As genre historians love to point out, rock and politics don’t often mix. Many point back to Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-elecation campaign, when the ex-president used Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as a theme song, but what was meant to be—and often is celebrated as—a patriotic all-‘Murican anthem, of course, was far more complex: Listen to the lyrics, and you’ll find that the song isn’t a pro-America anthem, but rather a criticism of the country’s treatment of Vietnam vets. Springsteen quickly asked Reagan to stop using the song.
Indeed, politicians don’t often know how to employ music. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is among them.
Yesterday, in a major speech touting Tory achievements, Harper—who spoke of cutting taxes, getting tougher on criminals, and other such conservative talking points—used Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business,” presumably to communicate that the PCs were, uh, taking care of business.
The only problem? Randy Bachman doesn’t support the the Cons.
After initially criticizing the PCs for using the song without his permission—though the party paid royalty fees to SOCAN—Bachman criticized Harper, saying that the PCs have made it difficult for Canadian musicians to earn a livelihood.
“I don’t think he’s taking care of business for the right people or the right reasons,” he said, according to the Huffington Post.
Then, later: “The last year has been a big struggle for the Canadian musician and songwriter to get proper payment for their music.”
Head over to Twitter, and Bachman used the opportunity to criticize Tariff 8—which we’ve dubbed the Kraft Dinner tariff. Why? Because the tariff, proposed by the Copyright Board of Canada, proposed shockingly low pay rates for streaming music—in fact, after a little number crunching, and you’d find that an artists would need $9.8 billion plays to earn $1 million, and more than $9,000 streams to purchase a box of Kraft Dinner. Ouch.
So naturally, Bachman—who says he’s contacted the prime minister in protest—doesn’t approve. And he took to Twitter to revive the debate about Tariff 8.
And you know what? We’re with you, Randy. [H/T Huffington Post]