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Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped Hardcover – June 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550229494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550229493
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Reading this book won't make you any happier about spending four hundred bucks to go to a rock show but you'll understand how it happened and who's to blame. --Bill Flanagan, author Evening's Empire, A&R

If you wonder why you're paying ten times as much for overblown, cross-promoted spectacles that are one-tenth as satisfying as the rock and roll of your youth, you need to read this book. -- Steve Silberman, editor, Wired magazine

For anyone who's ever suffered rock concert sticker shock -- and we all have -- Dean Budnick and Josh Baron's Ticket Masters is the best seat in the house to the show behind the show. --Fred Goodman, author Fortune's Fool and The Mansion on the Hill

Dean Budnick and Josh Baron brilliantly chronicle the storied history of ticketing, providing a front row seat to the back room drama. A must-read for any music business enthusiast. --Shirley Halperin, Music Editor, The Hollywood Reporter

When community meets commerce, things gets complicated. In Ticket Masters, Josh Baron and Dean Budnick take you behind the box office and explain the real reasons a good seat costs so damn much. --Alan Light, former Editor-in-Chief, Vibe
and Spin

"[A] lively, sprawling chronology of the concert-ticket sales business . . . Budnick and Baron offer information in accessible language fortified with verbatim dialogue from a pantheon of music-industry brass." —Kirkus Reviews (April 15, 2011)



"In other hands, this book could have been dull and academic, but it reads like an adventure story, full of colorful characters, shady transactions, and surprising twists and turns. For everyone who has been dumbstruck by the extra fees added to the price of admission, this book is just the ticket. Highly recommended for eventgoers everywhere." —Library Journal (May 1, 2011)


"A clear, comprehensive look at a murky business, the book is also an encyclopedia of information about the rise, decline and rebirth of the live music industry." —Wall Street Journal (May 28, 2011)


"Fascinating. . . . [The authors] delve deep into every aspect of the tour biz, from the rise of computerized ticketing to the consolidation of concert promoters." —Rolling Stone (June 9, 2011)


"A fascinating insider's portrait of the music business once all of the pulsing lights, fog machines and sound equipment have been turned off." —Maclean's (June 27, 2011)


"Budnick and Baron did a tremendous job in chronicling the history of the U.S. and Canadian concert business and how the business models have changed. . . . Ticket Masters is an excellent book for music historians and business geeks alike." —www.boomerocity.com


Ticket Masters covers a lot of terrain, and a lot of terrain in fine and meticulous detail.”—Douglas J. Johnston, Winnipeg Free Press

“Who turned concert ticketing into a monstrous machine for bleeding music fans dry? Dean Budnick and Josh Baron of Relix chronicle the rise of the Ticketmaster juggernaut — and hell-spawn like Clear Channel, StubHub, and Live Nation — by following the money with the dogged persistence of detectives and a knack for turning bottom-line history into engaging narrative . . . If you wonder why you’re paying ten times as much for overblown, cross-promoted spectacles that are one-tenth as satisfying as the rock and roll of your youth, you need to read this book.” — Steve Silberman, Editor, Wired magazine

About the Author

Dean Budnick, the executive editor of Relix magazine, is the founder of Jambands.com, the co-creator of the Jammy Awards and the director of the documentary film, Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard's History of American Civilization program and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. 
 

Josh Baron is the editor-in-chief of Relix magazine, a music-based publication where he has been on staff for more than a decade. Baron also contributes to a variety of media outlets including New York City-based radio station WFUV where he serves as a music reviewer. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

If you enjoy reading business history books, this is for you.
Stanley Jouston
Readers will have a difficult time maintaining interest because it is extremely difficult to see the forest for the trees - far too much detail.
Loyd E. Eskildson
If you are at all involved or interested in the concert industry I highly recommend you read this book.
Jeffrey Pittman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Webster TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2011
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Lewis on August 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book provides a great history of the rock concert business. It covers more than just ticketing. If you are intersted in the concert business this book is for you. However a warning, you may end up being annoyed at everyone involved in the business when you are done!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vidiot on June 15, 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hai H. on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Extremely well researched and also excellent view into the world of rock promotions and how it's evolved over the last 50 years. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Pittman on September 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I met Dean and Josh at a convention in 2011, and I was very impressed with all the leg work and research they had done to fill this book with numerous interviews of the ticket business "big wigs". They interviewed the former CEO of Ticketmaster, the founders of StubHub, numerous concert promoters, and many other influential people in the industry. It really is a fascinating book and its value really shows in the research that the authors have done. It reads like a history book, pinpointing the origin of the American ticket industry (as Dean pointed out started in the mid 1800's) and bringing it all the way to the present with the Ticketmaster - LiveNation merger.

If you are at all involved or interested in the concert industry I highly recommend you read this book. Dean and Josh have put a lot of work into giving a fair view of the industry, and they have really given the reader a wealth of knowledge that isn't found anywhere else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Jouston on July 13, 2011
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phamily on July 12, 2011
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Narayan on July 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors have done a good job of interviewing and highlighting the various parts of the ticketing industry. Some of the anecdotes such as the Grateful Dead Woolly Freaks are pretty good as well as TicketMaster's Fred Rosen's personality is insightful.

What this book lacks is an analysis of how the public gets scalped. There are words toward that peppered across the book, but the authors could have created a chapter that lays out say on a pie chart how a ticket price is divided among the many parts and why they say the public is getting scalped and how it should be dealt.

Ultimately, the book leans towards the fact that its the artists who are the monopoly (atleast the big ones) so they can set whatever price they think the fan will bear. (Rolling Stones are a good example of that)

Nobody wants the government regulating this industry, but at the same time, the industry is preventing true marketplaces such as Stubhub etc to set the price. Let the market determine the price of a ticket.
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