Songwriters Disavow Playing Of "Fight Song" & "What Makes You Beautiful" At Trump Inaugural Ball

Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images.
You probably remember hearing Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" during much of the coverage of Hillary Clinton's campaign events last year, interspersed with Katy Perry hits. If you tuned in for coverage of Donald Trump's inaugural Freedom Ball on Friday night, you might have been surprised to hear the Utah-based Piano Guys perform an instrumental version of that song on cello and piano. So was Platten.

"While I respect the office of the President and the peaceful transfer of power, I want to make clear that at no point did the Piano Guys ask for permission, nor did I or anyone on my team know of, approve or endorse their decision to play Fight Song tonight," Platten tweeted after witnessing the mashup of her song with "Amazing Grace."

The Piano Guys responded with a" sorry, not sorry" statement. "Our performance tonight, which combined 'Fight Song' and 'Amazing Grace' had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton or politics," they tweeted. "We chose to perform our version of 'Fight Song/Amazing Grace' - it was not endorsed by Rachel Platten. We love Rachel and we love her song."

The group also performed a cover of the One Direction hit "What Makes You Beautiful," which did not please the song's writer, Savan Kotecha.

"They were absolutely NOT given permission to use WMYB at the inaugural ball. I will be looking into taking action," Kotecha tweeted. It is, however, legal to perform a live cover of someone else's song without explicit permission from the artist. Kotecha added later, "There's nothing I can do re WMYB now, but the song was written out of love for my wife. It's just heartbreaking that it was used to [celebrate] a man who stands for divisiveness."

Before their performances at both the Liberty and Freedom balls, the Piano Guys' Steven Sharp Nelson explained to Forbes why they accepted the gigs.

"We are here not to be political, we're here to be patriotic and we're here to do what music was always intended to do," Nelson said. "That's to be something that can lift people in a time of dissonance."

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