Hundreds more UK venues agree to take 0% on merch sales


Back in January, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) launched a ‘100% Venues’ directory that listed venues that do not charge any commission at all on merch sales at gigs. It followed a conversation open social media, supported by musicians Tim Burgess and Peter Hook, around the (sometimes significant) cut that some venues take from merch sales made at shows. At a time when performers are returning to touring after seeing their live income drop to nothing during lockdown, the practice of venues taking commission surprised many fans.

Six months later, and 400 venues have signed up to the directory, pledging to let artists keep 100% of merch sales, including famed UK venues the Barbican Centre in London and Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff. Burgess suggested to the NME that fan power helped encourage venues to sign up: “So many said that they bought merch as a way of supporting the band and thinking it helped with costs of being on the road. It was a wake-up call.”

FAC CEO David Martin celebrated the number of venues that had signed up, but said there was still work to do: “in terms of the percentage of venues [taking commission] or what percentage of bands that pushes into a loss while on tour – we don’t have a figure for that.” He also wants more, bigger venues to sign up. The AEG group, The O2 and the Academy Group of venues are not currently part of the directory.

Written by: Stuart Dredge