Metalcore Band Bad Omens Fights Venues Over Merch Cuts

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Merch cuts that venues take from bands are a serious deal.

For those unaware, when a band plays a larger show (anything bigger than an independent club, though sometimes they will take one too), the venue will often take a cut out of how much the band made off of their merch from that night.

Typically bands will have to count out how many shirts they sold that night and report that to the venue, however some venues will have their own employees sell the band’s merch for the night. It’s another way musicians are losing out on money while trying to make a living with music.

You can imagine then, most bands are pretty pissed off at the arrangement. One group decided to speak up about it in a recent series of tweets: metalcore band Bad Omens.

Things kicked off after a fan tweeted that a venue named a drink after one of the band’s songs. They then fired back:

“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. Nowhere To Go punch does sound delicious though, tip your bartenders.”

They then go on to further say:

“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 24sq ft of floor space in your venue we sold out.”

Some will argue that the venue does work in setting up for the band, promoting the event etc. You could also make an argument the other way that bands are the ones bringing people to the venue, therefore providing every venue with food and beverage sales.

Stray From The Path drummer Craig Reynolds also tweeted about venue merch cuts, writing:

“in the next step of musical marxism we shall critique the booking agents who use merch % deals to secure a bigger show guarantee which they know they will get a cut of without the merch rate affecting them.”

To which Bad Omens quote tweeted in reply:

“When you pay more in merch % than your guarantee = play for free”

There are a lot of factors at play for sure, but it’s kind of hard to not be on the bands’ side on this one. Bands aren’t making a ton of money and any stream of income is crucial.

See Bad Omens’ tour dates here and maybe buy a t-shirt if you’re inclined.

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