From the beginning of our touring career, we have always tried have the fans’ best interest at the forefront of our minds. We recognize and honor the fact that our tenure as a band is due only to the support of our fans, and we don’t take that fact lightly.
Recently, we have come up against touring policies that we think are unfair, both to bands, and, more importantly, to fans. Last night we were forced to do something called “price matching” at a concert in Sacramento. The practice of “price matching” is unfortunately a fairly common one, and it is fundamentally flawed, in my opinion. What it entails is the standardizing of merchandise prices by a “headlining” band – that is to say that the main act of the night will dictate a price at which the other bands may sell their merchandise. The thinking is that the main acts do not want to be “undercut” by opening bands that may be selling their merchandise at a lower price, and thus offer a more attractive deal to fans. Last night, we were forced to sell our t-shirts for $30, a price that we think was too high based on the ticket prices of the show, and unfair to fans.
In our touring career, we have never asked opening bands to “price match” their merchandise to ours. In our thinking, bands should sell their merchandise at whatever price they wish, and fans should be able to buy that merchandise accordingly. It is unfair to smaller bands to be expected to sell their t-shirts and other goods at the same price of larger bands, especially on our tours, when opening bands have depended fairly heavily on selling merchandise for their total income. We have confidence that we will sell the amount of merchandise that we need to, and we hope that the opening bands on our tours will also do well!
I think “price matching” is indicative of a lot of things in the music business. To me, it serves as a good example of the wrong way to do things. There are two ways to come up and tour: the right way, in which you put your music and your merchandise out there, and hope that people will like it, and don’t attempt to hamper anyone else’s hustle, and the wrong way, in which you try to stomp out competition, and climb up by keeping others down. As a band, you should have confidence in your ability to stand out and do well.
We don’t wish ill will upon anyone in music. We treat every show and everyone associated with it (from the fans who are paying to see our music, to the local crew working at venues, to the bands playing with us) with respect. We will continue to do just that, and to hope for the best for our friends and family in the music business, and most importantly, we will try to provide a fun, good show, for a fair price for our fans.
- Nat and Sean