Monuments Refuse to Sell Merch at a Show in Protest of Venue Taking a Huge Cut of Sales
After having to hand over 47 percent of their merchandise sales to the venue at a show in Italy, prog metal band Monuments elected not to sell merch at all a few nights later in Athens, Greece once they saw the percentage they would again have to lose out on.
It has been a standard practice for years for venues to take a percentage of the money a touring band makes at their merch stand. The venue sacrifices some of its floor space to allow artists to sell T-shirts, hoodies, vinyl, patches, etc. and, in exchange for this privilege, the artist must surrender a cut of those sales.
Typically, that number has hovered around 20 percent, but that figure has ballooned recently and, in tandem with inflation and other economic factors driving up the cost of touring (thus reducing a band's ability to profit), life on the road has been quite difficult for artists, whether they're playing small clubs all the way up to arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums.
It's something numerous artists have called out as unsavory in recent months with Architects even floating the idea of bands uniting to strike, meaning no touring until venues agree to take a smaller cut. It's an extreme idea, for sure, but one that is indicative of just how dire the situation is.
READ MORE: Architects Suggest Bands Strike Over 'Insane' Venue Merch Cuts
On Instagram, Monuments released a statement explaining their decision to not sell any merch in Athens, citing the exact percentages the venue would take from them — 18 percent gross concession plus an additional 24 percent value-added tax (VAT).
Disheartened that the fans would in turn have to pay a higher amount for merchandise in order for the band to not lose money altogether, Monuments encouraged anyone who wants to pick something up to go online instead and pursue goods "for a much fairer price."
We will not be selling merch at our show at Gagarin in Athens, Greece today due to a 18% Gross Concession and 24% VAT.
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 then please head over to our website and grab some merch or tabs for a much fairer price.
We thank you for your understanding
Earlier in the week, the band, who released their latest album Stasis last year, shared a photo of a portion of a spreadsheet that laid out the monetary figures, from what Monuments earned to how much of that total was kicked over to the venue. The total was nearly half of their gross sales.
Bands aren't the only ones griping about merchandise at shows either.
Recently, a Gojira fan who attended a U.K. show was miffed about the band's merch prices, which stirred more chatter online. The prices, however, weren't atypical and Metal Injection also touched on how fans are misinformed about the issue and, therefore, creating an unnecessary distraction.