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Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped Paperback – April 24, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 “Ticket Masters takes you behind the box office and explains…the real reasons a good seat costs so damn much.” — Alan Light, former Editor-in-Chief, Vibe and Spin

“Fascinating.” — Rolling Stone

About the Author

Dean Budnick is the executive editor of Relix magazine and the founder of Jambands.com. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Josh Baron is the editor in chief of Relix magazine and contributes to a variety of media outlets including New York City–based radio station WPUV, where he serves as a music reviewer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780452298088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452298088
  • ASIN: 0452298083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first truly comprehensive look at the history of the billion dollar concert ticketing industry, and should deservedly be the first go-to book for anybody ever doing work on the subject.

I worked in the ticket industry for about 13 years, so I've seen most of the changes the author describes. Stub Hub, the now-ubiqutous ticket marketplace, used to call our office years ago and explain what a great idea they had about a national format - and we laughed, and laughed.

Most importantly, though, the stories Budnick and Baron tell happened the way they tell it. I can speak to their credibility, at least as far as their stories on Stub Hub, Tickets Now, and other ticket brokers.

No question they put in every bit of detail they could get their hands on. That is one of the flaws of the book, that they put in so much that it's sometimes difficult to tell what facts are most important, and where the reader's focus should really be. This book takes some work - it's not a beach read. You have to be prepared to pay attention, read things again, and then re-read. There is a lot of business discussion, and dollar figures, and other small details that require a lot of the reader's attention.

A big flaw is the lack of specific ticket prices. Only a few times do the authors actually say what a concert costs, and since the entire book is on the notion that the public is getting 'scalped,' it's hard to see exactly HOW, without seeing the increase in price.

I know that the Rolling Stones, for example, charged $60 for their best field seats for their 1997 tour - and $450 in 2005. Awful, right? But even though the Rolling Stones are a major part of the book, the authors never use any specific ticket prices - they talk about fan club prices, but not tickets.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for anybody that is an avid concertgoer that has always wondered why a show sells out in less than 5 minutes and if they get tickets, they're always the worst seats in the building.

This book is written in a very "60 Minutes" type investigation manner about Ticketmaster. It breaks down the origins of computerized ticketing from its very beginnings to where it's at today. The book examines the greed, corruption and blatant arrogance that takes place in the concert industry. From agents, promoters and even the artists themselves, this book leaves no stone unturned.

Definitely worth the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've seen 1000 concerts and I'm only exaggerating a little. My first was AC/DC (sixth grade). This book is for everyone who wants to know why all the good seats are gone even if you're first in line, about how much artists are making when they play a big show, and how to fail in business by not recognizing who your customers really are. And Irv Azoff... easy to know but hard to define. A+
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Format: Hardcover
It may not be a high wire adventure but this book methodically explains concert ticketing from the days of hard tickets to today's computerized world and its bevy of extra surcharges. If you really want to understand that "service charge" and why the price varies so much from artist to artist, read this book, but be prepared to have a bit less warm fuzzy enthusiasm for your favorite superstar.
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Format: Hardcover
Not a bad read at all. Did not just place the blame at ticketmaster. Great stories as far as the beginnings of the ticket industry and how some bands (String Cheese, The Dead, Phish) really cared for their fans and fought for good seats for them and low service charges and how the whole Pearl Jam thing was a media fight over about 50 cents on the ticket price.

If you enjoy reading business history books, this is for you. If you want some light reading, this is not your book. Some sections required reading more than once to get the details down.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a little skeptical of this book at first. I assumed it would be "ticketmaster stinks, they are evil, and they charge to much". The authors of this book let people know the history of the ticketing industry. What is upsetting is that the bands are to blame as much as ticketmaster. Jimmy Buffett charging 105% of the gross? Of course they have to kill you on the service charge. There are some great stories in here such as how Bill Graham would double sell tickets, how the GDTS was a bunch of "wolly freaks" but that they actually took care of their fans.
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Format: Hardcover
Authors Dean Budnick and Josh Baron have written an in depth history of computerized ticket sales from the simple beginnings in the mid-1960s to the behemoth that 800 lb gorilla of the industry Ticketmaster (Live Nation) is today. As the subtitle implies, their story is much more interesting an nuanced because it is not just about ticket sales per se, but how promotors, concert venues, entourages and more are mixed up into the witches brew of the concert industry. Although, it has never been easier to purchase a ticket online (although being on the queue in the first 15 nanoseconds before top names sell out), it has also never been so expensive to see your favorite performing artist. Budnick and Baron also explain the economics of the modern concert industry as well, which is at times mind boggling.

This book is extremely thoroughly researched, with a 9 page glossary to help you keep track of the 300 hundred or so cast of characters. The authors were able to interview many of the key players in the development of the various legacy companies that merged into what is Ticketmaster today. The quotes from them provide key insight into both what they were thinking at the time of key developments but how accurate they were from the view of hindsight today. They patiently explain the technologies that underlie various changes, the competing companies at each point in time, the bands that try to buck trends, or create their own ones, and more.

Also documented are the congressional investigations into the monopolistic practices which seem to have not been able to stick to this teflon industry.

This meticulous book helps explain how the ticket and promotion industry got to where it is today, with a few large players, and high prices. It is a fascinating ride. Although the details can get heady at times, if you soldier through, an unparalleled view is your reward.
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