The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess and ex-New Order bassist, Peter Hook, have both taken to social media to draw attention to venues that take a huge cut of merch sales.
Last Thursday (December 9th), Burgess kicked the discussion off on Twitter. He said, “big respect to those venues that don’t take a percentage of a band’s merch sales”.
“This isn’t about The Charlatans,” he clarified. “It’s about those bands who need merch income to survive. Some places take 25%. A quarter of the full selling price. Vinyl doesn’t even have that mark up to begin with.”
Burgess also explained that the issue does not lie solely with the venues. He said “the whole system needs addressing”, and revealed that “often it’s a completely separate ‘concession’ company that the venue deals with as part of a contract. A kid who has never heard of the band sells our stuff, while our merch person steps aside for the night.”
Burgess also said that “lots of the venue managers and staff are unhappy about this too. They aren’t even aware of what happens to the money when it’s paid to the concession company.”
At the end of the thread, The Charlatans frontman tagged O2 and asked to know their thoughts on the matter. It wasn’t long before Joy Division and New Order legend Peter Hook got involved in the debate either. He’s been battling the charge for many years, and has called for a change.
Hook went as far as to accuse some venus of breaking the law, by not subtracting the VAT of the gross total before taking their cut, which would amount to theft.
Hook opined: “I think it goes without saying that if the commission came off the net profit rather than the gross, it would be much fairer. While obviously, bands get a fee for playing, the venue make a profit on the bar, the cloakroom and sometimes even the car park. Their faces when you ask for a cut of that is priceless.”
This is a developing story.
Listen to The Charlatans ‘The Only One I Know’ below.