Eminem has asked Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to stop using his music after the entrepreneur performed the rapper’s song “Lose Yourself” earlier this month at the Iowa state fair.
Attorneys for BMI, a music rights company, said Eminem had removed his music from the company’s license with Ramaswamy’s campaign, according to a letter obtained by Billboard.
“BMI will consider any performance of the Eminem works by the Vivek 2024 campaign from this date forward to be a material breach,” the letter reads.
BMI licenses songs to groups including political campaigns, but according to the letter, Eminem exercised the company’s Political Entities license, which gives songwriters and publishers the ability to pull their music from blanket license agreements with political groups.
“BMI has received a communication from Marshall B. Mathers, III, professionally known as Eminem, objecting to the Vivek Ramaswamy campaign’s use of Eminem’s musical compositions and requesting that BMI remove all Eminem Works from the Agreement,” the letter reads. “This letter serves as notice that the Eminem Works are excluded from the Agreement effective immediately.”
Politicians who don’t share the same political views as the musicians whose songs they play at campaign events often deal with criticism from artists. Former President Donald Trump, for example, has received requests from groups including the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith to stop playing their music at his rallies. For musicians who licensed away the rights to play their music, though, there was sometimes no recourse.
Licenses like the one mentioned by BMI in the letter to Ramaswamy’s campaign represent an effort to give musicians more control over how their music is used for political purposes. BMI and ASCAP, another music rights company, now offer licenses specifically for political entities that give musicians the right to pull individual songs from a political group’s blanket licensing deal, according to Billboard.
On its website, BMI says its Political Entities license “authorizes the public performance of over 20.6 million musical works in BMI’s repertoire at events and functions hosted by political campaigns and organizations.”
BMI says the blanket license “ensures that political entities are in compliance with copyright law wherever events may occur throughout the duration of the campaign” and explained how it handles objections from songwriters or publishers.
“The license includes a provision that permits BMI to exclude a musical work(s) from the license should we receive an objection from a songwriter or publisher regarding its use by the licensee,” the group says. “If that occurs, BMI will notify the licensee that the particular musical work has been removed from license and is no longer authorized by BMI to perform the musical work.”