That’s My Opinion: Ex Cops and Burger Logic

Posted in Screening Room by - March 12, 2015

First and foremost, I am a musician. Yes, I’m a writer for Kulture Shocked, but if you take a gander at the About Us page, my photo is me with a piano performing a show. I have spent years training my craft, becoming proficient and knowledgeable at what I do. I have performed for 10s, 100s, and 1000s of people, here in the states and abroad. Granted, the bulk of my experience is from the classical realm, the fact remains that as much as musicians love to perform, we are providing a service, and the extraordinary ones deserve to get paid top dollar.

Now indie music is not a genre that I’m super familiar with. I’m not saying indie music is terrible, in fact there are some bands out there that I have listened to and honestly thought were incredible (looking at you Boombachs) and because I saw the headline cross my news feed, I checked out Ex Cops and thankfully both of their LPs are on Spotify. These guys are fantastic and deserve the honor that was recently bestowed to them. For those that don’t know yet, Ex Cops were asked by McDonalds to perform at their SXSW Showcase. That’s a big deal. The only thing that I can honestly think of that truly equates is probably playing at Coachella or even the Super Bowl half-time show. These events are what launch artists from the shadows of the indie scene into the overwhelming mainstream.

At this point I doubt that there is a person who doesn’t know what SXSW (South by Southwest). This is one of if not the largest festivals in the country, and definitely the biggest event in music right now. What makes huge events like this work is money. Guess where the money for huge festivals like this come from? Huge corporations.

Now here’s the kicker, McDonald’s asked Ex Cops to perform for free. Their reasoning? They apparently claimed they didn’t have a budget to pay musicians. For a company worth $97 billion (and yes that’s more than the net worth of the United States of America), somehow I doubt that they can’t come up with a musician’s fee.

If you haven’t seen the open letter from Brian Harding, it’s below and it’s solid gold.

The fact that McDonald’s tried to use the “this is a great opportunity for additional exposure” bit is probably what hacks me off the most. This is the same crap that the NFL tried to pull with their half-time show, it’s wrong and as a performing artist it sickens me. Everyone who tries to make a living with a craft they love understands that marketing and getting the hype train started is hard enough today, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to get paid. In fact, McDonald’s offering Ex Cops the opportunity to perform at SXSW but claiming they “follow the same standard protocol as other brands and sponsors by inviting talented and emerging musicians to join us at the SXSW Festival” has probably done more for Ex Cops than actually performing for McDonald’s at their SXSW Showcase.

I know that there are maybe 100 people who read Kulture Shocked right now, but if 50 of those people read this article and decide to check out Ex Cops and say 25 of those people decide to purchase either of Ex Cops’ LPs, say on iTunes? For every time that happens with a small pop culture media outlet, say it happens 100 times. That’s 2500 new listeners and Ex Cops wins.

P.S. I’ve listened to both Daggers and True Hallucinations while writing this. They’re great. Go buy them. At the least be sure to go support your favorite artists.

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