BOBBY AMARU Says SALIVA Is One Of The Bands Who Have Benefited From LIVE NATION's 'On The Road Again' Program

December 30, 2023

In a recent interview with "The Logan Show", SALIVA frontman Bobby Amaru spoke about Live Nation's new initiative called "On The Road Again", which saw the largest live music promoter in the world and the owner of Ticketmaster announcing that it would no longer be asking for a percentage of merch sales from club-level performers at the company's venues, and would also be paying the artists $1,500 on top of their nightly compensation to help with gas and travel expenses. The campaign also announced bonuses to crew members at local venues that have put in over 500 hours of service time, and that Live Nation will be donating $5 million to the Crew Nation relief fund that takes care of behind-the-scenes personnel when they incur unexpected hardships.

Bobby said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "They had announced [in late September] that Live Nation wasn't taking merch cuts and they were gonna give bands money and stuff for their merch. And it fucking happened. It was real shit. I showed up [at a House Of Blues] and there was an envelope there for us, like gas cards and money and all this shit. And [they told us], 'Oh, hey, by the way, we're not taking a cut of your merch.' It was, like, 'Can we do like 20 more of these?' [Laughs]"

He continued: "I remember hearing and reading about [the 'On The Road Again' initiative when it was first announced]. And it was literally like two days later we were in House Of Blues and then my tour manager was, like, 'Oh, hey, by the way, this is for you guys.' And I'm, like, 'Holy shit.' It was like a 'thank you' card and this whole thing from Live Nation. They give you the little chocolate candies and shit too. I'm, like, 'Damn, they're really laying it on, aren't they?'"

Amaru also weighed in on widespread speculation that "On The Road Again" could ultimately hurt many locally owned music venues by pulling talent away from them as performers rush to play Live Nation venues to cash in on the $1,500 payments.

"Those smaller-cap rooms, maybe they'll figure out something," Bobby said. "I don't know how they budget shows. But those could definitely benefit — I think all bands could benefit from keeping 100 percent of their merch. Especially us. I pay to have all our stuff printed — everything's paid for by the band, and anytime we do artwork, it's paid for by the band or any of that stuff — and I feel like the venues don't really put in on any of that. And it's kind of, like, 'All right, well, this makes absolutely no fucking sense [for a venue to take a cut of the merch.' But what do you do?"

Bobby went on to praise other bands like BAD OMENS for taking a stand against concert venues lately for taking a cut of artists' merchandise sales.

"I can't imagine how much merch a band like [BAD OMENS] is selling every night. They're probably killing it, like I'd say 50 grand on a bad night," Amaru said. "And that's a lot of money. So for a room to take 20 percent of that for not printing any of it. And then not to mention the band has sold out your room. You've just made an incredible amount of money on bar and booze. But maybe shows like that are the ones — I don't know, man — are making up for the ones that aren't selling as well."

When "On The Road Again" was first announced, it was revealed that more than 70 venues across the United States and Canada were taking part in the initiative, named after the 1980 hit song by Willie Nelson.

The program was created with Nelson to help the live music careers of artists, as well as their crews. Live Nation said there was no limit on the number of qualifying shows an artist could play and the benefits added up as artists performed on tour. By helping with some core expenses, officials with Live Nation said they wanted to "make it easier for artists on the road so they can keep performing to their fans in more cities across the country."

"On The Road Again" is only expected to last through the end of 2023.

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