Yard Act to run pop-up shop in Leeds as O2 Academy takes cut of merch

"We wanted to highlight the issue that certain venues are taking big cuts of income that is pretty necessary to keep artists on the road"

Yard Act have announced that they’ll be running a pop-up merch shop in Leeds tomorrow (November 24) to coincide with their show at the city’s O2 Academy.

The band will play the homecoming gig as part of their current sold-out UK headline tour, which kicked off in Glasgow last night (November 22).

Taking to Twitter today (November 23), Yard Act told fans that they’ll be selling off merchandise at Merrion Street bar The Social between 5pm and midnight.


Items will be approximately 25 per cent cheaper than at the venue “due to the Academy taking a 25% cut of all merch sold” on its premises.

“We decided to give people who will stuggle to get to the pop up the chance to buy some merch so there will be a range at the Academy,” the group wrote, “but wanted to highlight the issue that certain venues are taking big cuts of income that is pretty necessary to keep artists on the road.”

The pop-up is set to stock the group’s exclusive Leeds T-shirt, Leeds show posters as well as a bigger range of tees. “Plus we’ll be there from 6 til 7, having a pint if you want to say hi or get owt signed, and it will be running after the show,” Yard Act said.

Additionally, the band have dug out some old merch from bassist Ryan Needham’s former print studio. These items will be “pay-as-you-feel”, with proceeds going to West Yorkshire homeless charity Simon On The Streets.

Check out the tweets below.


Yard Act follow in the footsteps of The Big Moon in setting up their own merch store in response to some venues’ practise of taking a 25 per cent-plus VAT cut. More recently, Jack Antonoff urged venues to “stop taxing” merch sales, saying it’s “literally the only way you make money when you start out touring”.

Back in January, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) announced a new directory highlighting venues that charge zero commission on the sale of merchandise. It was revealed in August that over 400 live music spaces had signed up.

Speaking to NME over the summer, FAC CEO David Martin said there had been some encouraging progress, but that more work was required – especially to help rising artists get established after the hardships caused by Brexit and COVID.

The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess also voiced his support. “It’s a start,” he told NME, “and I’m glad that lots of venues are listening.”

Meanwhile, Yard Act are due to wrap up their current UK headline tour with a performance at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London next Thursday (December 1).