VAN DYKE: Cease and desist
Recently, some bands demanded that Rush Limbaugh not use their music anymore on his radio show. This was due to the fact that he said some stupid things on the show when arguing a point on a political issue. According to various media publications, The Rush Limbaugh radio show is the most listened to radio program in the country with an audience estimated at 15 million listeners weekly. Regardless of whether or not I agree with Mr. Limbaugh’s politics or beliefs, I would not hesitate to allow my music to be played for that size of an audience.
To me, this is just silly. The bands say it is because they do not want anyone to think they are in any way associated with Mr. Limbaugh. If you think about that, it is almost like they are saying people are too stupid to understand that if someone plays a song on the radio, the band must support them in some way. I think most people make no conclusions whatsoever regarding this. If anything, the reverse is true. The program is supporting the artists because it pays for a license to broadcast music, which generates royalties for the artists. Unless you are a big time band like Rage Against the Machine or Rush, royalties are a big deal, especially these days because record and CD sales are a fraction of what they have been in the past.
When I was in Davenport, I used to work as a pizza delivery driver. I listened to the Rush Limbaugh show every afternoon because my car had an AM radio and it was either Rush or silence. They always played good music between the radio segments. At no time did it even cross my mind that the musicians supported or did not support the conservative viewpoint presented on the program. This was during the Bill Clinton administration, so the banter on the show was fiery to say the least. I do not recall any bands or artists issuing cease and desist orders about it back then.
Musicians have a long history of being supportive or unsupportive of politicians and political viewpoints. I have no problem with that. We have that right as Americans. Where I get irritated is when they try to dictate who is allowed to like their music. Why not be appreciative that someone thinks your work is worthwhile? I wonder how I would feel if I got a letter in the mail from my favorite band asking me to send them back all the CDs and erase their songs from my computer because they are vegetarians and saw a picture of me buying eight pounds of bacon. I would be pretty disappointed in their lack of understanding of my beliefs. I would wonder if they had nothing better to do than pay attention to what I am doing. Why not write a song about the horrors of meat and put it out for sale with proceeds going to the cause.
Why punish me? I like some vegetables too!
As a fan of music, I have no idea what the beliefs of most of the artists I listen to are. I really could not care less. If something is good, it is good. Bruce Springsteen and Ted Nugent are polar opposites when it comes to their politics — Springsteen being a supporter of democratic leanings and Nugent a serious conservative. Whatever your beliefs are, you would be nuts to pass up a chance to attend a concert by either of them. Even the most conservative people I know are big fans of artists who hold some of the most looney liberal beliefs. This is because they understand that music holds no beliefs. It just is. So all you artists and bands out there: Just because someone is a nut job, do not take your music away from them. It may be the only redeeming quality they have left.
I think I am going to start writing to some radio shows and demand that they stop playing my music, too. I think I’ll start with some of the local morning shows. Then I’ll work my way up to Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey, then on to O’Reilly, Glen Beck, and Limbaugh. At least it might get my name out there. Maybe I’ll start a service that does this for other artists. Just send me a message on the down-low and I will get your music yanked from a bunch of shows, too. Once the word gets out, their competitors will be playing our stuff non-stop!
Don Van Dyke
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