Two Australian merchandise companies have said they’ve suffered “massive losses” from involvement with a US platform. 

As per The Music Network, Sound Merch (SM) and Love Police ATM (LPATM), an affiliate of Mushroom Group, claim to be collectively owed more than $250,000 from Merchbar, which on-sells licensed stock supplied from merchandise companies around the globe, and receives a portion of revenue.

According to reps for both companies, Merchbar’s payments were stopped with no indication in late 2023. Both Sound Merch and Love Police ATM paid the artists the sum owed, and absorbed the resultant hit.

“Soundmerch is a small Australian business of twenty-five employees,” Sound Merch director Tim Everist shared in a statement to TMN. “This is a massive loss to our business – most don’t recover after a hit like this. We have covered the merch losses incurred by our bands and paid them accordingly. Now Soundmerch shoulders the debt owed to us from Merchbar.”

According to separate statements posted to its website in 2020, Merchbar is Spotify’s worldwide merchandise partner, and has an arrangement with YouTube to facilitate official branded merch sales via creators’ Official Artist Channels in a slew of markets.

To cut their losses, Sound Merch and Love Police ATM removed all products from the Merchbar platform, the Australian companies claim. Negotiations are said to have been ongoing for well over six months.

Merchbar actually responded to TMN‘s requests for comment.

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“The characterisation of the claims allegedly brought to your attention by other merch companies are simply not accurate,” the company shared in a statement.

“Unfortunately, due to the strict and mutual confidentiality provisions within our partnership agreements and the lack of specificity in your claims, Merchbar is unable to comment on the status of our relationship with any parties as well as the below allegations other than to say that they are not accurate.”

In a turbulent time for the live music industry, merch sales have been of vital importance to the artist community.

“I just think it’s really unfair, especially in the current economic climate to not be paying artists – it’s hard enough as it is for them,” Love Police ATM General Manager Sebastian Hampson said to TMN.

“Not letting artists know that they weren’t going to be paid is even worse, they could have sold those products via other avenues and actually got paid.”

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