Bad Omens Are Latest Band to Call Out Venues for Taking Cut of Merch Sales
A lot of musicians have been taking a stand against concert venues lately for taking a cut of bands' merchandise sales, and now, Bad Omens are the latest to make a statement regarding the matter.
A fan posted a photo of a specialty cocktail menu at a venue bar, and all of the drinks were named after Bad Omens' songs — "Limits," "Like a Villain" and "Nowhere to Go." "Y'all wild, cheers," the fan wrote as the caption of the photo, which also showed that the drinks cost $18 with alcohol, or $8 without it.
"That’s dope, artists still don’t get a cut from bar sales tho even if the venue gives cocktails cute little names after your songs, but still take 15-20% of touring artists’ gross merch sales every night," Bad Omens replied in a post quoting the fan's tweet. "'Nowhere To Go' punch does sound delicious though, tip your bartenders."
"Just to be clear — we don’t want a cut of your bar sales. We just don’t want to give you 20% of the merchandise we design, pay for, manage, set up, carry and sell ourselves because you gave us 24 square feet of floor space in your venue we sold out," the band wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Later, the rockers quoted another tweet about booking agents and show guarantees, and wrote, "When you pay more in merch % than your guarantee = play for free."
This is obviously an increasingly frustrating situation for many younger bands, who make the majority of their living from touring and album sales nowadays, as streaming services have such low payouts. In August, Australian metalcore band Alpha Wolf brought the matter to light during one of their shows when frontman Lochie Keogh told the audience that "dirty venues" take a percentage of the band's merch sales.
According to NME, over 400 U.K.-based music venues joined the Featured Artists Coalition's campaign to not take cuts of artists' merch this year.
“The discussion regarding punitive fees on merchandise sales is now very much a public one, with fans increasingly voicing their displeasure at such practices. The FAC will continue to advocate for a fairer approach and a more equitable system that allows artists to develop and grow," FAC CEO David Martin said.