The Big Moon call out venue for taking cuts of merch sales and announce alternative pop-up store

The band won't be selling merch at the Kentish Town Forum tonight

The Big Moon have announced that they will not be selling merch at their London gig at the O2 Kentish Town Forum tonight (September 28), and will instead host a pop-up store at a nearby pub.

In a Twitter thread, the band called out the venue’s practise of taking a cut of 25 per cent plus VAT on each sale. “This is basically all of our profit on merch,” they said.

“This leaves us with the choice of either not making any profit, or increasing prices and charging you guys more – neither feels fair.”

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To circumvent this, the band will be selling merchandise at The Abbey Tavern on Kentish Town Road before and after the gig.

“Merch is one of the few ways we keep ourselves afloat at this level when touring profits are still minimal!” the thread continued. “So please come down to the Abbey tavern for a pre-show bev and a peruse of our merch from 6, or head down there after the show!! Thank you so much for your support x.”

The Big Moon also thanked London band Dry Cleaning for “opening this up as a possibility.” Dry Cleaning took an identical approach for the sale of merchandise at their own Kentish Town forum show earlier this year.

This year has seen large-scale campaigns against the practise of venues taking a cut of merchandise sales.

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Back in January, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) announced a new directory highlighting music venues that charge zero commission on the sale of merchandise. The ‘100% Venues’ database aimed to address the “outdated and unfair” practice of performance spaces taking a cut of acts’ merch proceeds at gigs.

Over 400 venues across Britain have since signed up to the directory, including iconic venues such as the Barbican Centre in London, Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff.

Speaking to NME in August, however, FAC CEO David Martin agreed that progress was encouraging, but that more work was required – especially to help rising artists get established after the hardships caused by Brexit and the COVID pandemic.

He said: “We’re seeing now that fans are finding out that this happens, and they hate it. It really annoys them that the money that they’re spending isn’t going to the artist as they thought.”

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