Editor's note: Please read the update at the end of this post...

Got the following e-mail regarding Austin's South by Southwest music festival from Quack! Media honcho Al McWilliams earlier today. We weren't aware that there was a SonicBids controversy (sounds like a "pay-to-play" situation?)...but this should definitely stir up some interesting debate and discussion:

Hi Everyone,

You may have noticed that SxSW is using SonicBids for their submissions this year. It is my firm belief that SonicBids is extremely unethical (should be illegal) and therefor Zach and I have decided that Quack!Media and Suburban Sprawl will not be officially submitting any of our artists, throwing a party, or attending the festival as a staff.

After a few days of back and forth with SxSW to find a way we could submit DIRECTLY to them without going through SonicBids, they were unable to come up with a solution, and I have to stand my ground. SonicBids is in the business of siphoning money, under false pretenses, from bands and artists like you who struggle for every dime. I simply cannot be associated with it.

I've assured the folks at SxSW that we still love them, and we'll be back when they drop the Zero and get with a Hero.

Of course, you are all very welcome to submit on your own and we'll support you from Michigan to the best of our abilities. I'm supermegabummed that I wont be headed down this year, as it is a highlight of my spring, but I would feel wrong not to exercise what little power I have.

Let's all go to NxNE or something!? Toronto has better poutine anyhoo.


Al Mcwilliams


UPDATED: Got this from Mr. McWilliams later in the day. So Al's well that ends well. What a horrible pun!

Hi Again Quack/subsprawl dudes/ladies!

Standing firm on principle = always a good idea.

We've worked things out with SxSW.

It's a great festival, and I'm glad that no matter how big, they're still versatile enough to do the right thing.

Texas = Game on.


Al Mcwilliams



We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.