Was Daniel Ek really joking when he offered a job to former President Barrack Obama? In 2014 Spotify hired former Obama/Clinton official Jonathan M Prince to be the head of comms and public policy and ever since then we’ve noticed a certain “coziness” between Obama and the dominant player in the streaming market. Cozy? Sure: POTUS playlists; this piece in Billboard where he says he’s “still waiting for his job at Spotify;” and then of course he sic’ed the DOJ Antitrust division on both Apple Music and songwriters in ways that greatly benefitted the streaming giant.
And here is Jonathan Prince begging his former boss to take a job at Spotify:
And in case that wasn’t clear enough. Prince tweets again:
I know most musicians supported the president’s two campaigns, and this is probably upsetting to read but doesn’t this seem a little weird? And facts are facts. The last two years of the Obama administration they have been #TeamSpotify all the way. Imagine if George W Bush had joked that he was “waiting for his job at Halliburton?” in his final days at the White House? Imagine the outcry.
Come to think of it, this is worse than Halliburton because there is the little matter of the $200 million plus class action songwriter lawsuit. Spotify is being sued for not licensing songs and failure to pay royalties to millions of songwriters. They don’t even deny it:
(BTW this is total nonsense from Prince. If Spotify doesn’t know who to pay its because Spotify didn’t bother to get licenses for those songs. Prince should know it’s not the “industry’s” duty to come together and bail out his multi-billion dollar Goldman Sachs backed employer.)
Here is the former head of Spotify music licensing admitting TO THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE in 2015 they were aware of the problem. Yet they continue to this day to play music they haven’t licensed and continue to not pay songwriters. For all practical purposes they are an outlaw corporation.
Hypothetically, let’s say a major airline had illegally refused to pay its baggage handlers, or a luxury hotel chain had illegally failed to pay its sub-contractors, and thousands of workers were owed hundreds of millions of dollars, would Obama “joke” about going to work for one of these companies? I think not.
This guy (Obama) turned out to be just as incurious about the financial plight of middle class workers as his predecessor. How does Obama not know how shitty Spotify is to songwriters? Or maybe he doesn’t care and just wants to cash in his Spotify chips. (BTW this comes from a guy who gave his campaign $2,500 in 2008.)
Oh and one last thing… Here is Spotify’s Jonathan Prince visiting the White House immediately after taking the Spotify job. 90 minutes with Obama’s Chief of Staff on a Thursday afternoon? Wow. Wonder what they talked about…? A little co-promotion between the office of the President and Spotify? Maybe a summer playlist? Hopefully the job offer is simply a joke and there is not some sort of quid pro quo.