Ticketmaster Rebuts String Cheese Lawsuit
According to Ticketmaster, jam band the String Cheese Incident's antitrust lawsuit against the company is "not about artists' rights -- it's about money."According to Ticketmaster, jam band the String Cheese Incident's antitrust lawsuit against the company is "not about artists' rights -- it's about money." String Cheese Incident, which formally announced its lawsuit against Ticketmaster yesterday (Aug. 11) in New York, filed the complaint last week in U.S. District Court in Denver.
The complaint alleges that the String Cheese Incident's Boulder, Colo.-based company SCI Ticketing "has become the target of an all-out effort by Ticketmaster to foreclose it from competing in the relevant market" because it has ceased to release blocks of tickets to SCI Ticketing. The suit says it is common industry practice that -- at an artist's request -- a venue will hold back a block of tickets that the artist can sell directly to fans. The suit further alleges that Ticketmaster controls 60% of the relevant market via its exclusive agreements with venues and promoters and therefore is in violation of antitrust laws.
In a statement, a Ticketmaster representative said the company "competes" for the exclusive right to sell tickets on behalf of venues and promoters. In exchange for these exclusive contracts, the rep said Ticketmaster offers its clients "turnkey ticket solutions" that include technology infrastructure, distribution networks and box office and season ticket management systems.
Of the claim that the ticket seller will not release blocks of tickets to SCI Ticketing, the rep said Ticketmaster "has always recognized" the practice of allowing artists to have a block of tickets to give away or sell through legitimate fan clubs.
"The allocation of fan club tickets in excess of historical reasonable levels flies in the face of our contractual guidelines with our clients," Ticketmaster's representative said. "By demanding very large allocations of tickets, SCI has attempted to break valid contracts for its own self-promotion and monetary gain. ... SCI and its ticketing company are trying to step in for a 'free ride' on the many benefits and services Ticketmaster provides its clients. SCI essentially wants to skim the best, most easily sold tickets and leave Ticketmaster and its clients with the job of selling the rest."
Additionally, the Ticketmaster representative said the company plans to file a countersuit against SCI Ticketing and the band for "intentionally interfering with contracts and relationships in which Ticketmaster has made great investments."