In a game-changing move for the live music industry, Live Nation, the global live entertainment giant, is set to implement new minimum wages for its club staff in the United States and Canada. This initiative is part of the “On the Road Again” program, conceived in collaboration with legendary artist Willie Nelson to bolster emerging artists and the unsung heroes working behind the scenes.

Just last September, Live Nation announced that its US clubs would stop taking a percentage of artists’ merch stand sales. Merchandise fees have been a contentious issue for artists, often range from 15% to 30% at concert venues in the USA and have sparked concerns about fairness. Artists like Jack Antonoff and Jeff Rosenstock have criticized these fees, asserting they hinder the livelihood of working artists. Antonoff, took to social media to highlight the challenges, while Rosenstock, a seasoned punk artist revealed how these fees compelled him to increase prices for his merchandise. The broader criticism extends to scalping and monopolies within the live music industry.

Under the “On the Road Again” program, Live Nation is increasing the base pay for hourly club staff, setting it at $20 per hour. Supervisory roles will now start at $25 per hour, with promising prospects for career advancement within the company.

Remarkably, these new base wages represent an increase of over 250% compared to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in the United States, surpassing even the highest state minimum wages, including those in California, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia. This groundbreaking move will positively impact more than 5,000 crew members, covering diverse roles such as box office attendants, production crew, artist hospitality, guest services, ushers, parking attendants, cleaning crews, sustainability coordinators, and more.

Michael Rapino, CEO and President of Live Nation Entertainment, expressed the significance of this development, stating, “The live music industry is on track for years of growth and offers a great career path, and by increasing minimum wages, we’re helping staff get an even stronger start as they begin their journey in Live [Nation].” The initiative doesn’t stop at wage increases. Through the On the Road Again program, headline and support acts playing Live Nation clubs will continue to receive $1,500 in travel bonuses on top of nightly compensation and 100% of merch profits.

Importantly, Live Nation emphasizes that all benefits from the On the Road Again program are funded directly from the venues’ existing earnings, ensuring no additional burden on consumers. The program’s open-ended nature reflects Live Nation’s commitment to sustained support for emerging artists and crew members at the club level.

For a comprehensive list of participating venues, interested parties can visit the program’s official website here. This move by Live Nation marks a significant step toward fostering a more equitable and sustainable live music industry, with potential ripple effects throughout the entertainment landscape.