Last Friday, Dec. 8, Falling in Reverse played the Armory in Minneapolis, Minn. alongside Daughtry and Sleep Theory (as part of the “93X Nutcracker” event). Although the concert itself was “amazing” – frontman Ronnie Radke later explained on social media – the venue’s business practices upset Radke so much that he “refused to sell . . . merch” there.
Yesterday (Dec. 9), Radke took to X – formerly Twitter – to voice his frustration and disappointment with the Armory. “[They] demanded I paid 25% of gross sales to them so I told @ArmoryMn to go fuck themselves,” he explained near the beginning of his post. Further down, he added: “[F]or your information these venues taking a merch cut is criminal, there is no reason or excuse for venues to take bands merch % they do it because we let them get away with it, it’s literally stealing.”
You can see his full post below:
.@93XRadio nut cracker was an amazing show with daughtry I’ll do it again next year if they want, amazing radio station and I’m grateful for the support
Last night I refused to sell falling in reverse merch in the venue we were playing in because @ArmoryMn demanded I paid 25% of gross sales to them so I told @ArmoryMn to go fuck themselves and just didn’t sell merch because it didn’t sit right with me to have to up charge the fans 100 dollars a hoodie because the greedy venue thinks 25% of gross merch sales from a band is okay, for your information these venues taking a merch cut is criminal, there is no reason or excuse for venues to take bands merch % they do it because we let them get away with it, it’s literally stealing. There’s not a single reason these venues have that makes this okay. so to anyone out there ever wondering why merch is so expensive it’s because these venues are STEALING from the artist. Last night I told @armorymn to go fuck themselves on stage and if any of you bands play this venue I’d advise you do the same, the only way this bullshit is gonna change is if we as bands all stand together and fuck their bottom line up. Streaming takes our money, the venue takes our money the artist gets DESTROYED and disrespected by these greedy fucks. So one more time FUCK @ArmoryMn in Minneapolis but thank you to the fans the huge show and the radio station and I’m sorry we couldn’t sell our merch!
Shortly thereafter, someone responded to his tweet: “They are already profiting ticket sales, food, alcohol is ALL PROFIT 100%, U know people are drinking 8/10,000 ppl. That's tens of thousands $ its fucking highway robbery 2 demand 25% of YOUR merchandise also. It already costs you money just make the merch & transport & sell it.”
Radke then retweeted it, commenting: “ITS FUCKED UP.”
Combined, both of Radke’s posts received a lot more support. For instance, another user replied: “Back this so hard! We need to change the bullshit “standard” of the industry. It’s time artists stop getting fucked over and getting the crumbs to everything we work our asses off for.” Later, someone else declared: “It is fucked up. Musicians need to unionize to fight these venues.”
That said, other people felt differently. In particular, one fan wrote: “I love reading the EVIL VENUE narrative… Venues face the same pressure of rising wages, increased costs… but yeah let’s give you a dedicated space in the venue to merchandise but we won’t participate in the revenue together. I agree 25% is high, but this narrative is trash.”
READ MORE: Ronnie Radke Wipes His Social Media Accounts of All But One Photo
Per The PRP, a few months ago, Live Nation (who “were a co-promoter” of the event) recently enacted “an initiative [the ‘On the Road Again’ program] that waives merch cuts in select venues, while also providing gas/travel stipends.” However, The PRP continues, “it would appear that the aforementioned initiative did not apply” to the “93X Nutcracker” gathering.
This is far from the first time venues taking merch cuts was a talking point in 2023, too.
Back in April, Loudwire reported on how numerous artists – including Bad Omens, Architects and Born Of Osiris – were “voicing their concerns with the rising percentages of profits taken from their merchandise sales at events by the venues or promoters.” Even then, some groups (such as Monuments) were refusing to sell merch because of the problem.
Likewise, this past September, Live Nation’s “On the Road Again” plan drew criticism from the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) – among other people and organizations – for its limited duration (90 days) and other detrimental consequences and exclusions.
In happier news, Loudwire included Falling in Reverse's “Watch the World Burn” (from the group’s upcoming EP, Neon Zombie) in our list of the 30 Best Rock + Metal Songs of 2023. Similarly, last month, Loudwire included Radke in our list of Metalcore’s 10 Best Clean Singers + 10 Best Bands Who Don’t (or Barely) Use Clean Vocals.
So, do you agree with Radke’s position? In general, how do you feel about venues taking merch cuts from bands? Let us know!
Also, be sure to catch Falling in Reverse when they begin playing the United States again in January 2024. You can see the full list of dates here and purchase tickets here.