Matt Dolloff, CBS Radio Boston

Organizers of the Summer Olympics in London want big-name performers to play their opening and closing ceremonies, but they don’t want to pony up the cash necessary to pull it off.

According to Classic Rock Magazine, Olympic organizing committee LOCOG are trying to get Paul McCartney, Duran Duran and other big-name artists to perform without pay, using the old “exposure” excuse – which brings the company’s actions from incompetent to insulting.

The committee has already proven to know little about the artists they wanted when they asked The Who if Keith Moon, who’s been dead since 1978, would be available to play with the band. Now, they are asking the confirmed performers to play without commanding their normal rates for one-off performances, claiming they should “do it for the exposure.”

That excuse would make sense for some local U.K. acts that hadn’t yet achieved the kind of exposure that would come from a performance at the Olympics. But Paul McCartney? Duran Duran? Those acts are beyond well-established and deserve to be paid like the professional musicians they are.

One unidentified performer told Corporate Watch back in April:

“They said they were really keen for us to play on major stages at different events. We replied quoting our normal fees. After months of meetings they offered us a raft of gigs but said it was LOCOG’s policy not to pay any musicians for performing. They should stop trying to capitalise on the image of the Olympics and pay a fair rate for our services.”

It appears that LOCOG is trying to save money on the music side of things after spending too much on other aspects of the Olympics, like doubling down on the necessary amount for security measures. Paul McCartney and Duran Duran certainly could perform for free, as the technically don’t need the money. But to ask legendary artists like them to perform for exposure should be taken as a major insult.

Do you think LOCOG is justified in asking performers to play for free? Or is it just an attempt by them to cover up for budget mistakes? Sound off in the comments.

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