Yesterday, Ex Cops posted a letter on Facebook calling out McDonald’s for insisting that they don’t have a budget to pay artists to play their SXSW showcase. Rolling Stone reached out to the multi-billion dollar fast food corporation for a comment and here’s what McDonald’s global media relations director Becca Hary had to say:
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
Let’s put aside the glibness it takes for a PR director to respond to a legitimate news inquiry with a sarcastic hashtag, and focus on the fact that what they are saying simply isn’t true. While it is often the case that smaller, unsponsored showcases do not have the money to pay artists, if a corporate sponsor is attached to a show, the expectation is that bands will be paid. Doritos paid Lady Gaga $2.5 million dollars to perform in a vending machine last year, as did Samsung when they brought Prince to the festival in 2013 (and, for that matter, Kanye West the year before). Scaling that down, the amount that McDonald’s would be expected to pay a small, independent band to play a showcase is beyond the definition of couch cushion change for a corporation valued at $96.9 billion dollars.
“They’re not following any guidelines because everyone else is offering money,” Ex Cops’ member Amalie Bruun told Rolling Stone. “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,” Brian Harding, the other half of the band, added. “It’s a perfect example of an archaic company trying to be hip by putting a hashtag at the end of an e-mail.”