In light of the upcoming election, I thought I’d explore the angle of music along the campaign trail. A celebrity endorsement can be worth thousands of campaign dollars and since music sends such powerful messages and feelings, a musician endorsement for a campaign can really boost voter interest. To be fair, Romney and Obama will have his own post examining the musicians aligned with or opposed to his campaign.

Mitt Romney and Kid Rock

Mitt Romney chose Kid Rock’s 2010 hit “Born Free” as his theme song. Kid Rock gave Romney, and anyone else, permission to use his music. He posted, “Anyone else who wants to use my song do not need my permission. I said he could use it and I would say the same for any other candidate. I have to have a little faith that every candidate feels like he or she can help this country. Without faith, we got nothing. I make music to have it be heard.”

But just because Kid Rock allowed Romney to use the song, didn’t mean that he endorsed the Presidential candidate. Back in February, Romney contacted Kid Rock about performing at the Michigan Rally. Kid Rock said he would consider it as long as he got a private interview. After Romney promised to help the state of Michigan if he is elected, Kid Rock agreed to perform “Born Free” at the rally and gave his official endorsement to the candidate.
On the other side of the spectrum, some musicians are not as forgiving when their songs are used without permission. Some prefer to stay out of politics and do not want to be seen as endorsing a campaign just because the candidate is using a particular songs. The band Silversun issued a cease-and-desist order to the Romney campaign on the song “Panic Switch.”
Here is the official statement:
“Seems as if the GOP is once again whimsically ignoring our great nation’s laws to do whatever it wants to do, and shooting itself in the foot in the process. Without any regard for copyright or intellectual property laws, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has, without permission, begun to use Silversun Pickups’ 2009 smash “Panic Switch” at campaign stops across the country. Neither the band nor its representatives were contacted to gain permission for the use of the song and the band has no intention of endorsing the Romney campaign. The band’s attorney issued a cease and desist today.”
Romney has certainly gained ground with Kid Rock as his supporter. Just this week the musician appeared at another Romney Rally to voice his support. He said, “It is a little difficult to put myself in this position knowing it may alienate a few fans, but you know what, I really believe strongly that it’s okay to disagree on politics and the direction of our country without hating one another.”
But just because Romney has the support of one famous musician, doesn’t mean that he can start breaking the rules and use other songs without permission. That practice could make him appear as one of those “rules don’t apply to me” people. Perhaps he should stick with his established message by his committed supporter.
“Close to my destination
Tired, frail and aching
Waiting patiently for the sun to set
And when it’s done, believe that I
will yell it from that mountain high

I was born free.”

Posted on October 11, 2012
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