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

3.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550229494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550229493
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nathan Webster TOP 1000 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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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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If your are a concertgoer and bought tickets many times from Ticketmaster this book was a very interesting read. With a lot of background information on how Ticketmaster became so big and how all of the other small ticket companies kind of got rolled up. I can remember going to concerts by cellar door SFX and all these other companies just from the ticket stubs that I had, from the probably close to thousand concerts I've been to in my lifetime. This book did however have a very strange unexpected consequence by reading it, it seemed to reinforce a lot of negative stereotypes about a certain religion that people sometimes quantify as "being cheap or running the entertainment business". I caught myself more than one or two times thinking of the stereotypes, not positively, especially when there was lots of underhanded things being done by Rosen. Actually felt bad about doing this but that was the unexpected issue. But I digress from my own thoughts, I would love a follow-up book that focused on Clear Channel years after about 2012 where the book kind of ends based on it being slightly older book. I would love to hear more about Clear Channel and how they became iHeartRadio because I believe at one point Clear Channel's Q rating was something like 0% because everybody hated them so much that they changed the iHeartRadio which is basically still the same company. I don't know personally if they have spun off Ticketmaster or anything along those lines but I would love to hear more or read more. once again very interesting read with some strange consequences.
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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
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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