World at a recent campaign announcement. According to Rolling Stone, Young said he never gave Trump permission to use the song.
“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” a spokesperson for the rocker’s Lookout Management said in a statement. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign told Rolling Stone that the candidate was a fan of Young’s music, despite their differing views, and that the track was used legally. “Through a license agreement with [performance-rights organization] ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at today’s event,” the spokesperson tells Rolling Stone. “Mr. Trump is a huge fan of Neil Young and his music and will continue to be regardless of Neil’s political views.”
According to an ASCAP document called “Using Music in Political Campaigns,” for a song to be used properly, “the campaign will need to contact the song’s publisher and possibly the artist’s record label to negotiate the appropriate licenses with them.” It’s unclear whether the Trump campaign contacted Young, his management company or record label to use the track. (Editor’s Note: As The Hollywood Reporter notes, that usage applies only to the use of a song in a campaign ad. A representative for ASCAP declined to comment when asked for details about the case.)