The late performer’s estate tweeted that they had not given Trump permission to use the Minnesota native’s 1984 hit at his events and also said that they had asked his campaign to stop using Prince’s music a year ago.
Prince’s estate says Trump is out of line
“President Trump played Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ tonight at a campaign event in Minneapolis despite confirming a year ago that the campaign would not use Prince’s music,” the tweet read. “The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince’s songs.”
Prince’s estate also shared an image of a 2018 letter from the Trump campaign where they acknowledge receiving a request to stop using “Purple Rain” and other Prince songs. The campaign confirms “that the Campaign will not use Prince’s music in connection with its activities going forward.”
Despite those assurances, “Purple Rain” was heard at the Target Center during the Thursday night rally. The Target Center is located across the street from First Avenue, the club featured prominently in the 1984 movie Purple Rain.
Trump slammed Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé during the rally
During the Minneapolis rally, Trump also took aim at several celebrities who publicly supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
After calling his election victory “one of the greatest nights in the history of television” the president went on to say, “I didn’t need Beyoncé and Jay-Z. And I didn’t need little Bruce Springsteen and all these people.”
Trump also claimed, without evidence, that the prominent musicians were the only thing attracting people to Clinton’s rallies. “They got Bruce Springsteen. He’d do about two songs and then leave, and what happens is they leave and everyone leaves with them, and she’s still speaking in front of the same lousy crowd,” he said. “Craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Springsteen has made no secret of his dislike of Trump. In a 2018 interview with Esquire, the “Born to Run” singer said that Trump is “dangerous,” “has no interest in uniting the country,” and is “deeply damaged at the core.”
Jay-Z called the president a “superbug” in a 2018 CNN interview and said his description of some African nations as “sh*thole countries” was “disappointing and hurtful.”
The Rolling Stones and R.E.M. have also asked Trump to stop using their songs
Prince’s estate isn’t alone in requesting that Trump change his playlist. The Rolling Stones weren’t happy that “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was frequently heard at Trump events during the 2016 campaign. Guns N’ Roses, Rihanna, and Pharrell Williams also spoke out after their songs were used by Trump.
Neil Young has sparred repeatedly with the president over his use of his 1989 song “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Though the Canadian singer has asked Trump to quit playing his music, he’s admitted that there’s not much he can do to stop him. In a message on his website, he wrote “Legally, he has the right to, however it goes against my wishes.”
Young is correct that as long as the Trump campaign pays for the rights to use the music, he cannot prevent them from using it at an event. However, some artists have successfully challenged Trump’s use of their music in other contexts on copyright grounds.
In February, Trump shared a video on Twitter that used the R.E.M. song “Everybody Hurts.” The band filed a copyright infringement notice and got the video removed. And earlier this month, the president shared a meme video that made use of the Nickelback song “Photograph.” The band also got the video removed.