Jul 5, 2024 4 min read

And Finally! MGMT last band to get a Tory track-theft diss in before they were sent packing

MGMT blasts Rishi Sunak for using 'Little Dark Age' in a campaign video. "Let's all laugh at this dingus", they quip. It’s a fitting end to a fourteen year Tory musical-theft spree. From May's Dandy Warhols dispute to Truss's M People bust up, unauthorised tunes are the Tories’ swan song

And Finally! MGMT last band to get a Tory track-theft diss in before they were sent packing

As the UK’s Conservative Party packs its bags for the political wilderness, let’s - for old time’s sake - indulge in one last Tories vs musicians showdown, where politicians have yet again managed to enrage musicians by using their music without permission.

MGMT have called out now-former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for using their track ‘Little Dark Age’ in an election campaign video. The video, which was posted last weekend on social media, included a slowed-down version of the MGMT track, accompanying footage of the UK’s armed forces with Sunak speaking about the country’s support of Ukraine.

The American duo told NME, “How many times do we have to remind you jokers that this song is not fair game for your utter garbage? Let’s all laugh at this dingus. Clock’s ticking, mate. Happy Independence Day”.

It’s a fitting finale to the Tories’ fourteen year reign of musical misappropriation. Who can forget Theresa May vs The Dandy Warhols or Boris Johnson vs Friendly Fires. Or the brief-but-memorable Liz Truss vs M People saga. Truss, in particular, deserves additional credit for managing to misappropriate music given she was in the job for all of about three days.

In all those cases the music was used during party conferences. With political events the use of music without explicit permission is sometimes a little muddy. If a politician uses music, although that might be annoying for an artist, it may not be illegal, because the use could covered by blanket licences issued by collecting societies like PPL and PRS. 

Although, it actually transpires that the public performance licence issued by PPL and PRS explicitly excludes keynote speeches at political events, which means your run of the mill politician might be able to get away with it, but it’s less likely to fly when it’s a party leader. 

Political parties ignored that inconvenient fact for many years - or perhaps just didn’t think to check. That said, at last year’s Conservative Party conference, Rishi Sunak used generic production music for his keynote, so maybe the message did get through to someone. 

Or, maybe not, given Sunak's team then went on to use ‘Little Dark Age’ in their campaign video without permission. While there is perhaps forgiveable confusion when it comes to events, using music in social media videos is much more clear cut: you need a sync licence, folks! 

Although most platforms have licences that cover user-generated content, videos from brands and organisations - including political parties - are not covered, which means that when a political party wants to use music in a video on socials, they need to obtain a licence from both the record label and the music publisher. 

Plus X - formerly Twitter - famously has no licences from the music industry, and the video was posted to Sunak’s X profile where - at the time of writing - it is still available.

So, bad Rishi Sunak, infringing copyright on your way out the door of Number 10. But hey, at least it gives us one more chance to enjoy a musician laying into a copyright-violating Tory, which is always fun. And now, some other fun music news stories from the last week...

The National: “We see a lot of Taylor Swift fans coming to shows and being bewildered by the first 25 minutes”
The National have said that Taylor Swift fans are “bewildered” by their shows, while the demographic of their own fans is becoming younger.
Sole trader: why is Lily Allen selling feet pics on OnlyFans?
The pop star posted an Instagram story advertising ‘la dolce feeta’ – and is charging fans $10 a month for the honour
Taylor Swift: German city of Gelsenkirchen shakes off its name as it gets ready for Eras tour
A yellow street sign bearing the name “Swiftkirchen”, decorated with a pink portrait of the pop icon has been placed in the city centre and several more are going up at popular locations.
Slash doesn’t remember early gigs as they were a “drunken kind of thing”
Slash has revealed that he does not have any recollections of his early gigs due to his overconsumption of alcohol.
Louis Tomlinson brings TV to watch England at Glastonbury
The singer didn’t want to miss out on seeing England play against Slovakia in Euro 2024.
Chris Martin spotting Coldplay hat at Glastonbury ‘mind-blowing’
Coldplay signer Chris Martin spotted Alex Maguire’s Pyramid-themed hat in the Glastonbury crowd.
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