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Monuments Refuse To Sell Merch At Athens Show In Protest Of The Venue’s Merch Cut


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Monuments have decided to take a stand against merch cuts amid their ongoing European/UK tour. Earlier this week the group publicly decried the merch cut put in place at their show in Milan, Italy. For those not well-versed in the touring industry, a merch cut is a relatively standard arrangement.

It often contractually entitles a venue hosting a concert or event to take an agreed upon % of all merch sales sold within the venue, or on its grounds, during the concert. Over the years, a 20% rate would for many bands begrudgingly go on to become the industry standard.

However, given the current shape the economy is in, that number has been seen to fluctuate lately. After playing the Fabrique in Milan, Italy this past Monday, February 27th, Monuments publicly vented on the cuts they were forced to pay. That rate included a 25% merch cut, along with the regional value-added tax of 22%.

Speaking earlier today, March 02d, Monuments revealed that they opted out of selling merch at tonight’s show at Gagarin 205 in Athens, Greece in protest of the merch cut and associated fees imposed. Per the band, they would subject to an 18% gross concession fee (merch cut) and the current standard value-added tax in place in Athens of 24%.

The band commented of that:

“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

M”

Of course, with merch sales being the lifeblood of the majority of touring artists these days, the decision to not sell anything at the show will certainly impact the band’s bottomline.

The general increase of merch cuts amid the current economic inflation and energy crisis has not sat well with many artists. This has all been compounded by the years of lost income the live industry faced amid the pandemic.

Side effects from that include general shortage of touring professionals (many moved on to different careers during lockdown) and a growing lack of suitable touring transportation driving up touring costs, it would seem some the touring industry is headed for a boiling point.

Given the above, and the fact that many artists have already been squeezed out of income from their music amid the streaming era, breaking even on the road—let alone as a band—has become increasingly difficult. Dan Searle, drummer for UK outfit Architects, recently floated the idea that artists collectively go on strike to protest merch cuts.

It’s a suggestion that several other bands have shown interest in. Stick To Your Guns vocalist/guitarist Jesse Barnett instead urged caution with such an idea, proposing that interested artists first organize so they can collectively wield more bargaining power should it ever come to pass. He waded into the matter last month, offering:

The above musicians are not the only ones to be vocal against merch cuts in recent months. Bad Omens & Devin Townsend shared their own thoughts on the matter. Members of Fear Factory and Dark Funeral also railed against the practice amid rising costs in touring. Alpha Wolf vocalist Lochie Keogh has also slammed venues for taking merch cuts.

Monuments are currently out on the road with Leprous and Kalandra on the following European trek:

03/02 Athens, GRE – Gagarin
03/03 Sofia, BUL – Joy Station
03/04 Bucharest, ROM – Arenele Romane
03/05 Budapest, HUN – Barba Negra
03/06 Munich, GER – Backstage
03/07 Bratislava, SLO – Majestic
03/08 Prague, CZE – Palac Akropolis
03/09 Reutlingen, GER – Franz K
03/10 Berlin, GER – Astra
03/11 Wroclaw, POL – A2
03/13 Helsinki, FIN – Vanha Ylioppilastalo
03/14 Joensuu, FIN – Kerubi
03/17 Stockholm, SWE – Fryshuset Klubben
03/18 Oslo, NOR – Sentrum Scene

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