CADENCE WEAPON TEAMS UP WITH THE FEATURED ARTISTS COALITION (FAC), UNION OF MUSICIANS AND ALLIED WORKERS (UMAW) TO LAUNCH THE NORTH AMERICAN LEG OF THE 100% VENUES CAMPAIGN, #MYMERCH
400+ VENUES COMMITTED TO NOT TAKING A MERCH CUT, ALLOWING ARISTS TO MAXIMIZE EARNINGS ON ONE OF THE FEW LUCRATIVE ASPECTS OF TOURING
TORONTO, ON – November 21, 2022 – Today, 2021 Polaris Music Prize winner, Edmonton-born, Toronto-based rapper, producer, writer, poet and activist, Cadence Weapon (Rollie Pemberton), announces that he has teamed up with The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), to launch the North American leg of the 100% Venues campaign, #MyMerch. The initiative calls on North American music venues and festivals to join the #MyMerch campaign and sign on to end the practice of taking merch cuts. Join the #MyMerch venue database here and tell your artist merch cut story here.
“Touring bands have been pushed to the edge by rising costs related to the pandemic and inflation," Cadence adds. "Venues and festivals could provide us with immediate relief by stopping the practice of taking merch cuts from artists.”
What is a merch cut?
A merch cut is when a venue or festival takes a percentage of the artist's merch sales. Though artists bear the financial burden of designing,manufacturing, and shipping their merch, some venues and festivals choose to exploit artists by taking a merch cut. The percentage number has been steadily rising, with some venues now taking up to 20-35% of artist merch sales. Artists often learn about merch cuts after they agree to play at the venue, so they are unable to refuse. This lack of transparency traps artists into unfair financial agreements with venues.
Touring in 2022 has been brutal for musicians – the financial risks of COVID-19 and heightened costs from inflation have made touring an uphill battle just to break even. To add insult to injury, many venues and festivals require merch cuts. A merch cut is when a venue or festival takes anywhere from 15% to 35% of the artist’s merch sales. This is an exploitative practice that interferes with one of the few ways fans can directly support artists in this challenging economic climate, and it must stop.
Artists carry the financial burden of designing, producing, and shipping merch, and selling merch is one of the few ways artists can earn money on tour. It’s time for North American performance spaces to join the 400+ UK venues that have already committed to not taking a merch cut, and be part of a growing effort to transform the music industry for the better.
Venues and festivals: sign up to be part of the 100% Venues campaign and take a stand against merch cuts!
DOWNLOAD – #MyMerch Campaign Images
About Cadence Weapon
Cadence Weapon is the Edmonton-born, Toronto-based rapper, producer, writer, poet, and activist Rollie Pemberton. Throughout his work, the multidisciplinary artist aims to preserve and resurrect Black cultural memory by forging connections between personal, local, and collective histories. Pemberton received the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his fifth and latest album, Parallel World, an incisive project that uncovers the splintering realities both created and hidden by modern systems of inequality, atop blistering production that draws from UK grime, trap, and acid house.
Raised by a pioneering New York radio DJ father and piano playing mother, Pemberton started rapping at age 13. He cut his teeth performing live with his uncle’s funk band as a teen, but as one of the only rappers in Edmonton, he found endless outlets for his creativity on the internet, where there were no limits on discovering music. Pemberton thrived online finding samples, remixing songs, and battling rap strangers on message boards. As a university student, Pemberton penned alternative hip-hop reviews while crafting his debut album, 2005’s Breaking Kayfabe, the first of five albums that have been nominated for the Polaris Prize.
Cadence is an active advocate in many communities; both in the arts and in the cities he calls home. Cadence also launched his debut memoir, Bedroom Rapper (May 31, McClelland & Stewart). For more writing and observations, check out his Substack newsletter.
About MNRK Music Group
MNRK Music Group is one of the largest independent music companies in the world, with recording, music publishing, and management divisions operating in every major music market. MNRK is committed to discovering and guiding top music creators and artists and works with some of the greatest musical talent including The Lumineers and Pitbull, the music publishing catalog of Chuck Berry, plus premier music companies Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang. The company’s music department services Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producers. Its catalog across divisions consists of 54,000 music tracks, including multiple GRAMMY winners and platinum-selling hits. To learn more visit mnrk.com.