Hundreds of venues have signed up to a campaign agreeing to not take a cut of artists’ merchandise sales.
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) originally announced a new directory in January that highlighted music venues charging zero commission on the sale of merchandise.
The FAC has now told NME that over 400 venues have signed up to the database, but are still waiting for some of the UK’s largest venues and arenas to make the jump.
Tim Burgess, who is a member of band The Charlatans, is a supporter of the campaign, and earlier this year found out that Nottingham’s Rock City venue had waived its cut of the band’s merchandise sales.
Burgess discussed the practice of venues taking money from merchandise sales, and told NME: “It’s something that’s been around for years – but when we spoke up to our manager and label, they’d just say ‘That’s the way it is’.
“Back in 1990 you could sell 100,000 copies of a single on vinyl, so merch was important but not half as much as it is now. Streaming means new bands don’t have record sales to keep them going.”
He added: “Not all venues take commission, and it’s as important to highlight the ones that don’t as much the ones that do. We have to look at individual venues. We recently played at Aberdeen Music Hall, which is run as a charitable trust, so the money goes towards a fantastic resource for their city. They were happy to waive the commission for the support band, which is something to be applauded too.
“One of the issues brought about by not all venues being the same is that bands then have to have a merch person with them. At the shows where an outsourced merch company sells our t-shirts, all the stock has to be counted, signed over and counted back – just unnecessary extra work. Then they take 25 per cent plus VAT.”
While not yet part of the directory, a spokesperson for The O2 told NME that the venue was involved in ongoing discussions with the FAC. AEG Europe also confirmed that it was in communication with the group.