It is no secret that the prices related to live shows and the enterprise surrounding them proceed to rise. And one of many extra debated subjects since acts returned to touring after the pandemic is the infringement of venues in taking a lower of merch gross sales from bands. Musician Jeff Rosenstock stirred the dialogue as soon as once more, aptly on Labor Day, providing private perception on how merch cuts are mirrored in his upcoming touring.
In his publish (shared under), Rosenstock supplies a breakdown by market on the merch cuts being taken by venues on his forthcoming run, noting, “That is going to trigger us to promote our merch for greater costs than we would wish to at sure venues. We expect that sucks.”
Anticipating the response from the opposite aspect, Rosenstock says, “The argument for the lower is ‘nicely, fucko, we provide you with a spot to promote your merchandise.’ By that logic, we must also be getting a lower of the bar for bringing tons of to hundreds of individuals and their money to the venue that evening. **For the document, we’re 100% down to provide a merch lower any evening we get a lower of the bar.** However the factor that makes essentially the most sense is that we do not take one another’s cash!”
He continues, “We like one another and we’re working collectively and serving to one another! It is senseless that on the finish of those killer exhibits the place we’re all having a pleasant time, somebody who was our buddy all evening low key robs us and goes ‘have a secure journey to the subsequent gig buddies!!’ That is fucking bizarre!!!”
The musician provides, “A lot of the time all that cash goes to huge companies like AEG & LiveNation. Looks like the fuckin’ rule now, when you work in a artistic area you are alleged to really feel fortunate and comfortable sufficient to be there to get raked over the coals by millionaires and billionaires who will provide you with as small as slice of the pie as they’ll to perpetually present development in earnings. It is by no means these individuals left holding the bag. It is both a musician — a area wherein when you make a poverty wage that is thought of *making it* — or followers who tackle the burden. Even if you’re older now I feel many people know what it feels wish to suppose “nicely, that present prices $30, so I can not afford to go.’ It is fucked up that somebody to whomst $1,000 is nothin’ is taking that cash from you for actual.”
READ MORE: Why Do Venues Take Merch Cuts From Bands?
Rosenstock concluded, “I would like to say ‘and on account of all that, we’ll now not be enjoying venues that take merch cuts.’ However sadly, through the pandemic AEG & LiveNation purchased so lots of the varieties of venues that we play, that dodging these tremendous excessive cuts is almost unimaginable. However we’ll by no means cease making an attempt to maintain the costs low for everybody on the market, and we’re gonna do no matter we will do to keep away from it sooner or later. We as a band and crew simply needed to let you recognize what’s up. Lub ya see ya quickly.”
The publish garnered fairly a bit of debate. Producer Steve Albini chimed in, “Not usually admitted, however merch cuts are 100% negotiable, to the extent that my bands over 40+ years have by no means, not as soon as, ever paid them. When brokers make offers, they do not care about ticket surcharges, merch lower or different leaks; they do not have an effect on their lower. The band has to insist.” However his argument was countered by Eve 6, who said, “Possibly that is true at just like the cool indie golf equipment or no matter however publish COVID most venues over 200 cap have been purchased by livenation or AEG. No merch lower no play and so they have a monopoly.”
Automotive Seat Headrest additionally addressed merch specifically, commenting, “This! + when you’re utilizing prime quality blanks (USA made / moral) your revenue margins are even smaller! You are able to do gildan blanks for like $8, however a decently made garment is often $16+.”
Helado Negro added, “I am supportive of this. been wanting this to alter for a very long time. this shit is absurd. this apply is senseless, would like to see it gone now.”
Caracara added, “Extra individuals have to know that venues / promoters do that. it’s as insane because it sounds and it’s prevalent at virtually all ranges. essential thread tune in comfortable labor day.” Ohio rockers Gear commented, “i promise that any time you suppose an artist is overcharging for merch, quite a lot of the time we do not make as a lot as you would possibly suppose! many on-line marketplaces and music venues chew an enormous chunk out of each buy. nonetheless sadly the very best/solely actual approach to assist us.”
In the meantime, Purple Scare Industries’ Tobias Jeg shared on X (previously Twitter) a current incident between himself and reps from AEG over how merch was dealt with for a current present. Within the shared electronic mail, the AEG consultant known as out Jeg over a merch lower problem.
“Ah sure, it is time for the month-to-month debate of ‘Nicely golly, I can not imagine my slick company reserving agent (that we employed) works hand-in-glove with company promoters.’ My fellow merch individuals: inform them to GET FUCKED. See under (sharing the e-mail). They’re going to name safety, nevertheless it’s us versus them.”
He added, “They’re mendacity on this electronic mail. (They do this.) Their man was being a complete pecker, however I used to be hardly aggressive. However we will go there if want be. On this evening they even known as the cops, however sadly I used to be already gone. Settle the present earlier than you agree merch, then ghost these fools. And I did not refuse to allow them to rely merch. The rep insisted *I* rely it whereas watching over me as if I used to be his servant. I am like, ‘Naw dawg, Imma hit the bar…’ These bozos need us to HELP them with their shakedown, haha. Once more, inform them to GET FUCKED. Us versus them.”
