NIVA Lashes Out At New Live Nation Initiative

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Not everyone is heaping up praise for Live Nation’s newly announced effort aimed at helping club-level artists.

The live-entertainment giant announced the “On The Road Again” program Tuesday. Two major prongs of the initiative are a moratorium on merch fees at LN-owned clubs through year’s end and a $1,500 travel stipend for all headliners and support acts at those venues.

In a statement Wednesday, the National Independent Venues Association says it’s at best a temporary half-measure and at worst a cynical and calculated ploy.

‚ÄúTemporary measures may appear to help artists in the short run but actually can squeeze out independent venues which provide the lifeblood of many artists on thin margins. Independent venues and promoters are investing in and elevating up-and-coming artists every day, and NIVA is supporting those efforts nationally,” NIVA’s statement begins, noting that some independent operators had already ended the increasingly-controversial practice of taking cuts of artists’ merchandise sales.

NIVA posits that “On The Road Again” is, in actuality, an effort by LN to bring artists into its clubs at the expense of independent venues.

“It appears to be a calculated attempt to use a publicly-traded conglomerate‚Äôs immeasurable resources to divert artists from independent venues and further consolidate control over the live entertainment sector. Such tactics threaten the vitality of small and medium-sized venues under 3000 capacity, many of which still struggle to keep their doors open,” the statement continues.

On X (formerly Twitter), Dan Wall, Live Nation’s executive president of corporate and regulatory affairs, said the program is simply about helping artists.

“Artists are asking for support,” he wrote. “On The Road Again is about supporting artists. NIVA members are perfectly capable of providing similar benefits. Many already do.”