SXSW is the place to be if you enjoy being an advertising target. Yes, there’s a lot of music, but there’s a lot of brands throwing things at you too (I’m actually a little relieved to be skipping it this year).
But surely those bands are paying artists, so it can’t be all bad…
Well McDonald’s apparently has enough money to sponsor the entirety of SXSW, but they don’t have a budget to pay artists who play their showcase.
The band Ex Cops has posted an open letter on Facebook. They say that McDonald’s asked them to play their showcase in exchange for exposure. The audience will be getting free food, but they have “no budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)”.
Ex Cops said:
“I will also go ahead and save time for any schill / troll rebuttals; “Are the other showcases paying you? No one is holding a gun to your head!” This is true. It is our choice (pretty much) to fly to Austin, play shows without soundcheck, and get paid nothing to a little. But hear this loud and clear, we LOVE making music, it is what we do, and despite some of its very apparent flaws, SXSW still provides a decent venue to be heard by some people who are really there to hear new music and not just do blow with dudes who wear square toe loafers.
It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials.”
Okay, maybe McDonald’s thinks SXSW is nothing more than a cross-promotional circlejerk. Someone should tell them that brands of their size can afford to pay artists if they want to attract precious tastemaker approval.
NOPE, McDonald’s Global Media Relations Director Becca Hary replied to multiple publications with the same statement:
“We follow the same standard protocol as other Brands and sponsors by inviting talented and emerging musicians to join us at the SXSW Festival. We look forward to serving McDonald’s food, drinks and fun in Austin. #slownewsday”
Not only is McDonald’s not paying artists, they’re responding to criticism with sass.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u
Image: ‘McDonald’s’ by Mike Mozart, licensed under Creative Commons Generic Attribution 2.0 (CC by 2.0).