String Cheese Covers Fees

String Cheese Incident has a long history of tussling with Ticketmaster over the ability to sell its own tickets. This summer, the band is putting its money where its mouth is, in some cases going so far as purchasing tickets from the box office to resell at face value to fans for upcoming shows.

The deal has worked something like this: In some cities and buildings, the band controls 100 percent of its ticket inventory and has sold tickets via its website to fans for $49.95. But in other cities where such agreements aren’t in place, String Cheese Incident had to get a little creative to secure ticket inventory.

On a recent afternoon in Los Angeles, for example, about 50 fans and friends of the band gathered outside the Greek Theatre, the New York Times reported.

Their mission? To buy back as many $49.95 tickets as possible (in this case, eight per person) and then sell those tickets via the band’s website – for $49.95.

Band manager Mike Luba – an exec at Michael Cohl’s S2BN Entertainment – told Pollstar it’s always “been important for the band to be able to sell tickets direct to the fan, to have some control over the cost.”

With this undertaking, however, SCI stepped it up a notch.

“For every show, we’ve been able to make tickets available with no service charge, no add-on fee at all,” Luba said. “This is not an anti-Ticketmaster thing, although it’s presented like that a lot.

“If people find that Ticketmaster is a better option, we’re all for it. But we believe that there is a way for a $49 ticket to actually be $49. I think people are just kind of sick of all the add-on stuff.”

The band is eating the add-on fees and charges for all those tickets, in addition to paying credit card processing fees and covering costs for customer service and fulfillment elements, Luba said. He declined to disclose the total cost to the band.

SCI bassist Keith Moseley told the Times the band wanted to offer fans a better deal to “let them know how much we appreciate them.”

But Luba added that it’s crazy that the push to offer tickets without service fees feels like a gift when “it just should be.”

This band has been “willing to take what has proven to be extraordinary steps to put their money where their mouth is,” he said. “People are very vocal about how awful [TM] is. But no one really does anything. That’s what I’m the most proud of with the String Cheese guys, who really go there. Fully go there.”