The Mother of All “Friday News Dumps” Spotify Admits it has an Unpaid Royalty Problem


Donna: What’s take out the trash day?
Josh: Friday.
Donna: I mean, what is it?
Josh: Any stories we have to give the press that we’re not wild about, we give all in a lump on Friday.


From West Wing episode “Take out the Trash Day.” 

According to Taegan Goddard’s Political Dictionary a “Friday News Dump” is the practice of  “releasing bad news or documents on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to avoid media scrutiny.”  And this is exactly what we are seeing from Spotify this week.   Last night Ed Christman reported in Billboard that Spotify has announced plans to develop a database to “properly manage royalties.”   Properly?  Uh oh!   Technically Billboards editors are going a little soft on Spotify here as the real problem is that Spotify apparently never licensed many of the songs in their catalogue in the first place.  Which implies copyright infringement on a massive scale.

But wait this is not Friday?  Exactly but the week before Christmas is a week of Fridays. And the evening of the 23rd is the mother of all Fridays.  It’s the last day you can get anyone to report on a news story before the holidays. And you get 7-10 days of Saturdays for the story to dissipate.

Got to hand it to Spotify’s new global head of communications & public policy Jonathan Prince.  He is really bringing skills mastered during his time in the Obama/Clinton administrations  to bear on the problem.   This news release wasn’t just a Friday news dump it appears timed with the announcement of a Obama/Biden Spotify playlist (announced on the official White House website, a taxpayer funded government website I might add).  Given that Spotify appears to be illegally hosting a significant amount of unlicensed songs wouldn’t this be the equivalent of  George W appearing on the Enron Christmas card after they admitted to fraud?

Merry Christmas Silicon Valley Billionaires!  And fuck you artists.  – Your friends at Spotify (and The White House.)