McDonalds, an official sponsor of SXSW, attempted to make good on their commitment to “improve the SXSW experience for everyone” by offering artists a chance to perform in exchange for exposure (and french fries), but the Indie band Ex Cops, quite publicly, isn’t feeling the love.
In response to a McDonald’s request to perform for exposure instead of pay, the Ex Cops published an open letter to their Facebook page ousting the multi-billion dollar corporate cheapskate. McDonalds, who claims there “isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)” is valued at $90.3 billion dollars. The Ex Cops argue they could afford to value quality artist performances at a little more than french fries and soda.
Ex Cops band member, Brian Harding‘s open letter reads:
I won’t get into the internet semantics of things you’ve probably seen on your Facebook feed; like that thing where it takes a McDonald’s worker 4 months to earn what the CEO makes in an hour, or their GMO love affair, and I will certainly spare you the bounty of photos showing how they treat their animals.
In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”
Seemingly countless showcases will take place next week at SXSW, and while many of them will compensate artists little or nothing, most of them aren’t multi-billion dollar franchises.
McDonald’s made a pass at self-defense in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:
“We follow the same standard protocol as other brands and sponsors by inviting talented and emerging musicians to join us at the SXSW Festival,” McDonald’s Global Media Relations Director Becca Hary told Rolling Stone. “We look forward to serving McDonald’s food, drinks and fun in Austin. #slownewsday”
“That’s not true,” Ex Cops singer Amalie Bruun argued after hearing McDonald’s response. “They’re not following any guidelines because everyone else is offering money. They’ll have to take that up with South by Southwest if they think they’re following the guidelines…Other, much smaller corporations are offering us money.”
“It’s gross,” Harding says. “It’s a perfect example of an archaic company trying to be hip by putting a hashtag at the end of an e-mail.”
Read the full letter here.