Live & Touring

String Cheese Incident Scalps $20,000 Of Own Tickets In Battle With Ticketmaster

image from their ongoing battle with Ticketmaster, jam rockers String Cheese Incident sent 50 fans to the box office of LA's Greek theater armed with $20,000 in cash from the band. Each was on a mission to buy eight tickets for $49.95 plus any services charges for the group’s show there in July. Then the 400 tickets were sent back to String Cheese's Boulder HQ and put back on sale on the band's web site for the very same $49.95, sans most charges.

“We’re scalping our own tickets at no service charge,” Mike Luba, one of the group’s managers, told the New York Times. "I would argue that on some level they are our tickets.”

This small protest is part of what endears the band to their fans. The group is even eating the credit card processing fees for orders on their own site. “It costs us money to sell the tickets,” Keith Moseley, the band’s bassist, said. “But we are going to eat that cost this summer in order to make a better deal for our fans and let them know how much we appreciate them.”

Purchasing a ticket directly from the band does come with a $12 to mail tickets by United Parcel Service – still cheaper than buying through Ticketmaster.  So far, Ticketmaster has refused to comment.

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  1. what is illegal about this? they are paying for the tickets and not selling them at a prophit.thats not scalping. ticket master should be found guilty of extortion for charging outrageous fees. ticketmaster actually charges you if print your own ticket and calls it a convenience fee. how is that legal?

  2. I would hardly call this gangster. While what they are doing is admirable, it is FAR from gangsta… look it up, hippie.

  3. The Grateful Dead gave out FREE tickets
    all the time and kept the cost as low as possible on tickets 40 years ago…. Many GD Fans Like SCI for that same Reason … Way to Go !

  4. And maybe this “selfless act” is to help repay those fans that got hepatitis a few years back,from those other fans that sold ’em a tainted veggie burrito after the shows… Can I get a group hoop?????

  5. Why not just discontinue selling their tickets via Ticketmaster? I’m pretty sure when they gave them the right to sell their tickets there were contracts signed stating exactly what Ticketmaster will do in the process of selling their tickets. Why are they complaining now? This is extremely good PR.

  6. I’m sorry – but I’m not getting it… Ticket master sold all of their tickets and got paid – so how are THEY being hurt by the act?
    And the band paid for the tickets, then sold them at the same price. So how are THEY benefiting?
    And the fans are paying MORE to buy from the band (after the shipping charge) so how are THEY benefiting?
    I don’t get it…

  7. Ticketmaster still gets their $ for “service charges” by them doing this. So this proves absolutely nothing to ticketmaster other than String Cheese Incident having money to throw away.

  8. Good gesture but Ticketmaster will not care because they are still getting their fees. It’s like going to McDonalds and buying a Big Mac and giving that same Big Mac to a homeless guy standing outside. McDonalds will not care as long as the sandwich is paid for.

  9. If you buy tickets through the venue’s box office you usually don’t have to pay the TM fees. That’s what’s happening here. Ticketmaster is still getting paid but at least SCi is finding a way to work around the outrageous fees.

  10. I remember back in the day,tickets for the dead was $12.50. Most of the time, I got a miracle!

  11. Totally agree. Ticketmaster has been fucking us for years.
    This reminds me of when Pearl Jam fought ticketmaster back in the 90’s.

  12. They needed to sign with ticketmaster to get a boost in the fan department, Now that they’ve grown a large enough fan base and are a sustainable business, they’re using their power to make this world better. Much props to the SCI, More bands should follow this example.

  13. why not just issue their own tickets through their own website with a unique UPC code and hire their own security to handle tickets at their shows? If the venue is in bed with ticketmaster, there are plenty of venues that are not.
    You can always play outdoor shows and work with regional promoters.

  14. You are dumb. “That’s gangster” shows that you are thug and proud of it. Go get a job and an EDUCATION – you fkn moron! And, BTW move out of your Mommy’s basement, you loser.

