Rihanna: BMI Sends Trump Campaign Cease and Desist Over Music Usage

The company has removed Rihanna from a blanket-license agreement that gave the campaign free rein to play what it wished

BMI, the performing rights company that handles Rihanna’s music publishing, has anted up the singer’s efforts to keep the Trump campaign from using the singer’s music. The organization, Broadcast Music, Inc., sent a letter informing the campaign that it may no longer use her music. In the past, the campaign has been able to pay a blanket license to BMI that covers its use of any songs BMI administers at its events — part of an agreement formally known as the “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Political Entities License Agreement” — but now the company is saying Rihanna is no longer part of that deal.

“BMI has received a communication from Robyn Fenty, professionally known as ‘Rihanna,’ objecting to the Trump Campaign’s use of Rihanna’s musical works,” the letter, obtained by Rolling Stone, reads. “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.”

A rep for BMI sent the note to the associate vice president and the director of operations for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., as well as a rep for Red Curve Solutions, which serves as treasurer for the campaign. It is unclear what repercussions the Trump organization would face if it violated this exception.

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Reps for the Trump campaign and Red Curve did not immediately reply to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Rihanna sent her own cease-and-desist letter to the campaign after learning that one of her songs was played at a Trump rally in Tennessee. “It has come to our attention that President Trump has utilized [Rihanna’s] musical compositions and master recordings, including her hit track ‘Don’t Stop the Music,’ in connection with a number of political events held across the United States,” the note from her lawyers read. “As you are or should be aware, Ms. Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper.”

When Rihanna learned that the song was played, she tweeted to a reporter, “[Neither] me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies,” and said that it would be played “not for much longer.”

In recent weeks, artists including Aerosmith and Pharrell Williams have voiced their objection to the Trump Campaign’s use of their music. Regarding the use of Williams’ “Happy,” Pharrell’s lawyer commented, “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted on our country on Saturday [at the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting] and no permission was granted for [Trump’s] use of this song for this purpose.”