Sunday, June 21, 2015

Neil Young: 'I Make My Music for People, Not for Candidates'

Neil Young: 'I Make My Music for People, Not for Candidates':

One day after 2016 presidential candidate – and hardcore Neil Young fan – Donald Trump played "Rockin' in the Free World" to launch his campaign, the rocker has penned a long statement decrying the song's usage as well as the current economics of politics. Without mentioning Trump by name, Young acknowledged on Facebook that "a U.S. presidential candidate" rallied around the Freedom track "without my permission."

"Music is a universal language, so I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don't share my beliefs," Young wrote. "But had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate - I would have said no."

Young also took issue with the fact that numerous publications paired a photo of him and Trump together with the story about the campaign's use of "Rockin' in the Free World," which could be misconstrued as Young supporting Trump's candidacy. Young clarified that the photo was "taken during a meeting when I was trying to raise funds for Pono" and had nothing to do with politics.

Following the uproar, Trump's campaign manager told Rolling Stone that the real estate mogul will refrain from playing "Rockin' in the Free World" on the campaign trail. "We won't be using it again," campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said. "There are plenty of other songs to choose from, despite the fact that Mr. Trump is a big fan and likes Neil very much. We will respect his wish and not use it because it's the right thing to do."

While the Trump campaign claimed that they received permission from ASCAP to use the song, a spokesperson for the rocker's Lookout Management said in a statement that "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' in the Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America." However, the campaign may have legally purchased the rights to use the song from ASCAP without having to inform Young specifically.

Young further explained his stance on the use of his music and politics. "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," Young wrote. "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."

The rocker's statement also took aim at the recent remarks from Monsanto, Starbucks and Walmart regarding his upcoming LP The Monsanto Years. "When I speak out on corporations hurting the common man or the environment or other species, I expect a well-financed disinformation campaign to be aimed my way," Young wrote. "Such is the case with the reaction to my new album The Monsanto Years, which covers many of these issues."

Young concluded his statement by writing, "I do not trust self-serving misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls. I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from those corporations either. I trust people. So I make my music for people not for candidates."

Read Young's entire statement below.

Yesterday my song "Rockin in the Free World" was used in an announcement for a U.S. presidential candidate without my permission.

A picture of me with this candidate was also circulated in conjunction with this announcement but It was a photograph taken during a meeting when I was trying to raise funds for Pono, my online high resolution music service.

Music is a universal language. so I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don't share my beliefs.

But had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate - I would have said no.

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.

The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling is proof of this corruption as well as are the proposed trade deals which would further compromise our rights.
These Corporations were originally created to serve us but if we don't appropriately prioritize they will destroy us. Corporations don't have children. They don't have feelings or soul. They don't depend on uncontaminated water, clean air or healthy food to survive. They are beholden to one thing - the bottom line.
I choose to speak Truth to this Economic Power. When I speak out on corporations hurting the common man or the environment or other species, I expect a well financed disinformation campaign to be aimed my way.
Such is the case with the reaction to my new album The Monsanto Years, which covers many of these issues. I support those bringing these issues to light and those who fight for their rights like Freedom of Choice.
But Freedom of Choice is meaningless without knowledge.
Thats why its crucial we all get engaged and get informed.
That's why GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market. When the people have voted for labeling, as they have in Vermont, they need our support when they are fighting these corporate interests trying to reverse the laws they have voted for and passed in the democratic process.

I do not trust self serving misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls. I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from those corporations either. I trust people. So I make my music for people not for candidates.

Keep on Rockin in the Free World.
Neil Young

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