Live Nation

Live Nation To Offer $1500 Gas/Travel Stipends & Drop Merch Cuts At Their Club Venues For ‘Developing Artists’ Via ‘On The Road Again’ Program (Updated)


Live Nation have announced the instatement of a new program dubbed ‘On The Road Again‘. Created with input from country legend Willie Nelson, the initiative intends to help out ‘developing artists’ with a $1,500 stipend for gas and travel per show at Live Nation-owned venues. Additionally, merch cuts are also set to be revoked by the Live Nation owned venues.

This program is expected to run through to the end of the year, with Live Nation issuing the following bullet points on the matter:

  • Supporting Developing Artists: All of Live Nation’s clubs are investing in developing artists by providing $1,500 in gas and travel cash per show to all headliners and support acts, on top of nightly performance compensation. Additionally, these clubs will charge no merchandise selling fees, so artists keep 100% of merch profits. Touring is a crucial part of an artist’s livelihood, and we understand travel costs take one of the biggest bites out of artists’ nightly profits. By helping with these core expenses, we aim to make it easier for artists on the road so they can keep performing to their fans in more cities across the country.
  • Thanking our Behind-The-Scenes Heroes: Live Nation also wants to recognize all the unsung heroes working behind the scenes night after night to help make these shows happen, with more grind and less glory than most of the business. On The Road Again is providing financial bonuses to local promoters that help execute at shows, tour reps that live life on a bus, as well as venue crew members that have worked over 500 hours in 2023.
  • Lending A Hand to Crew Across the Industry: On the Road Again is donating $5 million to Crew Nation to support crew across the industry facing unforeseen hardship.

Live Nation Entertainment President & CEO Michael Rapino commented:

“Delivering for live artists is always our core mission. The live music industry is continuing to grow and as it does, we want to do everything we can to support artists at all levels on their touring journey especially the developing artists in clubs. Like Willie says, this is all about making it a little easier for thousands of artists to continue doing what they love: going out and playing for their fans.”

A list of participating venues in the program can be found via The practice of merch cuts has never been popular among artists, but amid the current economic challenges the touring industry has faced in the post-pandemic world, it has become a hot button issue.

If you’re unaware, the practice amounts to a % of all profits of merchandise being sold by a band at a venue they are playing being paid out to the venue after the show. There’s also various stipulations that can be attached, including having venue staff sell the artists merch and more.

Industry standards generally see the cut around 20% or under of the merch sales, but some venues have been known to charge more. As you can imagine, the practice remains widely unpopular among artists.

Update: September 26th, 2023 11:59am:

Mike Ziemer, founder of Third String Productions, the ‘So What?! Music Festival“, and a managing partner of the annual ‘Furnace Fest‘, has offered his own take on the program. He appears to feel it is predation under the guise of good will. He commented via social media:

“Live Nation just officially launched a campaign to knock out all their independent competitors under the guise of helping and supporting the smaller touring industry.

It’s wild how the music industry just continues to forget about independent venues and promoters despite the massive rallying call during Covid and post-Covid to “save our stages” and support the little guy.

While I’m sure there are some people at LN who truly believe what they’re doing is going to help develop and grow young artists, the people at the top know exactly what they’re doing, they’re creating a monopolistic playing field that no one else can compete on.

Interested to see how this plays out and if it really even changes anything in our small part of the touring world.

I would like to believe that loyalty still exists with certain managers, agents, and bands. Especially those that book with us for placement on our festivals.”

Update: September 27th, 2023 11:59am:

Fit For A King were among the first artists to receive the benefits of the On The Road Again program. The band’s vocalist Ryan Kirby spoke of how the payments were handed out for their show last night (September 26th) at the participating venue: the Roxian Theatre in McKees Rock, PA.

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