Cadence Weapon Launches #MyMerch Campaign to End Venue Merch Cuts

"Ending the practice of merch cuts would provide immediate relief for artists who are already struggling to stay afloat"

Photo: Jennifer Hyc

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 21, 2022

In collaboration with the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), Canadian rapper and all-around music industry sage Cadence Weapon has launched #MyMerch — the North American leg of the FAC's 100% Venues campaign, which seeks to create a public database of concert venues that charge zero commissions on artists' merchandise sales.

"Even though musicians pay for their merch to be manufactured, designed and shipped, some venues and festivals still take anywhere from 20-35 percent of artist merch sales," the artist born Rollie Pemberton wrote in his latest newsletter. "Selling merchandise is one of the primary sources of income for musicians, making merch cuts another damaging blow during a particularly challenging economic time for artists."

Pemberton is currently the Atkinson Foundation's Atkinson Artist. The foundation is carried forth in honour of its 1942 founding by former Toronto Star editor, publisher and owner Joseph E. Atkinson and his wife, Elmina Elliott, and fights for social and economic justice. Likewise, the rapper moves with a sense of responsibility to advocate for the working standards of fellow musicians and allied workers.

"Ending the practice of merch cuts would provide immediate relief for artists who are already struggling to stay afloat in the face of rising costs related to inflation and the pandemic," Pemberton continued. "We're urging American and Canadian music venues and festivals to take the pledge and add themselves to the list of over 400 venues in the UK who have already said no to taking merch cuts."

Venues can contribute to the #MyMerch campaign by adding their names to the list of over 400 performance spaces across the world that have committed to not charging musicians commission on merch sales. The campaign is also encouraging artists to share their #MyMerch stories, and fans to encourage their favourite venues to get on board.

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