The Mecca of all music extravaganzas, South By Southwest of Austin Texas starts its musical component in just a few short weeks, which will see thousands upon thousands of talented artists perform gigs around the city, however there is one act in particular that will not be showing face.

US electro-pop duo Ex Cops have turned down what could be seen by many as the opportunity of a lifetime because they will not be paid for the gig from one of the world’s largest corporations that definitely has a couple of dollars to spare, as Consequence of Sound writes.

The two-piece were approached by fast-food kings McDonalds to perform at their showcase – which quickly, doesn’t it make you sick a corporation like this is slapping their brand on the face of South By Southwest – however McDonalds politely informed the pair that they’d receive no monetary benefit from Maccas because “there isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)” yes, of course there isn’t.

Micky-dees did however inform the pair that by playing free for them they would “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”.

As one can surely imagine, this really pissed off both Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding of Ex Cops, who served McDonalds with a nice juicy pound(er)ing on Facebook, giving the ultimate middle finger to the business via a scathing open letter.

Penned by Harding, he first notes that in 2013 McDonalds was valued at “$90.3 billion”, before making claim against poor staff and animal practices conducted by the worldwide chain, then delving into the issue at hand,  “This week our band was asked to play the McDonald’s Showcase at the annual South by Southwest, also known to music insiders as “SXSW.”

He then explains the situation, “Their selling point was that this was “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. In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”

Commenting further on the band declining McDonalds’ offer, he writes, “It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials. Doritos received a lot of flack for their stage a couple years ago, but i’m going to assume they paid Lady Gaga.”

Ex Cops have been met with both high-fives as well as many criticisms, the latter attesting that they should appreciate the opportunity they’ve tossed away, however as Harding notes, the band have headlined shows at the likes of Brooklyn’s Baby’s Alright (to which they were paid fairly), not to mention having recorded tracks with the likes of Ariel Pink. Every group can always do with more promotion, but an established band, nay any act surely warrant some form of monetary benefit from a multi-billion dollar corporation when performing for them.

As Stereogum (via Rolling Stone) reports that McDonalds have now responded to Ex Cops, global media relations director Becca Hary stating, “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” make of that what you will.

You can read the full open-letter below:

Post by Ex Cops.

“McDonald’s asked us to play SXSW. This is Brian’s open letter about it.

This week our band was asked to play the McDonald’s Showcase at the annual South by Southwest, also known to music insiders as “SXSW.”

Their selling point was that this was “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”

I don’t, and doubt that they know what this means either.

Getting past that rhetoric, at the very least a big corporation like McDonald’s can at least pay their talent a little. Right?

“There isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)”

As of 2013, McDonalds is valued at 90.3 billion dollars.

I won’t get into the internet semantics of things you’ve probably seen on your Facebook feed; like that thing where it takes a McDonald’s worker 4 months to earn what the CEO makes in an hour, or their GMO love affair, and I will certainly spare you the bounty of photos showing how they treat their animals.

In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”

We recently headlined a show at the Brooklyn venue Baby’s Alright. They are by no means a DIY venue, but they are still an independent small business. The owners are people our age who used to book shows at Pianos and busted their asses to open a venue of their own in Brooklyn.

While I haven’t asked Billy or Zach how much they make annually (that would be weird) I’m going to guess they’re not looking at brownstones in Prospect Park at the moment. Yet when we played, we were paid very very fairly, were provided with drink tickets, and each band member fed a full entree from their menu (try the Brussels sprouts)

I will also go ahead and save time for any schill / troll rebuttals; “Are the other showcases paying you? No one is holding a gun to your head!” This is true. It is our choice (pretty much) to fly to Austin, play shows without soundcheck, and get paid nothing to a little. But hear this loud and clear, we LOVE making music, it is what we do, and despite some of its very apparent flaws, SXSW still provides a decent venue to be heard by some people who are really there to hear new music and not just do blow with dudes who wear square toe loafers.

It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials. Doritos received a lot of flack for their stage a couple years ago, but i’m going to assume they paid Lady Gaga.

Oh, I almost forgot; “McDonald’s will offer free food to all audience members”

I don’t doubt that tons of bands will kowtow to this lame, lame attempt at a rock show. And I’m aware that to achieve any exposure is a Herculean task in 2015, but the Boethian Wheel is a real thing, and this will continue to exist if we, as artists, keep saying yes in exchange for a taste of success. Even if smells like a shitty Fish filet.”