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Russian CirclesWilliam Lacalmontie

Russian Circles Refuse To Sell Merch At Show In Paris, France In Protest Of The Venue’s Merch Cut


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Post-metal trio Russian Circles are the latest band to publicly take a stand against merch cuts. The band announced via their social media that they would not be selling Merch at tonight’s (March 22nd) show at L’Olympia in Paris, France. According to the band, the venue had stipulated that they would have their own person selling the band’s merch, and that a 25% merch cut commission would be enforced on top of the regional 20% VAT tax.

The band’s statement on the matter reads as follows:

“AS YOU ARE PROBABLY AWARE, MERCH SALES ARE VITAL TO KEEPING ARTISTS FINANCIALLY AFLOAT WHILE ON TOUR. VENUES OFTEN TAKE A PERCENTAGE OF MERCH REVENUE FROM ARTISTS, AND THEIR RATES HAVE GOTTEN HIGHER IN RECENT YEARS.

AT TONIGHT’S SHOW IN PARIS, THE VENUE HAS ENLISTED AN OUTSIDE COMPANY TO SELL ARTISTS’ MERCH. THIS COMPANY TAKES A 25% COMMISSION AND WITHHOLDS A 20% VAT TAX.

OUR OPTIONS APPEAR TO BE EITHER RAISING OUR PRICES OR LOSING MONEY, SO WE’VE OPTED TO NOT SELL MERCH TONIGHT. WE APOLOGIZE TO OUR FRIENDS AND FANS IN PARIS WHO WERE HOPING TO GRAB A SHIRT OR LP AT THE SHOW, BUT WE DON’T WANT TO PARTAKE IN THIS ARRANGEMENT WITH THIS COMPANY.

IF YOU WANT OUR MERCH, IT IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE AT EVIL GREED.
THANK YOU.”

While never a popular practice among the artist side of the touring industry, the merch cut has remained in place for decades at this point in select regions. Generally, it is a contractually agreed upon stipulation that a venue will be entitled to a certain percentage of the income generated from all sales of merch made by an artist during a concert played at said venue.

While that commission has ballooned to 20%, the pandemic years have seen it reach as much as 25% or even higher. With inflation already crippling tour budgets, along with a lack of transportation and touring personnel, these increased cuts have seen many artists rise up in recent months. You can read more about the various others to take a stance against merch cuts here.

Russian Circles‘ European tour with Cult Of Luna and Svalbard will continue as follows:

03/22 Paris, FRA – L’Olympia
03/23 Stuttgart, GER – Wizemann
03/24 Lausanne, SWI – Les Docks
03/25 Ljubljana, SLO – Kino Siska
03/27 Vienna, AUT – Arena
03/28 Munich, GER – Muffathalle
03/29 Prague, CZE – Roxy
03/30 Krakow, POL – Studio
03/31 Warsaw, POL – Progresja

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