Pharrell Williams Asks Donald Trump to Please Not Play 'Happy' at His Rallies

Illustration for article titled Pharrell Williams Asks Donald Trump to Please Not Play Happy at His Rallies
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At a rally in Indiana on Saturday, the same day as the shooting in Pittsburgh, President Trump reportedly played Pharrell Williams’s once inescapable No. 1 hit “Happy,” and Williams was certainly not feeling it.


The Los Angeles Times reports that Williams’s lawyer Howard E. King sent a cease-and-desist to the President asking for him to never play “Happy” or any of Williams’s music again at his rallies. King wrote to Trump:

On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist,’ you played his song ‘Happy’ to a crowd at a political event in Indiana...There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.


“Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music,” King added. “The use of ‘Happy’ without permission constitutes copyright infringement.”

This is, unsurprisingly, not the first time an artist has ordered President Trump to not play their music at his political events. In August of this year, Steven Tyler sent a cease-and-desist to the President after he played Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge” at a rally, and other artists who’ve placed similar requests include Adele, R.E.M., and Queen. The Rolling Stones also asked Trump to not use their song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” on the campaign trail in 2016, but he ignored their requests.

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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I always wonder about this phenomenon of playing unlicensed music at rallies.  Because obviously it’s a public gathering AND the rallies make money (through sales of merchandise, as well as resulting campaign donations) so I would think any music would have to be licensed before being played?  (Unless it’s Happy Birthday, which is finally in public domain!)  Do politicians generally just think they can get away with it?