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Neil Young Okay with Donald Trump Using ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’

"You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything."

By Robyn Collins

Almost a year has passed since Canadian artist Neil Young griped about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump using “Rockin’ in the Free World” at a political rally. Young, a confessed Bernie Sanders supporter, recently changed his tune. 

Young says he had “nothing against” Trump, but wanted to be asked for permission to use the song.

Related: Trump Fires Back At Neil Young

Following the minor controversy, Team Trump announced it had made an agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for the right to play the track

“He actually got a license to use it,” Young said. “I mean, he said he did and I believe him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything. But if the artist who made it is saying you never spoke to them, if that means something to you, you probably will stop playing it. And it meant something to Donald and he stopped.”

In June 2015, Young released a statement about the use of his song at Trump’s campaign rally. “Had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate, I would have said no,” he said at the time. “I am Canadian and I don’t vote in the United States, but more importantly I don’t like the current political system in the USA and some other countries. Increasingly democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests. The money needed to run for office, the money spent on lobbying by special interests, the ever increasing economic disparity and the well-funded legislative decisions all favor corporate interests over the people’s.”

Not one to get derailed by obstacles, Trump moved. Following Young’s statement last year, Trump tweeted: @Neilyoung’s song, “Rockin’ In The Free World” was just one of 10 songs used as background music. Didn’t love it anyway.


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