String Cheese Sue Ticketmaster

Band charges industry giant with monopolizing industry

August 7, 2003 12:00 AM ET

SCI Ticketing, a company owned by jam band the String Cheese Incident, filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster in a federal court in Denver on August 6th. The band's ticketing service, based in Boulder, Colorado, charges the nation's largest concert ticket retailer with monopolizing the industry and preventing SCI Ticketing from offering direct ticket sales to fans.

According to the band's complaint, Ticketmaster issued a letter in May 2002 ordering concert promoters and venues to halt the long-running practice of issuing blocks of concert tickets for artists to sell directly to fans. "SCI has become the target of an all-out effort by Ticketmaster to foreclose it from competing in the relevant market," reads a complaint in the suit. "Ticketmaster's monopolization of the relevant market and its abuse of that monopoly power are causing damage to SCI Ticketing and may lead to its demise."

The String Cheese Incident aren't the first band to try and take on the industry behemoth. At the height of their popularity in the mid-Nineties, Pearl Jam attempted to challenge Ticketmaster's concert dominance, crying foul at the service charges the company levied on concert tix. PJ bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard appeared before a Congressional subcommittee investigating the matter in 1994, but lobbyists had a law regulating service fees killed and a Justice Department investigation into possible anti-trust violations quietly came and went with no change.

The band, along with a representative for its booking agency and its attorney plan to address the issue at a New York City press conference on Monday.

Ticketmaster had no comment at press time.

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