  15. OOPS! big mistake on my part. I thought you were referring to TicketMaster’s BS. You were talking about the band! I’m sooo sorry, I should have thought about my reply before posting it! Yes, I do agree that String Cheese Incident is “gangster”. I’m the one that is DUMB!! My regrets, Checker.

  16. The battle with TicketMaster, whether it be Pearl Jam, SCI, Grateful Dead Ticketing, or countless other bands and promoters is just a self-righteous grandstanding. Look, I go to a lot of concerts and I don’t like paying as much as I do to go to some of those shows, whether I buy from a primary source such as TM, or if I buy on the secondary market, like with StubHub.
    Be that what it may, Ticketmaster is really only partly to blame for ticket pricing. For one thing, promoters bid on the rights to a tour, and those rights are predicated on the band receiving a certain financial guarantee, usually in the neighborhood of millions of dollars. So, in order for the promoter to cover costs and come out ahead, as well as for the band to get its guarantee, the ticket prices are set at a certain amount. In the meantime, while everyone gets so outraged over the TM service fee, most people fail to consider that TM is very instrumental in making sure that a show even comes to your town. It’s easy to look at TM as an oppressive monopoly because it has consistently been the “only game in town”, with barriers in place to derail would-be competitors. But, on the other side of the coin, the contracts that TM has in place with venues, bands, and promoters makes it easier to sign deals. It’s convenient, one-stop shopping, where everyone knows what to expect, and then the show can go on. You invite too many guests to the party, turn ticketing into an all-out bidding war, and then the tours hit roadblocks, and nobody plays anywhere. If your favorite band comes to the same venue in your town every time it tours, it’s very likely that a contract with TM made that possible.
    Quite frankly, if I pay $150 for a ticket to a concert, I don’t care if I get hit with a $10 fee. By the same token, if I pay $20 for a ticket, and then become so outraged that I have to pay a fee, then there are probably other,more important things for me to be spending my money on.
    Bottom line is, I buy a ticket from TM, I know I’m getting a real seat and I don’t have to aggravate myself trying to find the best deal. I just want to see the show. If the scalpers and/or the “bots” get their hands on them first, then that’s an issue that needs to be rectified, but again, not entirely TM’s fault. If anything, the service fee, whatever that may be is not nearly as insulting as the face value on many tickets. Personally, I’d rather just let TM handle the ticketing and not have to worry about whether or not grass is greener or the wine is sweeter on the other side of the hill. In the meantime, insist that the promoters and bands charge less money for face value.

  17. With all due repsect you need to read about Ticketmaster, I did and was freaked out how they tightly control the venue, charges/fees, what one can/can’t charge. Once under thier contracts you are locked in. Also have you ever ordered from them..? I bought 2 tickets for 90$, and paid another 50$ in convienience fees.. Absolutely crazy, and can’t believe it is legal.

  18. Nice post, Charlie.
    I, for one, and happy to pay Ticketmaster $15 so that I don’t have to go all the way to the venue to get a seat. And now they show they fee calculated into the price. Seems like a great deal to me.

  19. Ticketmaster holds tickets for people who sell tickets for a living becuase they a sctratch eachothers backs. Normal fans who used to stand in lines at the store to get tix or wait and do it online cannot get tickets because they have all been bought up by insiders. The real fans get nothing but high prices. The whole experience or “high” of waiting and putting in a little effort to go see a band you really love is gone.

  20. Why would ticketmaster care? The band had to buy the tickets from them anyway. The company made their killing already.

  21. Duly noted.
    And appreciated.
    That said, I figured juxtaposing “kudos” and “gangster” would imply a tinge of the humorous irony people seem to enjoy these days, while also demonstrating the rapier wit that can only come from years of education…and internet usage.

  22. Good idea. But Ticketmaster still got there money and if you do that math, those 50 fans would of had to pay for the extra fees out of their own pocket in the first place. Then have to turn around and purchase the tickets from the band’s website for the orginal $49.95, unless they got to keep a ticket for themselves. Sound kinda odd to me…..Just saying.

