Sgt. Marianique Santos/Air Force

The mp3s for Trump’s Weekly Addresses Say Artist=Barack Obama

When audio files get political.

Despite the attention Donald Trump pays to “the cyber,” his administration is not known for its tech-savvy. That might be why the mp3 files for his weekly addresses have not been updated since he took office, and still show “President Barack Obama” as the artist.

Here is the readout of id3 tags—which identify the metadata of an mp3 file—for the most recent weekly address, from Oct. 13:

album : The White House title : Weekly Address(1) artist : President Barack Obama track : 1 comment : For more information, visit genre : Other date : 2016

Finding this file revealed another Trump tech failure: when I went to the page for the Oct. 13 address and clicked on the link to another page that hosted the mp3, it took me to the address for Sep. 29. To find the most recent mp3, I had to manually guess the naming structure for the URL.

The artist=Obama tags were discovered by the linguist Mark Liberman, who collects audio of presidential addresses for linguistic analysis. As Liberman writes, all of Trump’s weekly addresses name “President Barack Obama” as the artist. For other White House mp3s, like this one for a recent press briefing, the artist is just “The White House.”

All of them, however, seem to think the year is still 2016.

album : The White House title : Press Briefing with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders artist : The White House track : 1 comment : For more information, visit genre : Other date : 2016

It seems the Obama administration set up the infrastructure for processing, uploading, and deploying mp3s of weekly addresses, but the Trump team hasn’t touched that system. Or maybe the computer running the system is nostalgic for an administration that had thorough engineers.