The debate around Gojira's merch prices are a stark indicator of what it means to be a touring band in 2023

A Photo of Gojira alongside their current merch prices
(Image credit: Press/ Twitter (@_chrisjones_))

Gojira have just kicked off the UK leg of their huge European tour alongside Alien Weaponry and Employed To Serve. A string of dates that have been a long time coming, previously scheduled to take place back at the start of 2022, they have also kickstarted a discussion online.

Because of the band's merch prices.

Twitter user @_chrisjones_  posted a photo from the merch desk at the band's show at Belfast's Ulster Hall on February 12, first stating, "40 quid for a standard t-shirt at the Gojira gig tonight. I know times are tough for touring bands but bloody hell. Ulster Hall taking a large cut, I'm thinking." 

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Products that are available range from the aforementioned t-shirt for £40 to £50 for a longsleeve and £80 for a hoodie, all the way up to signed vinyl for £80 and art prints for £100.

The conversation that has been instigated by this photo is fascinating, to say the least. On one hand, there are reactions such as, "Oh hell no. £25 tee is standard. £30 too much. £40 is mad" and, "That’s insane", but on the other, fans are also saying, "This is honestly pretty standard for large touring acts these days" and, "Because rising costs of touring don't apply to more well-known bands. These are absolutely standard prices in today's economic climate." One person has even noted that The Cure were selling their t-shirts on their recent tour for half the price at £20.

You can check out the whole conversation below:

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The truth of the matter is that touring in 2023 is completely different to any other time that bands have been able to go out on the road. Firstly, this particular tour was rescheduled a whole 12 months later by the band because, as they stated, "Despite our best efforts to resume touring this month, the continued uncertainty in various territories has left us with no other choice but to reschedule the remaining dates of the tour as well." Changing a whole touring schedule doesn't come easy or cheap, on both the pockets and the mind.

Additionally, the cost of living has gone up considerably in those 12 months as well. Things that would have been easily taken care of and a certainty before are now up in the air and a constant worry. All of that is heightened when you have to go out on the road for a living. And that's not just the band. That's crew, management, transport, everybody who is associated with Gojira on this tour is affected. Merchandise is the only way that a band is able to even consider breaking even in this climate, summed up perfectly by Stray From The Path's Craig Reynolds.

You can check out his full thread on the subject below:

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And what happens if your favourite band doesn't make money on the road? They could come to your town, play a show and leave worse off than when they arrived. That's not sustainable in any way, is it? And if that happens, then touring may have to stop completely.

This affects absolutely everyone. It's not an isolated case. The next gig that you go to may have the same price list. And the truth of the matter is that if you can afford to support a band, then you should do so. But at the same time, if you can't, then you can't.

Here are the remaining dates on the band's tour:

Gojira UK/EU Tour Dates 2023

Feb 14: Newcastle City Hall, UK
Feb 15: Glasgow O2 Academy, UK
Feb 17: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
Feb 19: Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse, UK
Feb 21: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, UK
Feb 22: London Alexandra Palace, UK
Feb 24: Bordeaux Arkea Arena, France
Feb 25: Paris Accor Arena, France
Feb 26: Esch-sur-Alzette Rockhal, Luxembourg
Feb 28: Lyon Halle Tony Garnier, France

Jack Rogers
Writer

Jack has yet to hear a breakdown that he hasn't fallen head over heels for. First putting pen to paper for Louder in 2023, he loves nothing more than diving straight into the feels with every band he gets to speak to. On top of bylines in Prog, Rock Sound and Revolver, you’ll also often find him losing his voice at a Lincoln City match or searching for London’s best vegan kebab.