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JANET STREET-PORTER: M People should quit whining about Liz Truss walking out to their 90s hit

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrived on stage yesterday for her speech at the Conservative Party Conference to the sound of M People's Moving On Up

M People founder Mike Pickering is ‘furious’ that Liz Truss used the band’s dance floor classic, Moving On Up, as her promenade music at the Conservative Party Conference this week.

Shouldn’t he be happy that his band is back in the spotlight after years in the desert and their music is used as background music in shops and restaurants?

Pickering is upset, because – like so many older musicians – he calls himself “rather on the left”, which isn’t really a surprise!

I can’t remember a time when a successful pop artist claimed to be anything else. And the richer and more successful they are, the more they don’t like right-wing politicians using their music for public appearances.

The list of disgruntled plaintiffs includes Sting, Rihanna, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna – a group of multi-millionaires backed by platoons of tax-minimizing accountants and business leaders. These stars fly on private jets, own huge amounts of property – beach houses, castles, vineyards, ranches and farms, and all claim to be politically left-wing. They say they are passionate about saving the planet, fighting for equality and human rights, etc.

The reason they hate right-wing politicians who use their songs is because it might hurt their brands.

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrived on stage yesterday for her speech at the Conservative Party Conference to the sound of M People's Moving On Up

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrived on stage yesterday for her speech at the Conservative Party Conference to the sound of M People’s Moving On Up

M People founder Mike Pickering is 'furious' that Liz Truss used the band's dance floor classic

M People founder Mike Pickering is ‘furious’ that Liz Truss used the band’s dance floor classic

After the launch of Spotify in 2011, streaming gradually became a major source of income, replacing album sales which hit an all-time high in 2013. From 2019, Covid put an end to touring, severely impacting income many artists, forced to record at home and post new material online. How could they make a living?

Selling the rights to your song catalog to companies like Hipgnosis, Universal, or Warner Music has become the way to secure income for years to come without ever having to leave your home (or vineyard). Every time a song is played – even as walkthrough music for a politician you might hate – you will receive money.

Sting – a famous Labor supporter – who spends most of his time at his estate in Italy – has sold his catalog of songs to Universal in a deal worth £183m – and his music company music now earns £180,000 EVERY DAY, thanks to royalties. In 2020, Sting paid himself a salary of £70.8million. Bob Dylan sold the publishing rights to 600 of his songs for £220million in December 2020.

One of my former boyfriends – who had a few hits in the 1970s – makes £100,000 a year doing nothing. Money for a few songs that are used again and again in American TV commercials. Does this make me slightly nauseous or am I just jealous?

How can so-called left-wing musicians live up to their commitment to working people while earning a fortune without lifting a finger? I guess we have to be generous and say they deserve huge rewards for creating a wonderful piece of art that we enjoy time and time again, but there seems to be a little contradiction somewhere.

None of these musicians cared that ‘man of the people’ Tony Blair was using their music, but every time a right-winger like Donald Trump chooses rock music to stage rallies, it causes a predictable storm. . Rihanna complained, calling the Republican conventions “tragic.” Pharrell Williams collapsed after Trump played his hit Happy at a rally just hours after a shooting in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead.

Predictably, Queen was furious when We Are The Champions was used at the Republican Convention, which resulted in Trump’s nomination. Trump used Neil Young’s Rocking in the Free World and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA – both times the artists brought in lawyers to prevent a repeat.

Due to the complexity of copyright law, it is not always possible for artists to have their work restricted from being viewed. Sometimes the venue may have a license that prevents this.

Moaning about who’s playing your job sounds pathetic and mean-spirited anyway. If you write a song and publish it, surely the whole world has the right to play it and listen to it, like it or not like it. You placed it there for all to enjoy.

The folks at M should be thrilled the band is back in the spotlight after years in the desert

The folks at M should be thrilled the band is back in the spotlight after years in the desert

The reason they hate right-wing politicians who use their songs is because it could harm their brands, claims JANET STREET-PORTER

The reason they hate right-wing politicians who use their songs is because it could harm their brands, claims JANET STREET-PORTER

Just suck it up, rise above the fact that the “bad” people (in your eyes) could play it as well as politically correct people on the left, the ones you want to be in the community of because that suits you and your socialist ideals with washed-out champagne.

Writers and broadcasters aren’t that picky. When I appear on television, I don’t care who is watching, an audience is an audience, anyone at home with a remote control in their hand.

Pop music is meant to be democratic, something that connects us and enriches our lives – so why is it so sad that someone like Theresa May (with her sad Abba dance moves) and Liz Truss can actually be ravers secrets? In the 1990s, clubs and concerts did not operate a door policy that limited entry to card-carrying Labor voters.

The M people were created by Pickering in the 90s and won Best Dance Act Brit Awards in 94 and 95 – but what have they been up to in the past decade? A series of gigs in Britain’s forests in 2007, a show at Kew Gardens in 2012 and a Greatest Hits tour in 2013 – stuff barely made the front page. And here they are back in the news, as a political leader fighting for her survival instead chose her shortsighted music to make a smash appearance at a rally where she was expected to make a big impact. At least it gave them some publicity.

Tony Blair used the same track, as did countless other southpaws, but it was OK with M People.

On social media, Pickering claims that Liz didn’t bother to listen to the lyrics, which include the line “go pack your bags and get out.”

Maybe she did – and was sending a message to all her backbenchers like Michael Gove.

Mind you, I don’t think the prime minister is that savvy.

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