Jeff Rosenstock Exposes Merch Cuts Taken at Venues

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Jeff Rosenstock has broken down the exorbitant merch cuts being taken by some venues on his upcoming North American tour to explain why he’ll have to charge more at certain dates and critique the corporations that control the touring industry.

“Here are the merch cuts being taken by the venues on this upcoming tour,” Rosenstock wrote in the caption of an Instagram post with the breakdown. “This is going to cause us to sell our merch for higher prices than we’d like to at certain venues. We think that sucks.”

Rosenstock specifically targeted “big corporations” like AEG and Live Nation, who bought up “many of the types of venues that we play” during the pandemic. “Dodging these super high cuts is nearly impossible,” he explained.

“If you work in a creative field you’re supposed to feel lucky and happy enough to be there to get raked over the coals by millionaires and billionaires who will give you as small [a] slice of the pie as they can to perpetually show growth in profits,” Rosenstock lamented.

Some of the worst offenders on Rosenstock’s tour include New York City’s Terminal 5, DC’s 9:30 Club, Boston’s Roadrunner, Atlanta’s The Masquerade, and Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall — all of which take at least a 20% cut from soft goods like clothing, with some taking an additional cut or tax on items like music products. See Rosenstock’s Instagram post below.

In response, producer Steve Albini claimed merch cuts are “100% negotiable, to the extent that my bands over 40+ years have never, not once, ever paid them” and said artists have to push back against their agents. Meanwhile, fellow musicians including Car Seat Headrest, Helado Negro, Caracara, Sweet Pill, and equipment all chimed in with their own experiences dealing with merch cuts.

“a majority of the money we earn from touring is from merch, which we then have to pay back to a lot of venues. the music industry is broken, thanks for sharing jeff,” tweeted Sweet Pill.

Rosenstock’s tour comes in support of his new album, HELLMODE. It kicks off on Wednesday, September 6th in DC and runs through December. Grab your tickets here.

Jeff Rosenstock Exposes Merch Cuts Taken at Venues
Eddie Fu

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