Different Acts Beforehand Have Weighed In on the Merch Minimize Dialogue
Rosenstock’s posting is simply the newest in artists shining a lightweight on the rising points with venue merch cuts. Quite a lot of different acts have addressed this prior as nicely.
Final December, Dangerous Omens went about addressing venue merch cuts in a roundabout manner, A fan posted a photograph of a venue’s cocktail menu with drinks named after Dangerous Omens songs. It famous that the drinks price $18 with alcohol, or $8 with out it.
The band responded to the publish, noting, “That’s dope, artists nonetheless don’t get a lower from bar gross sales tho even when the venue provides cocktails cute little names after your songs, however nonetheless take 15-20% of touring artists’ gross merch gross sales each evening,” Dangerous Omens replied in a publish quoting the fan’s tweet. “‘Nowhere To Go’ punch does sound scrumptious although, tip your bartenders.”
“Simply to be clear — we don’t need a lower of your bar gross sales. We simply don’t wish to provide you with 20% of the merchandise we design, pay for, handle, arrange, carry and promote ourselves since you gave us 24 sq. ft of ground house in your venue we offered out,” the band wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Again in February, Architects raised concern over venue merch cuts. Drummer Dan Searle posed the idea on Twitter, suggesting, “Hey @bands when are we gonna go on strike and do away with these insane venue merch cuts? Or perhaps we don’t play till we get a lower of the bar? Can we simply get this achieved asap please?”
When one other fan requested, “How a lot does a band truly see from merch? I used to be at a gig the opposite week and spent £60 on two vinyl, how a lot of that might the band get?,” the drummer responded, “I imagine CDs and Vinyl are sometimes a smaller lower however we are inclined to promote these objects as cheaply as potential. On garments arenas usually cost 25% of gross + VAT + card charge + ‘enterprise charges’. They stroll with £10,000-£100,000 and we pay for printing, transport, designs and many others. small margins.”
In March, Monuments refused to promote merch at one present in protest of the venue taking an enormous lower of their merch gross sales.
On Instagram, Monuments released a statement explaining their determination to not promote any merch in Athens, citing the precise percentages the venue would take from them — 18 % gross concession plus an extra 24 % value-added tax (VAT).
Disheartened that the followers would in flip must pay the next quantity for merchandise to ensure that the band to not lose cash altogether, Monuments inspired anybody who desires to select one thing up to go surfing as a substitute and pursue items “for a a lot fairer worth.”
We is not going to be promoting merch at our present at Gagarin in Athens, Greece right this moment because of a 18% Gross Concession and 24% VAT.
We keep a top quality commonplace for our merch and wish to give that merch to you at honest costs – which we merely can’t do with venue merch cuts. It shouldn’t be on our followers to select up the invoice for venue cuts but additionally makes zero sense for us to lose cash.
If you want to proceed supporting what we do then please head over to our web site and seize some merch or tabs for a a lot fairer worth.
We thanks in your understanding
In Could of this 12 months, In Flames frontman Anders Friden additionally issued a name for solidarity amongst bands in a battle towards venue merch cuts. “I feel to start with it was a manner for golf equipment to say, ‘Okay, if now we have exhibits and never sufficient individuals are coming, now we have to take some cash out of the merch as a result of individuals are not ingesting sufficient so we’re not getting cash from the bar.’ However we all know that’s not true, as a result of individuals are nonetheless ingesting so much after they come to the exhibits,” the vocalist explains in a current interview with The Metal Circus (transcription through Blabbermouth), “So it is only a factor that simply caught there. And for bands which are counting on the merch gross sales, it is actually, actually robust.”
Fridén says years in the past he tried to begin this dialog in regards to the perceived unfairness of venues taking a good portion of merch gross sales (20 % or extra in quite a lot of instances), “however not sufficient bands have been saying ‘we agree’ or have been acknowledging the truth that it was an enormous downside. After which it type of disappeared.”
“Everybody has to react; it might probably’t be only a few bands that say one thing,” he urges. “I do not know what to do towards it,” he admits, persevering with,” It is an enormous price. I imply, we promote a good quantity of merch, and the cash that goes to another person, regardless that we promote it ourselves generally, it is loopy. It is insane. However it’s manner harder for smaller bands that reside from solely the merch; they must get the merch cash to pay gasoline to get to the subsequent venue or to pay to allow them to perhaps sleep in a motel or get some meals or no matter. After which somebody comes and simply takes 20 % out of their pocket for nothing. It is horrendous.”
These are only a few examples, with others acts sharing their ideas on venue merch cuts as nicely. As for Rosenstock, he’ll kick off his new tour on Sept. 6 in Washington, D.C. Dates and ticketing information might be discovered through his Bandcamp page.
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