Tim Burgess of The Charlatans wins ‘battle of the T-shirts’ to cut cost of gig merchandise for fans

Leaving the program picking up a t-shirt from your favorite band is an essential feature of the live music experience.

Now fans should be paying less for their merchandise after a successful campaign led by an unlikely consumer champion: Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans.

The leader of the festival’s headliner, who surfed the Madchester and Britpop waves of the 1990s, took the baton on behalf of concertgoers and fellow musicians during a practice he says is selling to everyone.

Many of the UK’s most popular venues carry a cut of up to 25 per cent of the gross revenue from an artist’s merchandise sales on shows.

Merchandise is big business for stadium acts: the Rolling Stones generate about £ 1 million at every show by selling products under the brand name of their famous logo.

For work bands, which earn a fortune with streaming, the dominant form of music consumption, selling t-shirts can be the difference between making a profit or losing on the road, once travel and subsistence costs are taken into account.

Some venues do not receive cuts, which allows artists, who often go to stalls after leaving their instruments, to claim all proceeds.

Burgess is urging major operators to accept a cut, such as the O2 Academy Group, which operates a national network of venues, including Brixton Academy, to change its policy.

“Bands usually take their own touring producer with them, but in some places, not all of them, they take it to an outsourced concession company (which works for the venue). They take over and we have to give them 25 percent.” he stated. said the singer i.

“A vinyl album usually doesn’t even have a 25 percent surcharge, so prices go up and it’s the fans who lose, while the bands lose a valuable source of revenue.”

Burgess added: “Any income that new artists can get is valuable: rehearsal venues, study time and tours cost a fortune. Merchandise has always been a way to offset those costs and so little is gained from transmission if you are an established act, no matter what they are starting.

“T-shirt money is a lifeline for so many bands and places that have other ways to make money without taking it away from people who attract the public.”

Burgess’s campaign, backed by musicians such as Peter Hook, a former New Order bassist, is already making an impact.

When The Charlatans played at Rock City in Nottingham this month, the venue gave up its traditional merchandising sales cut. The Manchester Ritz has also told bands it will leave its commission.

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“It’s not about money for The Charlatans, it’s about justice for the artists and their fans. Common sense and justice are starting to prevail,” said Burgess, who is backing a new online directory that shows which places don’t take a percentage.

Burgess, 54, who admitted to heavy cocaine use in the 1990s, is accepting his surprise role as a responsible consumer advocate.

He welcomed the arrival of a new, more elegant festival circuit, which allows middle-aged fans to go rock with their children.

Burgess is curating a new band stage, called Tim Peaks, at the new Signals festival, which will be held next month at Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire.

Fans will be able to visit the National Tramway Museum and ride on trams specially preserved in the period recreation of a Victorian village.

The Charlatans will also play with James Survivors of Manchester on Heritage Live, a show for nostalgic indie rock fans in the lush surroundings of Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath.

It’s still conducive to rock ‘n’ roll, says the Salford-born singer. “Rebellion is more of a state of mind. We don’t have to be shattering things and the kids really bring energy to the concerts; it’s great to see a new generation that knows all the words of our songs.

“I love the fact that a lot of young people have increased their vinyl collection, and even come up with pre-birth touring T-shirts … I guess maybe they don’t fit the original owners anymore.”

Burgess, whose Listening parties on Twitter During the blockade he introduced the concept of listening to an entire album in sequence for a new generation, he observed another new trend of the festival: sending the possessions of the touring artist when their owner is no longer on this deadly reel.

Burgess will host a special listening event for cult singer Nick Drake Pink Moon album at the Sea Changes festival in Totnes, Devon.

Drake died in 1974 and his own vinyl copy of the album will be played on the family’s 1965 Pye Archiphon stereo gramophone player.

“I thought it would be an interesting listening party – there were exhibitions of Bowie clothes and lots of memories of Elvis,” Burgess says. “As long as they are done with good taste I think there is a place to appreciate exhibitions that have important stories in the history of popular music.”

He went to the Academy Music Group to comment.

Heritage Live is at Kenwood House, Hampstead on Friday, June 10th
Signals is on Saturday 11 June at Crich Tramway Village, Derbyshire
Sea Change will remain until Sunday, May 29 in Totnes, Devon

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