New Trend? Another Metal Artist (Igorrr) Refuses to Sell Merch at Show to Protest Venue Cuts
Experimental/avant-garde metal act Igorrr refused to sell merchandise at a show at London's O2 Forum in Kentish Town in protest of the venue's requirement that they take a 25 percent cut of those sales.
It's a move that could be part of what will be a wider trend as artists continue to navigate an increasingly difficult touring climate. It's one fraught with rising costs (fuel, food, lodging, tour buses, etc.) and large sums of money being swiped by the venue in exchange for a bands' privilege of occupying a small area of the floor in order to set up a merch stand and do business.
Earlier this month, after Architects flat out suggested bands go on strike to protest venue merch cuts, prog metal group Monuments elected to not put anything up for sale at their show in Athens, Greece. They would've had to fork over 18 percent under a Gross Concession fee and another 24 percent in VAT (value added tax). Instead, they encouraged fans to purchase something official online.
READ MORE: Monuments Refuse to Sell Merch at Show In Protest of Venue Taking a Huge Cut of Sales
Similarly, Igorrr declined to sell merch in London, saddled with having to give up 25 percent of the would-be sales.
"We could have [raised] the prices of our T-shirts and hoodies, but it doesn't seem fair to us to have our U.K. fans paying more than they should, especially because the venue is asking for a spectacular percentage for no particular reason," the group writes on Instagram (see the full statement below).
Igorrr also reveals they sought a resolution with the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, but no deal could be reached. "We tried to negotiate with them, but they are not interested in helping us at all," the band adds, directing fans who wish to buy merch to do so at the Igorrr website, noting new designs will be available after the tour's conclusion.
We'd like to inform you that we won't be selling merch at our London show tonight:
The venue @o2forumktown is asking for a 25% cut on our merch sales.
We could have raise-up the prices of our t-shirts and hoodies, but it doesn't seem fair to us to have our UK fans paying more than they should, especially because the venue is asking for a spectacular percentage for no particular reason. We tried to negotiate with them, but they are not interested in helping us at all. For those of you who would like to purchase some merchandise online, our webshop will be updated with new designs after the tour.
You can check our website www.igorrr.com for more infos. Thanks for your support
This news caught the attention of Gary Holt, who commented on Metal Injection's Instagram post that Exodus, too, are feeling the strain of these business practices.
He says this will "never stop until all bands of the mid-club size say. 'We will not play your venues anymore."
"Drive them under," he urges, "Out of business."
Despite this desire, Holt is aware how unlikely this al is, continuing, "But as the venues are all being bought by the same folks who sell the tickets and charge us in the first place, it’ll never change."
Citing a recent gig where Exodus lost money on the night, he adds, "The Fox Theater in Oakland shook us upside down last time we played there for our entire guarantee PLUS. We paid to play in the end."
As difficult as it is for touring artists, now, fans are also reeling as ticket prices have skyrocketed since the return of live music in the wake of the pandemic. While Live Nation's revenue tripled from 2021 to 2022, fans have increasingly directed their ire at the ticketing company, which also owns and operates a significant share of venues.
With President Biden placing special attention on cracking down on "junk fees" for concert tickets and more, Ticketmaster unveiled a new plan to educate policymakers and the public on what those fees they're incurring are.