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Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares Slams Merch Cuts: “The Cost of Everything Is Only Increasing and Raises Aren’t Exactly Being Thrown Around”


You’ve probably heard about merch cuts by now, or the practice of a venue taking of a band’s merchandise sales at the end of a night. It’s become one of the hottest topics in underground music, with almost everyone—including Bad Omens, Alpha Wolf and Russian Circles, to name a few—except venues agreeing that the practice has gone too far.

Speaking to The Razor’s Edge podcast, Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares jumped into the debate from some very simple math: people are making less money on the road and being charged more money for merch cuts than ever before. The answer to that equation doesn’t bode well for anyone in the long term.

“It’s kind of like just life in general. Anybody who has a normal job — you’re still getting paid 10 bucks an hour, but your rent went up, your insurance went up, food prices went up, gas prices went up, but your pay is the same. It’s kind of like how it’s been for bands as well. Promoters are only willing to pay you so much, but everything else went up. Now the club owners and the promoters are taking a cut of your merchandise, so it’s making harder and harder for artists to survive out there.”

He continued by pointing out that since bills have to be paid and venues are taking more, the added cost gets passed to the fans, which is also bad for everyone.

“Yes. That’s been the whole debate, that it’s been getting larger and larger. Of course there’s always been a percentage that you have to give to venues. That’s just how it is. Merch percentage — we’re talking about merch percentage. But, of course, it’s getting higher and higher. So, unfortunately, the fans are the ones who have to pay for that, because once the merch percentages get higher that the venue takes, then you’re gonna have to raise your prices on a t-shirt. That’s just inevitable and that’s unfortunate, [but] that’s what happens.”

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