When it comes to promoting your band, getting publicity is not always easy to do. Some say that free publicity is a good thing as your band’s name is thrown out for the public hear and you saved money in the process. However, if it results in something negative, then it defeats the purpose and will most likely cost the band in a non-monetary way. Then, there is the publicity of someone in the media’s spotlight that uses your song for everyone to hear and best of all; it did not cost you a cent. Sounds great; that is, if you don’t mind it looking like you support a political figure.
For the group known as Silversun Pickups, that is exactly what happened when Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign used one of their songs without their permission and wants them to stop using it immediately.
Apparently, the alternative rock band known as Sliversun Pickups discovered their song, “Panic Switch,” was being used by the presidential campaign for Mitt Romney without their permission. The band has asked them to stop using the song immediately, which the campaign is happy to oblige.
On Wednesday, a cease and desist letter was sent to the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign from the Los Angeles-based band’s attorney. According to a news release, it states that both the band and its representatives were not contacted to be given permission to use the alternative rock hit of 2009. Also, the group “has no intention of endorsing the Romney campaign.” Brian Aubert, Silversun Pickups lead singer, released a statement voicing his displeasure over the matter.
He said, “We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign. We’re nice, approachable people. We won’t bite. Unless you’re Mitt Romney! We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that ’Panic Switch’ really sends the message he intends.”
Interestingly enough, a spokeswoman for Romney is in total agreement with Aubert about the song sending a desired message to his supporters. Andrea Saul stated in an email that there was no intention to play the song and it was already playing for an event before Romney arrived. The band was informed about it through a tweet from Romney’s North Carolina stopover. The email said, “As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally. That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again.” Saul also commented that Romney’s campaign has licensing agreements with ASCAP and BMI.
Though Saul feels that the use of the song is legally covered, Silversun Pickups publicist, Ken Weinstein, stated that the group and its team do not agree about it being covered. According to attorney Tamara Milagros-Butler, she said within an hour of sending the letter, she received a call from the campaign’s general counsel. “As the former governor (of) the state of Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and candidate for U.S. President, we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with the laws of this great country of ours,” it reads in part. “We’re writing because we, like you, think these laws are important.” Milagros-Butler stated that the band is satisfied with the outcome and that it is important for politicians to respect the rights of musicians.
She also expressed how important it is for hard-working people, like Silversun Pickups, who have worked for so many years building the value of their copyright that they are knowledgeable in the law to protect their rights.
The song, “Panic Switch,” seems to be an accusation of “red views” that “keep ripping the divide.” In 2009, it helped the group earn a Grammy nomination for best new artist and has unfortunately been added to a long list of songs allegedly purloined by politicians. From Ronald Regan’s use of “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen to President Barack Obama’s use of “Soul Man” in his 2008 campaign, musical groups need to be vigilant of their rights.
Rock Band Demands Romney Stops Using Song
Mitt Romney Uses Silversun Pickups Song, Panic Switch, the Band Files Cease and Desist.