Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silversun Pickups Pick on Romney

OK, I’ll admit that until today I had never heard of the Silversun Pickups. But they had their attorney issue the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign a “cease and desist” letter. Evidently, the campaign plays their music, or at least their popular song “Panic Switch” at certain events.

I’ll also admit that my curiosity got the best of me, so off to YouTube I went to educate myself on Silversun Pickups. That education lasted about 90 seconds. If I have any reason to question Romney’s fitness to serve as President of the United States, this choice of music would be it. “Yuck” is an understatement, but I couldn’t understand a word of the song. A search to the lyrics was even worse. What’s this about “do your fingers itch” and “are you pistol-whipped”?? Weird, Mitt. Really weird. I can understand it coming from a Los Angeles rock band, but it doesn’t need to be parroted by your campaign. Fire your sound guy!

But, that point notwithstanding, I don’t think the campaign has done anything illegal. Drawing from my radio experience, most venues have licensing agreements (making it legal to play licensed music at those facilities). Like if you go to Royals Stadium, they can legally play lots of music (assuming they have this license). They don’t have to call the artist up and ask for permission. And I know organizations can buy licenses with the major music labels. Churches buy a CCLI license so they can play all the licensed music. Secular venues would buy a BMI license of one similar.

I doubt the Silverspoon Dropouts (or was it the GoldenSun Chevy Trucks? ….urghhhh!) have their music privately copyrighted. The music industry licenses the music broadly. Otherwise every radio station in the country would have to call up the artist and ask if they can play their song. Program directors will not do that, thus the song won’t get played, thus people won’t know about, thus no one will buy the CD, thus your band will quickly be OBSCURE.

These folks are trying to make a political point. And it’s a stupid one. They don’t want to be associated with the Romney Campaign? How about Romney supporters buying their albums? Would they like to issue a “cease and desist” letter to all Republicans, or Romney-leaning Independents buying their product?

Though I wouldn’t touch their music (wrong simile, I know), the Romney campaign using Silversun Pickups’ music shows the best of America. In music, your politics do not matter. Art transcends party boundaries. Their music was appreciated by both Republicans and Democrats. Rather than celebrating that fact and the role they play as musicians in uniting Americans, the Silversun Pickups unforturnately chose to be as divisive as the President they support.

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