Tim Burgess and Peter Hook criticise venues that take a cut of merch sales

“Maybe bands need to ask for a percentage of the bar take”

The CharlatansTim Burgess and former New Order member Peter Hook have spoken out about venues that take an unfair cut of merch sales, with Burgess saying “​​the whole system needs addressing”.

On Thursday (December 9), Burgess took to Twitter to pay “big respect to those venues that don’t take a percentage of a band’s merch sales”.

“This isn’t about The Charlatans,” he explained. “It’s about those bands who need merch income to survive. Some places take 25%. A quarter of the full selling price. Vinyl doesn’t even have that mark up to begin with.”


Burgess went on to say that the blame doesn’t solely lie with the venues. “Often it’s a completely separate ‘concession’ company that the venue deals with as part of a contract. A kid who has never heard of the band sells our stuff, while our merch person steps aside for the night.”

“The whole system needs addressing,” he wrote.

He went on to say that “lots of the venue managers and staff are unhappy about this too. They aren’t even aware of what happens to the money when it’s paid to the concession company.”

Burgess then tagged O2 and asked if they were aware of the setup. “Their name is attached to many of the venues that do this. It’d be great to know their thoughts on it,” and suggested “maybe bands need to ask for a percentage of the bar take”.


Peter Hook then shared his thoughts on venues charging a commission on sales of band merchandise. “I have been battling this for many years now and fully support a change to this practise,” he started.

He went on to say that venues charging 25% commission on the gross of anything sold makes having merchandise for most bands “a total vanity project”.

He then accused some venues of breaking the law, by not taking the VAT off the gross, before they take their cut.

“I think it goes without saying that if the commission came off the net profit rather than the gross, it would be much fairer. While obviously bands get a fee for playing, the venue make a profit on the bar, the cloakroom and sometimes even the car park. Their faces when you ask for a cut of that is priceless.”

Peter Hook And The Light have announced new shows playing both of Joy Division‘s two albums in full.

The band, who have been performing material from Hook’s old bands Joy Division and New Order since they formed in 2010, will play both ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’ as part of their ‘Joy Division: A Celebration Tour’ next April.

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