It was January 2022 when the Featured Artists Coalition launched its ‘100% Venues’ campaign, urging venues to stop taking cuts of up to 25% of artists’ merchandise sold at concerts.
Now the campaign is stepping up another gear, with an open letter setting out four principles that FAC would like venues to agree to.
First, that support acts must never be subject to commission charges on merch sales. Second, that artists should be able to staff and run the merch operations at their own shows.
Third, rates must be agreed in advance rather than sprung on artists when they get to a venue. And fourth, “every show must be open to negotiation on merchandise commissions”.
“Ironically, it is when artists step up to play bigger venues, and the moment their costs and opportunities increase, that the most crippling fees kick in,” said FAC CEO David Martin.
“Ironically, it is when artists step up to play bigger venues, and the moment their costs and opportunities increase, that the most crippling fees kick in. In many instances, venues have sold on or outsourced their merchandising rights to a third-party – meaning that fees appear ‘baked in’ to hire costs, with little room for negotiation.”
“It is these outdated contractual terms that we now intend to address, but, if every UK venue implemented the four pragmatic principles outlined in today’s open letter it would mark a significant step forward,” he added.
Alongside the open letter, FAC has launched a petition on Change·org this morning to drum up more support for the campaign.