Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has already hit the first bump on his road to the White House. The New York real estate tycoon, who announced his campaign for the 2016 U.S. presidential race on Tuesday, has been accused of using a song without permission at his campaign-kickoff event.
On Tuesday, Trump strode onto the stage with Neil Young's “Rockin' In The Free World” playing in the atrium at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. However, Young, the song’s creator and supporter of a rival candidate, objected to Trump’s use of his 1989 hit, and accused him of using the song without permission.
“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” Elliot Roberts of Lookout Management, and Young’s manager, said in a statement, according to Variety. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America.”
Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, challenging Hillary Clinton. Trump is a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past.
Meanwhile, a Trump campaign spokeswoman said that they did secure authorization to use the song.
“Through a license agreement with ASCAP [American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers], 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,” Variety quoted the spokeswoman as saying. “Nevertheless, we won’t be using it again — there are plenty of songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes Neil very much.”
Trump is not the first presidential candidate to be criticized for using a song without the artist’s permission. Senator Marco Rubio drew disapproval from Swedish musical duo Axwell and Ingrosso for using their tune “Something New” without permission. Mitt Romney was also accused of similar charges thrice during his 2012 presidential campaign, the New York Times reported.