Report: Universal skimming of artist merchandising sales at some UK sites

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record label, has quietly taken a chunk of artist merchandise sales from a UK venue chain, a Guardian investigation published on Friday reveals. Profits come from Academy Music Group, which is responsible for running major venues across England, including O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, O2 Academy Brixton and O2 Forum Kentish Town, as well as other performance spaces in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds. , Leicester and Manchester. AMG takes 25% of merchandise sales from artists who perform at these venues – a staggering number given that these sales are often the most lucrative part of touring for musicians struggling to make ends meet in an industry of ruined live music.

UMG confirmed The Guardian that merchandising stands at “some or all of these locations” are managed by Concessions Management International Ltd., which is owned by Bravado, the label’s merchandise division. Therefore, the investigation concluded that UMG profited from these sales, even when the artists in question were not signed to the label. The company told the newspaper that AMG takes “the lion’s share” of revenue from their cut, but would not provide a breakdown of earnings.

FADER contacted a UMG representative for further comments.