how did rush limbaugh get rights to "my city was gone"
October 8, 2006 7:48 PM   Subscribe

How did Rush Limbaugh get the rights to use The Pretenders as his bumper music?

... He's a conservative talk-show host and Chrissie Hynde is a PETA spokesperson and, presumably, liberal.

She can't be happy about it - so how do these things happen?
posted by crapples to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Record labels.
posted by MadamM at 7:50 PM on October 8, 2006


It's a compulsory license-- i.e. the Pretenders, via ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, have to allow anyone on the radio play their tracks as long as they pay for it. The same rules apply to the DJs playing music. The fact that it's Rush Limbaugh doing it doesn't really affect things.
posted by neustile at 7:54 PM on October 8, 2006


What neustile said: he almost certainly has ASCAP and BMI licenses.
posted by raf at 8:09 PM on October 8, 2006


the best part of it of course is if she would use those royalties from his use of it to fund her favorite organizations like for example NOW, Peta etc etc...How's that for sinergy
posted by stavx at 8:16 PM on October 8, 2006


He actually answered this on his show a couple years ago (for the record, I don't like him but I listen to him because I prefer chatter to music while navigating traffic). If i recall correctly, he said that chrissie hynde isn't happy about it at all. Perhaps you (or another mefite) can find an archive of this show? I think it was late winter '04.
posted by necessitas at 8:57 PM on October 8, 2006


"Last month, Hynde finally got Limbaugh to pull the song but then did an about face on Aug. 18, telling him that he could use the song if he donated all the royalties to the animal right's organization PETA, after PETA campaign manager Dan Mathews told her Limbaugh had a soft-spot for animals. She fired off the following missive to PETA to let them know of the recent developments. "In light of Rush Limbaugh's vocal support of PETA's campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency's foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, 'My City Was Gone,' as his signature tune and to donate all proceeds from the deal to further PETA's efforts in that regard""
posted by null terminated at 9:15 PM on October 8, 2006


According to this article in Rolling Stone, Hynde allows use of the song, and all proceeds go to PETA.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:18 PM on October 8, 2006


I believe he plays it just like any other radio station can play any other song.
posted by dgeiser13 at 9:25 PM on October 8, 2006


This isn't covered by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/Harry Fox licensing, despite what others have said. That licensing is intended to cover a work's performance for entertainment purposes, such as a radio station or a nightclub. That licensing does not cover Limbaugh's usage of the song as the daily, fully recognizable intro to a syndicated radio show -- you're not playing the song for its entertainment value, you're playing the song as a symbol of the entertainment that you produce.

It would be as if I wrote an original OS that played the Windows start-up sound when it booted up. Uhh, no.

However, many times, an artist will look the other way when it comes to intros and bumpers and whatnot, especially when a radio station cuts a popular song into a bumper or self-promotional commercial that runs while the song is still a hit.

That's what probably happened here -- Limbaugh's producers gambled (and succeeded) that they could get away with it for many years, and are only now paying a nominal licensing fee after the song has become integral to the show.
posted by frogan at 9:45 PM on October 8, 2006


rush limbaugh using a song describing the decaying of ohio cities through greed and reaganesque economic policies always struck me as unwitting irony

way to go, rush-o, indeed
posted by pyramid termite at 9:59 PM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


[derail]

just because I've never found any other particularly relevant place to mention it, and those who would find their way to this thread might also have noticed this - has anyone else ever found it odd or amusing that the "sleep number bed" company advertises on both the Limbaugh show and onA Prarie Home Companion, using both (arch conservative) Limbaugh and (arch liberal) Garrison Keillor to read the exact same sponsorship slogans? I get a kick out of it every time i hear either one, and i wonder if each is aware that the other is shilling for the same (apparently politically mercenary) enterprise?
posted by ab3 at 11:17 PM on October 8, 2006


This isn't covered by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/Harry Fox licensing, despite what others have said. That licensing is intended to cover a work's performance for entertainment purposes, such as a radio station or a nightclub. That licensing does not cover Limbaugh's usage of the song as the daily, fully recognizable intro to a syndicated radio show -- you're not playing the song for its entertainment value, you're playing the song as a symbol of the entertainment that you produce.

Do you have references for this? I am curious as to what defines a "symbol" vs. entertainment, and if there have been test cases beyond this particular one.
posted by neustile at 6:30 AM on October 9, 2006


And this I don't understand: Hynde finally got Limbaugh to pull the song but then did an about face on Aug. 18, telling him that he could use the song if he donated all the royalties to the animal right's organization PETA,

What royalties is Limbaugh making from the song? Wouldn't it be Hynde's decision to donate her own royalties as she pleases?
posted by neustile at 6:33 AM on October 9, 2006


rush limbaugh using a song describing the decaying of ohio cities through greed and reaganesque economic policies always struck me as unwitting irony

Rush understands the irony. When he's talked about this on his program, he's said that's part of the reason he originally chose the song. But I think he also said Hynde's parents are fans of his, IIRC.
posted by BradNelson at 8:02 AM on October 9, 2006


ab3: i wonder if each is aware that the other is shilling for the same (apparently politically mercenary) enterprise?

I'd expect it has more to do with demographics than ideology. Someone's looked at the numbers and decided both shows reach a sufficient volume of presumably older and more affluent listeners who'd buy such a product.

And "My City Was Gone" is about my favourite track from "Learning to Crawl," my favourite Pretenders album.
posted by hangashore at 8:29 AM on October 9, 2006


Can someone explain further what he said about the irony of the choice? I would really like to know how he thinks it's suitable.
posted by GaelFC at 9:06 AM on October 9, 2006


ab3, they have the same core target audience: old people.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:27 PM on October 9, 2006


GaelFC, I would guess that it has to do with Rush Limbaugh and Chrissie Hynde are, politically speaking, polar opposites.

And I am willing to bet you that as many, if not more people, know that song as 'The Rush Limbaugh Show Theme' than "My City was Gone" by The Pretenders.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:33 PM on October 9, 2006


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