McDonald's asked the band Ex Cops to perform at its SXSW showcase for free. The band denied. And its open letter to the company is now viral.
It’s a difficult conundrum we’ve all found ourselves in. On the one hand we all love paying a single dollar to receive a filling burger when we’re broke and hungry. On the other, we hate that people have to survive on jack-shit wages and struggle to stay afloat while we get fat on processed meals.
But as Ex Cops band member Brian Harding points out, “As of 2013, McDonalds is valued at 90.3 billion dollars.” And it doesn’t want to pay them for performing at its showcase in Austin this month at the South by Southwest music festival.
As the company sees it — pointed out by Harding in his open letter posted to Facebook — McDonald’s feels it’s a “a great opportunity for additional exposure,” and that “McDonald’s will have their global digital team on site to meet with the bands, help with cross promotion, etc.”
Which is true: Playing at a newsworthy showcase to thousands of fans with a massive company behind your back like McDonald’s is a great opportunity. Those types of knocks on an act’s door come few and far between — if at all. But Harding and the rest of his team are adamantly taking a stand against what they see is unfair compensation to artists. They’ve declined to play — and are doing their best to shame the wealthy restaurant in the process.
The festival itself is known for being a place where few artists actually make any money. The atmosphere thrives on everyone building worthwhile connections and having a built in crowd of revelers normally unreachable through any other avenues. For a company to not pay anyone involved is commonplace. McDonald’s isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary — especially towards a band that has little reach on its own to a throng of distracted onlookers.
But Harding’s point is that the company does have plenty of funds and should pay its performers accordingly. And no, free fries isn’t enough. Ironically though, the open letter has gone viral, and standing up to the company will inevitably be worth more in online exposure than any small paycheck would have been had the company offered. Because, look! We have one of Ex Cops' videos below. How's that for exposure?