Earlier this month, Jeff Rosenstock called out AEG and Live Nation-owned music venues for taking up to a 25% cut of the merchandise he sells at his concerts. Following the pandemic, he said the companies “bought so many of the types of venues that we play, that dodging these super high cuts is nearly impossible.” Since Rosenstock spoke up, artists such as Tomberlin shared how the practice hurts their bottom line and requires them to raise merch prices in order to make a profit.
Today (Sept. 26), Live Nation announced a major change to its policy, which for now will only be applied in 77 of its club and theater venues. In a new partnership with Willie Nelson dubbed On the Road Again, the concert promoter announced it will no longer take a percentage of artist merch sales and will also provide both headliners and opening acts a $1,500 travel stipend per show to offset the ever-growing costs of touring.
“Touring is important to artists so whatever we can do to help other artists, I think we should do it,” Nelson said in a statement. “This program will impact thousands of artists this year and help make touring a little bit easier.”
“Delivering for live artists is always our core mission,” Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement of his own. “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.”
See the full list of participating venues here.