NewsSeptember 26, 2023 1:20 PM ET5,210 views

Live Nation eliminates merch cuts, offers $1500 per show to bands under "On the Road Again" program

Willie Nelson Live Nation

Live Nation has announced a new initiative called "On the Road Again" inspired by singer-songwriter Willie Nelson. This program aims to provide assistance to artists and their road crews, while tackling the escalating costs associated with touring.

Under the "On the Road Again" program, all acts performing at Live Nation-owned and operated clubs will receive a cash stipend of $1,500 per show to cover travel expenses.  Furthermore, Live Nation's clubs will no longer impose fees on merchandise sales, allowing artists to retain 100% of their earnings from merchandise. 

Willie Nelson said in a statement:

"Touring is important to artists so whatever we can do to help other artists, I think we should do it. This program will impact thousands of artists this year and help make touring a little bit easier."

The decision to waive merch fees follows the precedent set by Ineffable Music Group, who took the lead in January by eliminating such fees for their 10+ venues.

Additionally, the program includes financial bonuses for local promoters involved in the shows, as well as tour representatives and venue crew members who have worked over 500 hours in 2023. Live Nation will allocate $5 million to Crew Nation, a fund established during the pandemic to assist crew members facing unexpected hardships.

Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation told Billboard:

"Delivering for live artists is always our core mission. The live music industry is continuing to grow and as it does, we want to do everything we can to support artists at all levels on their touring journey especially the developing artists in clubs. Like Willie says, this is all about making it a little easier for thousands of artists to continue doing what they love: going out and playing for their fans."

Some independent venues and promoters though remain worried about being squeezed out by Live Nation, creating a market in which they can't compete. 

Concert promoter Mike Ziemer of Third String Entertainment says:


Writer David Anthony calls it a win but remains cautious:

The list of Live Nation venues in which the program will take effect is as follows: 

The Van Buren (Phoenix, AZ)

House of Blues (Anaheim, CA)
The Parish at House of Blues (Anaheim, CA)
Belasco (Los Angeles, CA)
The Wiltern (Los Angeles, CA)
The Echo (Los Angeles, CA)
Echoplex (Los Angeles, CA)
Riverside Municipal Auditorium (Riverside, CA)
Ace of Spades (Sacramento, CA)
Observatory OC (Santa Ana, CA)
Constellation Room (Santa Ana, CA)
Observatory SD (San Diego, CA)
Voodoo Room at House of Blues (San Diego, CA)
House of Blues (San Diego, CA)
The Fillmore (San Francisco, CA)

Midway Music Hall (Edmonton, AB)
Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver, BC)
Danforth Music Hall (Toronto, ON)
Kee to Bala (Bala, ON)
History (Toronto, ON)
Opera House (Toronto, ON)
Velvet Underground (Toronto, ON)

Summit (Denver, CO)
Moon Room at Summit (Denver, CO)
Marquis (Denver, CO)

The Dome at Oakdale (Wallingford, CT)

House of Blues (Lake Buena Vista, FL)

Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA)
Buckhead Theatre (Atlanta, GA)

House of Blues (Chicago, IL)

Egyptian Room (Indianapolis, IN)
Deluxe (Indianapolis, IN)

Mercury Ballroom (Louisville, KY)

Parish at House of Blues (New Orleans, LA)
House of Blues (New Orleans, LA)
The Fillmore New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)

The Fillmore Silver Spring (Silver Spring, MD)

Citizens House of Blues (Boston, MA)

Shelter (Detroit, MI)
St. Andrew's Hall (Detroit, MI)
The Fillmore Detroit (Detroit, MI)
GLC Live at 20 Monroe (Grand Rapids, MI)

Varsity Theater (Minneapolis, MN)
The Fillmore Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN)
Uptown Theater (Minneapolis, MN)

Blue Note (Columbia, MO)
Rose Music Hall (Columbia, MO)
Rose Park (Columbia, MO)

House of Blues (Las Vegas, NV)

Warsaw (Brooklyn, NY)
Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Irving Plaza (New York, NY)

Bogart's (Cincinnati, OH)
The Cambridge Room at House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)
House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)

The Underground (Charlotte, NC)
The Fillmore Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
The Ritz (Raleigh, NC)

Brooklyn Bowl (Philadelphia, PA)
Roxian Theatre (McKees Rock, PA)
Theatre of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
The Fillmore Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)
The Foundry at The Fillmore Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)

Charleston Music Hall (Charleston, SC)
Music Farm (Charleston, SC)
House of Blues (North Myrtle Beach, SC)

Scoot Inn (Austin, TX)
Emo's (Austin, TX)
Cambridge Room (Dallas, TX)
The Echo Lounge & Music Hall (Dallas, TX)
House of Blues (Dallas, TX)
House of Blues Bronze Peacock (Houston, TX)
House of Blues (Houston, TX)
The Aztec Theater (San Antonio, TX)

The Depot (Salt Lake City, UT)

Majestic Theatre (Madison, WI)
High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)

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