The estate of Leonard Cohen is “exploring” its legal options after his song “Hallelujah” was featured twice at the Republican National Convention Thursday night (August 27). Both the estate and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have confirmed to Pitchfork that the use was not authorized.
Following Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, a recording of the song performed by Tori Kelly played during a fireworks display. Later, American tenor Christopher Macchio performed an operatic version live on camera. According to Sony/ATV Music Publishing CMO Brian J. Monaco, the Republican National Committee sought and was denied permission for a live performance the evening before the event:
On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. We declined their request.
Michelle L. Rice, a legal representative of the Cohen estate, said the estate was “exploring our legal options” but also offered a different curatorial take on the RNC’s music supervision:
We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner “Hallelujah”, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options. Had the RNC requested another song, “You Want It Darker,” for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.
Read “An Inventive Leonard Cohen Museum Exhibition Lives Up to His Legacy (Mostly)” on the Pitch.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork