Musicians’ Union Backs the FAC 100% Venues Campaign to Support Touring Musicians

Musicians union backs touring musicians campaign
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Musicians union backs touring musicians campaign
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Photo Credit: Joseph Pearson

The Musicians’ Union backs the FAC 100% Venues initiative to abolish commission fees on artist merchandise.

The Musicians’ Union (MU) has announced its support for the Featured Artists Coalition’s (FAC) 100% Venues initiative, which encourages venues to allow artists to sell merchandise without charging punitive commission fees. 

As touring becomes increasingly difficult for artists, merchandise income can mean the difference between a tour losing money or breaking even. The FAC’s work to highlight this issue aligns with the purposes of the MU’s Fair Play Venue database, which includes details of UK venues that have committed to engage artists in line with the Fair Play Guide.

The MU’s support comes following the extension of the 100% Venues campaign into North America in late 2022. Additionally, the issue of merchandise commission was raised in last month’s US Congressional hearing regarding the country’s live touring landscape.

“We’re delighted to show our support for the 100% Venues initiative, which is becoming a vital resource for musicians in the UK,” says Kelly Wood, National Organizer, Live, Theatre & Music Writers of the Musicians’ Union. “Touring remains a key part of many artists’ careers, and whilst it can help to grow fanbases and support releases, it can also prove very challenging from a financial perspective.”

“The UK has an incredible network of music venues, which are loved universally by artists and audiences. However, to protect the viability of future tours and careers, we need consistent and fair terms for performers,” Wood continues. 

“Artists rely on a combination of income streams when on tour, and any threats to these — such as unfair or unexpected commissions on merchandise — can have devastating effects. The growing number of venues that have signed up to the initiative so far sends a very strong and positive message to artists, and we hope that this leads to more pressure for other venues to improve their terms and get behind the campaign.”

“We are hugely grateful to receive support for 100% Venues from our friends at the Musicians’ Union,” says David Martin, Featured Artists Coalition CEO. 

“The MU and FAC’s members deliver the performances that the whole live music industry is built on, yet many are facing an almost impossible task to keep the show on the road. That is why the issue of merchandise commission has become so pronounced and why we will continue to fight for a fairer settlement for artists.”

The Musicians’ Union represents more than 32,000 musicians working in all sectors of the music industry and has campaigned on behalf of its members since its founding in 1893. The MU offers a range of services for self-employed professional and student musicians of all ages.