Though The Tragically Hip knows how essential it’s for some people to play My Music At Work, they don’t appear to want Pierre Poilievre to make use of their tunes for his.
When band’s guitarist Paul Langlois was notified that The Tragically Hip’s 1993 hit song Fifty-Mission Cap was played at an event for Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre this weekend, he called the news “highly offensive.”
A fan wrote to Langlois on Twitter and claimed the song was played at a meet-and-greet with Poilievre on Saturday on the Grand Olympia Hospitality and Convention Centre in Stoney Creek, Ont., east of Hamilton.
Langlois replied: “We definitely didn’t know this — highly offensive if true (we’ll wait to make certain and potentially confirm this) and in that case, this shall be stopped.”
The response triggered a wave of online support and outrage for Langlois and The Tragically Hip. Some praised his slamming of Poilievre and the CPC, while other longtime fans felt blindsided by the political stance.
Still, despite Langlois’ claims that the band was unaware their music was used, the venue has since confirmed that it did have the rights to play The Tragically Hip’s music.
In a press release on Monday, The Tragically Hip took a softer stance than Langlois had expressed on social media, but still requested political parties directly ask to make use of their music.
“It’s (and has at all times been) our expectation that brands, political parties, or public figures wishing to make use of our music for a campaign first seek our approval,” the statement reads. “After we began to see posts and tweets from the event this weekend, the specifics were unclear.”
“It has now been confirmed that Saturday’s event took place in a venue licensed by SOCAN, which suggests the venue pays a fee to make sure artists and musicians are compensated appropriately when music is played on site. As such, specific permissions weren’t required on this case. We didn’t have the complete details in our earlier posts — and now consider this matter resolved.”
Despite claims of a resolution, discourse about Langlois’ upset over the Conservative Party playing Fifty-Mission Cap continues to be snowballing online.
On Sunday, Langlois (albeit seemingly reluctantly) clarified his first statement on Twitter.
“I hate to must make clear this but here goes: We’ve at all times been highly offended by anybody who doesn’t ask for our permission to make use of our music for a brand, a political party, or a public figure of any sort,” he wrote. “It’s just common courtesy to ask, and it applies to anyone and everybody.”
Langlois then replied to several Twitter users, a lot of whom were against his stance on the CPC using the Hip’s music. The guitarist clearly found entertainment in egging on folks who had been outraged by his earlier tweets.
“Am I allowed to play it while I’m working alone baking? Do I owe some royalties?” asked one person.
“No you’re not allowed,” responded Langlois.
“I’m having a celebration next weekend. Can I play your music for my guests?” tweeted one other.
“Yes, thanks for asking but you didn’t must,” replied Langlois.
“How offensive. Rattling, and to think I used to be a hip [sic] fan. If I could take back every purchase, I might now,” read one tweet.
“Do it,” Langlois tweeted back.
At one point, the guitarist even wrote that “perhaps I shouldn’t have commented publicly” but noted regardless he’s “kinda enjoyed all this slightly bit.”
On Monday, Langlois posted his final tweet within the saga, and appeared to pose as an assistant named “Randolph” who claimed his boss was “sensitive and susceptible to lashing out.” It’s unclear as of this writing if Randolph is an actual person.
Langlois is certainly not the primary musician to take issue with a politician using their music. Perhaps most famously, Bruce Springsteen insisted U.S. President Ronald Reagan stop using his song Born in the usA. during his re-election campaign.
Last yr, two members of the band Journey began a legal battle over using their song Don’t Stop Believin’ at events affiliated with Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
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