The Tragically Hip has responded to an online dispute over the use of its music, saying a venue that recently hosted Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has a music licence and did not need “specific permissions” to play one of the band’s songs.
The latest development comes after a Twitter user asked the band on Saturday whether it knew Poilievre had used the band’s music at an event in the Stoney Creek community of Hamilton, Ont.
On Monday, the band released a statement on Twitter saying, “It is (and has always been) our expectation that brands, political parties, or public figures wishing to use our music for a campaign first seek our approval. When we began to see posts and tweets from the event this weekend, the specifics were unclear.
“It has now been confirmed that Saturday’s event took place in a venue licensed by SOCAN, which means the venue pays a fee to ensure artists and musicians are compensated appropriately when music is played on site.
“As such, specific permissions were not required in this case. We did not have the full details in our earlier posts — and now consider this matter resolved.”
SOCAN or the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada licenses businesses and organizations to use an artist’s music for a fee, which are then provided to the musicians as royalties.
Hip guitarist Paul Langlois had responded to the initial report about the use of the band’s music saying, “We certainly did not know this — highly offensive if true (we’ll wait to make sure and potentially confirm this) and if so, this will be stopped.”
On Sunday, Langlois followed up with a statement saying, “I hate to have to clarify this but here goes: We have always been highly offended by anybody who doesn’t ask for our permission to use our music for a brand, a political party, or a public figure of any sort. It’s just common courtesy to ask, and it applies to anyone and everyone.”
Musicians have called out politicians before for allegedly using music without the artist’s permission.
Randy Bachman accused then-prime minister Stephen Harper of playing the Bachman-Turner Overdrive song “Takin’ Care of Business” in 2014. Bachman later corrected that to say the venue that played the song was licensed by SOCAN.
Multiple artists have previously urged former U.S. president Donald Trump to stop playing their music at his rallies, including Neil Young who went so far as to sue in 2020. Young later dropped that suit.
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters
It is (and has always been) our expectation that brands, political parties, or public figures wishing to use our music for a campaign first seek our approval. When we began to see posts and tweets from the event this weekend, the specifics were unclear.
— The Tragically Hip (@thehipofficial) March 6, 2023