  23. How F%$#&^g great! Ive always been a fan of this band, but love them more than ever! Only if other bands would follow suit, then, what would TicketBASTARD do?

  24. Simple…they sent their people out to buy the tickets and are scalping them for LESS money than originally paid. Scalping, in a sense, is perfectly legal…as long as the tickets are not re-sold for more than the original hard ticket cover price. It actually happens often with many bands upset with Ticketmaster and their outrageous fees. Pearl Jam is probably the pioneer and most publicized of the bunch, but Dave Matthews, Phish, Perry Ferrell are just some of the other bands I know for a fact that have done something similar. Good for the guys from String Cheese!

  25. On a further note…Ticketmaster, especially since buying out and merging with Live Nation is dangerously approaching the infamous monopoly line…it is sad to see the amount of greed involved w what should be a great experience through sound and music, regardless of genre…one can only hope that Ticketmaster “gets theirs” in the long run.

  26. Typically, the venue or the promoter signs with Ticketmaster and the band has no control over it. The business of selling tickets at an 80,000 seat venue isn’t easy. It requires a lot of expensive equipment, software, and manpower and other infrastructure to sell and properly police a venue. What Ticketmaster does, they do well, and they’re making a killing. I’m not defending them. I think they’re extortionists. I’m simply pointing out that bands have very little control.

  27. That’s like saying the price of steel is outrageous, why not open a foundry? Venues are in bed with Ticketmaster because they don’t have the infrastructure to make tickets available to the general public.
    There are plenty of venues that are not? Umm, actually no, there aren’t. Not big ones, anyway (+2,000 seats)
    Outdoor shows suck in the rain and cold.
    Sorry, I hate Ticketmaster too, but it’s reality.

  28. $50 tickets are outrageous to begin with! One of the top 5 shows I’ve ever been to was $6.

  29. They have most widely been heard doing a bluegrass romp of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin And Juice”.

  30. I suspect that String Cheese did this knowing that it wouldn’t change anything. They did to make a statement – to the industry and most importantly to their fans. I’ve heard for years that things need to change and nothing does.

  31. Ticketmaster (and LiveNation/MusicToday that they just merged with a couple years back) own probably 70-80% (if not more) of the mid-size and up venues in the US, and almost every well-known venue there is. They also own most of the merch (LiveNation store and what’s sold at the venues), the food vendors, the parking services, etc…
    They are for sure a monopoly and I’m amazed that they haven’t been stopped. They literally own just about everything there is to do with concert and profit off of nearly every aspect. They could sell the tickets at a loss and still make out on the food and merch alone.
    Greedy bastards!

  32. the worst example of scalping is stub hub. its funny how when tickets go on sale and in less than 3 seconds they are all gone and then mysteriously they reappear on stub hub in a few minutes for outrageous prices. i liked it when you went down to the bass ticket outlet or ticketron or mail order from the grateful dead …much better and less of a hassle. i dont even try to get tickets for any shows these days as whats the point? then some bands charge hundreds of dollars right at the start like the rolling stones…565.00 for tickets without service charge…who can afford it? at least the stones give a great show ….but ill play the record instead as i dont have 565.00 for anything but rent…

  33. I’m sorry if I offended you. Are you one of those guys that wears the hippie skirts and brings your hula-hoop? Hoop – hoo!!!!!

  34. And watch your language, mister. Aren’t you supposed to be a lovin’, peaceful sort of people?
    And I am a not a dick head, nor do I need a nap. Just stating facts, my friend.

  35. What’s with this ‘hippy’ shit?
    I don’t even know this band. I clicked on the story because of the name.
    And what I “bring” is an attitude adjustment to pricks like you who think they can just post whatever they want with out thought to what it is they say or to whom they say it.
    Far from being a hippy, I would, if given the chance, wring your scrawny little neck just before breaking your nose for you.
    And concerning my language: suck my cock, asshole. How’s that?

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