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KHEMMIS Calls Upon Bigger Artists To Protest Against "Corporate Venues Stealing From Artists"

"Unless the big names with real industry power give the middle finger to corporate venues stealing from artists, nothing will change."

Khemmis 2021
photo by Jason Sinn

Igorrr recently refused to sell merch during a show at London's O2 Forum Kentish Town thanks to a 25% merch cut, which Stray From The Path drummer Craig Reynolds explained in detail why that's a problem. Khemmis has since responded to Reynolds, saying the situation with corporate venues isn't that much different in the United States and that something obviously must be done.

In their series of tweets, Khemmis touched on why it's not as easy as simply selling your merchandise down the block from the venue, why refusing to play shows isn't the solution, and calls upon bigger artists to use their weight to do something about the situation.

"This feels all too familiar here in the states as well," said Khemmis on their Twitter. "Venues owned/operated by a certain corporate entity do this same nonsense & it SUCKS. Selling 1/2 (or less) of your usual amt b/c the mandatory in-house seller has no reason to hustle + massive cut = shit situation

"And before the chorus of 'well your agent/team agreed to this,' please know that support bands on these tours have no leverage. None. Don't like these deals? Kiss bigger touring opportunities goodbye. Openers have to eat shit and smile the whole time.

"'Sell your merch out of your van.' That sounds cool and punk rock but 1) in bigger cities your vehicle may be far from the venue 2) contracts often explicitly prohibit this. yes, fuck ‘em, but again if a newer band gets blacklisted by corporate entities that hold all of the power.

"Then your singular act of defiance can easily cost you and your crew a lot more in the long run. Again, it's a shit situation for openers and it takes the team of the big name bands to facilitate substantial change.

"Unless the big names with real industry power give the middle finger to corporate venues stealing from artists, nothing will change and that sucks for artists AND fans."

Merch cuts have become a hot topic lately, with Monuments recently refusing to sell merch in Greece due to insane cuts, while our own Frank Godla penned an editorial about why Gojira is a good example of a band trying to stay afloat in a difficult touring world.

Architects drummer Dan Searle recently posited that bands should get a cut of a venue's nightly alcohol sales to balance things out, while Dark Funeral guitarist Lord Ahriman has outright said venues are killing the live music industry. So yeah, a lot of artists aren't thrilled right now… and rightfully so.

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