McDonald’s Stops Being Snarky, Says They’ll Pay SXSW Artists

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I’m fine with SXSW’s payment scheme for most showcases. In exchange for exposure, artists agree to take either a modest payment or a SXSW badge. This is fine when playing showcases for small/independent labels, publications, companies, etc.

It’s not fine when massive corporations think they can go in and capitalize on rising bands without paying up. This is a lesson McDonald’s is learning.

McDonald’s will now be paying artists that play their SXSW showcase. The company released the following statement:

“SXSW started as a conference and festival for the music industry, related press and up-and-coming musicians bringing the community together to showcase their talents. We are excited to expand our support of music at our SXSW activation where the lineup features a great assortment of more than 20 bands, honoring the spirit of the festival. To further support these artists, all bands performing at our showcase will be compensated.”

McDonald’s Director of Global Media Relations Becca Hary originally said this was a non-story, using the hashtag “#slownewsday“. The hashtag took off on Twitter, bringing even more attention to McDonalds’ unwillingness to pay.

 

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

Image: ‘Happy Meal’ by Wilson Tai, licensed under Creative Commons Generic Attribution 2.0 (CC by 2.0). 

11 Responses

  1. Bandit

    Now that’s how “exposure” works

    Expose some condescending PR a hole and get results

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Yeah, but come on – McDonald’s actually listened to the response to their #slownewsday stupidity and responded to it by adjusting their position; they screwed up but then they did the right thing to try to fix it, and that’s good. Whatever the compensation is, it’s more than it was before, it’s more than many other sponsors offer, and it’s more than they had to offer. It’s not perfect, but certainly better.

      Reply
  2. small labe1

    “…will now be compensated” …in the form of a $5 clownburger coupon…

    Reply
  3. [email protected]

    I would expect McD’s to pay AFM Local 433 standard show scale, or face more “exposure”. The amounts of money are so very small compared to the cost of the overall McD’s SXSW marketing campaign.

    If the payments are essentially anemic, expect comparisons to the nutritional quality of the “food”. Etc.

    Reply
  4. jr

    The reality is SxSW is at fault, since official sponsorships are paid to them. Does anyone here really think a company the size of McDonalds is actually hiring bands, booking stages, getting lights or really even cares? This is a sponsorship package offered to them by SxSW for a fee. Blaming them for what is and continues to be a huge revenue producer for the folks at SxSW is not understanding much about how things work.
    I can’t really imagine Andy McKenna (CEO) listening to soundcloud links can you?

    The bottom line is this, the ONLY real growth industry in music today is facilitators who offer “opportunities” for fame and fortune to the folks that think they can make it. This is a growing pool of folks judging by the millions of recordings released last year compared to the less than 4000 in 1978.

    SxSW do a great job of creating an event, they are an event company, just like the MIDEM folks are an event company and both need to make as much money as possible. The organizers at SxSW set the terms and make all the recommendations for endorsements and have packages they sell to ad and media agencies, look it up. IF they want to change things they can, the sponsors will continue to take their cues from them.

    Reply
    • MC

      You sure about that? i couldn’t say with complete confidence that a brand like mcdonalds doesn’t control their own showcase with their own people – you could be right. But it seems to me if SXSW were putting on the showcase on behalf of their sponsor, they would have offered Ex-Cops at least a nominal appearance fee. They are a touring band with fees in the 2-10k range. Not every band gets paid the same at SXSW, obviously.

      Reply
      • jr

        http://sxsw.com/marketing/sponsorship

        Companies go to festivals and work out a plan with the festival organizers that fits everyone’s brand. They may have a a creative idea, but in the end, the festival folks are front line players. If they made it a requirement that when a sponsor comes on at a set price point, it included a fee for the band, it would be done.

        Reply
        • MC

          This links says nothing on whether the sponsor chooses their own acts or pays those acts. Your question was:
          “Does anyone here really think a company the size of McDonalds is actually hiring bands, booking stages, getting lights or really even cares?

          I would submit that Yes, a company like McDonalds would get their hands in the mix with choosing bands to play at their showcase. Not every employee at McDonalds works in their restaurants. They have a huge marketing dept that specializes in trade shows and the like. It stands to reason Mcdonalds would be dictating its terms & conditions to SXSW and not the other way around.

          Can anyone else comment on how a brand like McDonalds might be involved with reaching out to and booking bands? I realize most bands go thru SonicBids to officially submit to the festival, but I would think a band like the Ex-Cops would not. It seems the biggest companies would choose the artists they want to represent and pay them in line to their typical band appearance fee.

          Reply
          • MC

            sorry guys, my html skills are weak. I meant only this sentence in italics:

            Does anyone here really think a company the size of McDonalds is actually hiring bands, booking stages, getting lights or really even cares?

            (and the rest in normal print)

            I would submit that Yes, a company like McDonalds would get their hands in the mix with choosing bands to play at their showcase. Not every employee at McDonalds works in their restaurants. They have a huge marketing dept that specializes in trade shows and the like. It stands to reason Mcdonalds would be dictating its terms & conditions to SXSW and not the other way around. Can anyone else comment on how a brand like McDonalds might be involved with reaching out to and booking bands? I realize most bands go thru SonicBids to officially submit to the festival, but I would think a band like the Ex-Cops would not. It seems the biggest companies would choose the artists they want to represent and pay them in line to their typical band appearance fee.

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