One Direction songwriter threatens to sue Trump inauguration performers
by Jeremy Mersereau
January 24, 2017
The Piano Guys played a One Direction cover at Trump's inauguration, and its songwriter isn't happy.
Last week’s presidential inauguration might not have been full of A-list talent, but at least the Trump team managed to book a quartet of dudes to bang around on a piano to set the night off:
The Piano Guys, aka Utah’s biggest export after petroleum and Mormonism, opened their inaugural set with a cover of One Direction’s 2011 anthem “What Makes You Beautiful.” This didn’t sit well with the song’s writer and producer, Savan Kotecha, the man behind numerous other modern hits such as The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face” and Arianna Grande’s “Into You.” Kotecha threatened legal action upon seeing the Piano Guys cover his song:
A cursory glance at Kotecha’s Twitter feed shows he’s about as anti-Trump as they come, not that that’s an uncommon sentiment. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a law that prevents an act from covering another performer’s music in a live setting, even though the the Piano Guys were broadcast on national television and raked in a huge payday for performing.
In the U.S, the legalities surrounding the live performances of others’ music is covered by performing rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI, who are responsible for protecting their memberships’ copyrights by monitoring public performances of their music. That said, BMI does have a ‘Political Entities’ provision for preventing specific political usages of songs from their repertoire at an artists’ request, but that doesn’t help Kotecha now:
Kotecha isn’t the only act unhappy about the Piano Guys’ choice of material: Rachel Platten is also dismayed by the Guys’ performance of her Clinton-appropriated anthem “Fight Song.”
There’s no drama from the Guys’ end, at least:
Don’t worry, I’m sure this is the last controversy that will be associated with the current U.S. administration.
[H/T Digital Music News]