McDonald's Will Pay Artists at Its SXSW Showcase After All

Backlash Against Compensation in Exposure, Free Food Results In Paying Gig

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A McDonald's in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
A McDonald's in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

After some negative press surrounding its presence at SXSW, McDonald's will offer to pay artists at its showcase afterall.

Last week McDonald's, a major sponsor at the festival for the first time, found itself in the hot seat aftger indie band Ex Cops publicly vented their frustrations about McDonald's offer to play its showcase without payment, just exposure and free food.

Now the company has changed its tune. McDonald's told Billboard that the festival began as a conference and festival where up-and-coming acts could showcase their talents -- implying that it wasn't out of the ordinary to asking a band to play for free. But, as McDonald's continued in its statement to Billboard:

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, of course, wasn't the first brand to not offer a paying gig to artists at SXSW, but as one of the most recognizable brands in the world, people notice when it tries something new.

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