“I won’t back down,” sings Lara Trump – yes, daughter-in-law of Donald – in her debut single. Probably a sensible stance given that she’s sitting on a horse in the artwork, and they’re a bugger to make walk backwards.
It’s fair to say Trump’s new career has gotten off to a slow start: the track was released on Friday, but at the time of writing on Monday morning has fewer than 8,000 streams on Spotify.
Ah, but this is the controversy.
Trump has alleged that Spotify and Apple Music have both ‘shadow banned’ the track, a cover of Tom Petty’s famous hit.
“The song dropped at midnight, and then today I get all of these messages from people saying that they’re looking for my song on Apple Music and they can’t find it or it’s buried way down,” she told MailOnline.
The news site also claimed that ‘when you type in the track name on Spotify, it’s not listed in the results, and it’s only accessible when you search for her full name’.
Music Ally repeated this test this morning, and we can report that searching for ‘I Won’t Back Down’ brings up Petty’s original at the top of the results, as you’d expect.
Covers by Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, KT Tunstall, Hybrid, The Goo Goo Dolls, Smokie, Reel Big Fish and other artists also appear, but no Lara Trump.
So yes, this could be a shadow ban by the woke communists running Spotify and Apple Music.
Or alternatively, it could be that if you’re a brand new artist with no track record (in terms of what the DSP algorithms know about you), releasing a cover of a famous song that’s been covered by more-famous musicians in the past, you need to drum up your own momentum before the algorithms notice you.
Trump has 1.5 million followers on Twitter and 1.6 million on Instagram, so she should be well-placed to do that. It would be a surprise if her version of the track isn’t showing in Apple and Spotify’s search results by the end of this week – if lots of people stream, save and share it.
Update: LJ Fino, president of First Class Records, the label that released the track, got in touch with Music Ally to provide some context.
“Lara Trump is incredibly well known and the recording in question was highly anticipated in the United States. We had over 40,000 pre-saves on DSPs pre-release, the record’s existence was trending on X pre-release, and it received tremendous press coverage in the lead up to its release / immediately following,” he said.
Fino cited Google Trends data around the song and Lara Trump as further evidence of the anticipation for the release.
“With the amount of Pre-Saves that we have, in combination with DPD sales and online virality, it is difficult to make the argument that this is any old recording from a ‘traditional’ new recording artist and that the record’s lack of visibility is due to a lack of interest,” he said.
There is some history here regarding ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and the Trump family. In 2020, Tom Petty’s family issued a cease and desist to the Donald Trump campaign after Petty’s original version of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ was played at one of Trump’s rallies.
“Tom Petty would not want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together,” said the family’s statement at the time. “We would hate for fans that are marginalised by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”