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McDonald’s manages to scrape together some cash to pay artists at SXSW showcase

By | Published on Wednesday 11 March 2015

McDonald's SXSW

McDonald’s has backtracked somewhat and announced that it will now pay artists to play at its SXSW showcase later this month, rather than just asking bands to do it for the “exposure”. Or McSposure, perhaps.

As previously reported, alt-rock duo Ex Cops recently published an ‘open letter’ on their Facebook page calling out the fast food chain for refusing to pay for the one thing absolutely necessary for its SXSW showcase event to exist. The band’s Brian Harding said that he was told there was “no budget” to cover artists’ costs.

In an initial statement, McDonald’s put the mounting interest in this story down to a “#SlowNewsDay”, and said that it was just following “the same standard protocol as other brands and sponsors” at SXSW. Standard protocols that, Harding told Rolling Stone, were news to him, given that some other brands had offered to pay the band to play.

In a statement yesterday, McDonald’s said it was now also ditching these imagined standard practices, telling Billboard: “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 line-up features a great assortment of more than 20 bands, honouring the spirit of the festival. To further support these artists, all bands performing at our showcase will be compensated”.

Ex Cops will not be one of those bands raking in the Maccy D’s dollar, but said via Facebook: “We are thrilled that our letter made a difference … Artists should be paid for their work”.