Nonprofit sends Amazon a cake to celebrate third year of unpaid invoice

The Sideshow

Attention, finance department: The good folks at MusicBrainz sent you guys a cake to celebrate the third anniversary of you not paying your bill.


We first spotted the story over at Boing Boing, which reports that "MetaBrainz is a charity that oversees MusicBrainz, a free/open music metadata service" that acts as a free encyclopedia for music of all genres.

Apparently, three years ago, hired MusicBrainz for a roughly $20,000 project involving a live data feed. Unfortunately, invoice #144 never got paid.

Yahoo News spoke via email with Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz about cake-gate. "It wasn’t that there was no communication," he said. "There was plenty, but all of the actions on Amazon’s part were ineffectual. Nothing seemed to work and I wanted the organization on the greater whole to be aware of this problem and to work together to find a solution moving forward."

Kaye told Yahoo News that the people at Amazon with whom he's spoken have been polite and eager to help. "

The real reason, from what I can tell, is that Amazon employees are constantly overworked and that MetaBrainz is such a small organization that its hard for them to really find the time to manage this relationship."

He continued, "No one was trying to stiff us. No one was trying to be in the way. It was never about the money. So, I’m not upset at Amazon or the people I dealt with. I’m just frustrated with the overall bureaucracy of that organization."

So rather than send an angry letter, MusicBrainz is killing 'em with kindness. If their tactic works, who knows? Maybe bill collectors will cease with the phone calls and deliver baked goods instead. A delinquent notice from the IRS would be much more pleasant if you could eat it.

UPDATE: Success! According to a blog at, Amazon reached out and a check is being sent to MusicBrainz immediately.

The blog author writes, "Sending this cake was quite effective! For $30 I managed to wake up Amazon, send a clear message that our account was not being managed well, that their AP team has some issues to address and that I wanted to fix our relationship. From where I stand, I see that these issues are on track for being resolved. Thanks for stepping up your game, Amazon!"

To view photos of the massive Amazon fulfillment centers, see our Yahoo News slideshow.