"It shouldn’t be on our fans to pick up the bill for venue cuts but also makes zero sense for us to lose money."
British progressive metal band MONUMENTS took to social media last week to explain to their European fans why they wouldn't be selling merch at their show in Greece.
"We will not be selling merch at our show at Gagarin in Athens, Greece today due to a 18% Gross Concession and 24% VAT," The band explained.
"We maintain a high quality standard for our merch and want to give that merch to you at fair prices - which we simply cannot do with venue merch cuts. It shouldn’t be on our fans to pick up the bill for venue cuts but also makes zero sense for us to lose money.
"If you would like to continue supporting what we do, please head over to our website and grab some merch or tabs for a much fairer price.
"We thank you for your understanding"
Never miss a story! Subscribe to our newsletter
The band then linked to their website, where fans can purchase merch without the interference of venues.
Later, MONUMENTS shared an example of merch taxes and venue cuts, saying, "Fans, A taste of what merch cut fees at venues looks like. 47% today in Milan, Italy," with an attached image of their most recent invoice, with MONUMENTS losing almost half of their sales profit.
MONUMENTS have joined a slew of bands who are currently complaining about venue merch cuts and how unsustainable it is for touring artists when so much of their profit is tied to merch.
Recently, metalcore outfit Architects took to Twitter to insist that bands "protest" against venues that have a policy of gaining merch cuts from artists' sales.
Drummer Dan Searle wrote, "Hey @bands when are we gonna go on strike and get rid of these insane venue merch cuts? Or maybe we don’t play until we get a cut of the bar? Can we just get this done asap please?"
The band's vocalist, Sam Carter, shared the post and claimed, "Venue in Melbourne [Festival Hall] took 15% and it took four hours for them to get our merch girl a light," accompanied by a thumbs-up emoji.
Clearly, this seems to be an issue all over the globe, but luckily, some venues are standing with artists and refusing to take a cut.
The Croxton Bandroom in Melbourne was one of the first to protest, taking to Instagram, saying, “Most large music venues take 10-20% commission on an artist’s gross merch sales. We don’t.
“When music streaming took over, most artists stopped making a living wage from record sales. Live performance income and merch sales are, for most artists, the only real, sustainable income streams that exist - and those income streams are under pressure from rapidly escalating touring costs and increasingly predatory practices in the live music space, like venue merch cuts.”
The venue added, “The artist is not getting a cut of the bar sales. They are paying venue hire fees to use the venue. We think that’s enough. We don’t pay for the t-shirts to get printed. We don’t pay for the merch sellers, or the point of sale system. We supply a table, a light and some coat hangers, so that an artist’s fans can show their support and the artist can make enough money to get by.”
“We’re proud of this and we wanted you to know.”