Over the past few years, a long line of musicians have instructed their legal teams to issue warnings to Donald Trump to stop using their music in his rallies.
Everyone from Neil Young to Tom Petty to Rihanna have spoken out against the US president using their songs, with many of them issuing cease-and-desist letters - i.e. a warning to stop before legal action is pursued.
Now, Phil Collins is the latest to denounce Trump using his music.
Earlier this month, Collins' song 'In the Air Tonight' was used at a rally in Iowa, with his lawyer writing that it was "apparently intended as a satirical reference to Covid-19" (because Covid-19 is spread via airborne particles.)
He added: "Mr. Collins has serious concerns that the manner in which the Trump campaign has used 'In the Air Tonight' has caused, and will cause, damage to Mr. Collins' reputation and popularity with the public."
TMZ obtained a copy of the full letter, which you can read below:
"As you know, we are counsel for Phil Collins and for his service company, Philip Collins Limited.
We wrote you on June 24, 2020 demanding that the Trump campaign cease infringing the musical copyright in the musical work “In the Air Tonight.” Another copy of our June 24, 2020 letter is attached. Our previous letter also noted that the campaign’s use of the work constituted an implied and false endorsement of Mr. Trump. It also noted Mr. Collin’s express and unequivocal statement that he wants no affiliation whatsoever with The President or the Trump campaign.
We did not receive the courtesy of a response to our letter.
We now have learned that the Trump campaign has continued its improper use of “In the Air Tonight.” Most recently, the Trump campaign used that work during an Iowa campaign rally on October 14, 2020. That use was not only wholly unauthorized but, as various press articles have commented, particularly inappropriate since it was apparently intended as a satirical reference to Covid-19. That reference was made at a time when Iowa was suffering from an acceleration of Covid-19 infection. Mr. Collins does not condone the apparent trivialization of Covid-19. Moreover, Mr. Collins has serious concerns that the manner in which the Trump campaign has used “In the Air Tonight” has caused, and will cause, damage to Mr. Collins’ reputation and popularity with the public.
Under the circumstances, we renew our demand for immediate assurances that the Trump campaign will permanently cease and desist from any further use of Mr. Collins’ name, performance and music at any future rallies or otherwise."
So far, Trump or his team have not responded.