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Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  242 ratings  ·  31 reviews
?In the spring of 1975 a trio of neophyte businessmen backed an old Chrysler onto a sun-baked Arizona driveway and convened in their new office. The garage start-up, dubbed Ticketmaster, would come to achieve such market dominance over the following decades some critics would denounce the company as an unlawful monopoly. Yet its path to the top was far from inevitable and ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by ECW Press
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Dan Dion
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Although it can be difficult to follow all the names thrown around, this is the best explanation I have ever read about how the concert industry, one that I have worked in, functions... or rather...disfunctions.
John Lyman
Wow, this is quite a story. I credit Budnick with (arguably) doing in depth research and laying out all the intricacies in the ticketing business. Frankly, there were far too many people, too many entities with sections and subsections, too many sales and acquisitions, and too much minutiae to really get a grasp on who the hell did what over the years since Bill Graham and similar were in charge.

I also have a hard time getting over the fact that I, personally, know that multiple bits of informa
Izan Coomonte
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
- The first 40% of the book is really detailed and pointless for the majority of the population, I would suggest to skip it and start reading from Chapter 4.
- Only read it if you're super interested in learning more about the live entertainment and ticketing industry in the U.S.
- Helps you understand the history of how some key companies in these industries were created and some of the details that made them successful.
- In general, the book gets lots into pointless details that add no value to
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
A ton of information but not a good read.
Fred Rosen, ex-CEO of Ticketmaster, completely changed TM's business model by providing an additional revenue stream (through service charges) to the venues and re-signing contracts through time.
The Department of Justice in 2010 allowed Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger and did not deem such merge a threat to potential monopoly power in the ticketing space.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I did it! I finished this comprehensive history of the concert/ticket industry from the early beginnings and my concert loving, ticketing job soul has been filled. While this was very detailed and, as stated, comprehensive, some areas and sections of the book became a task to read though I still definitely enjoyed learning from this!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dry at first, but fascinating subject to me as an avid concert attendee. Can't wait to see the update about Taylor Swift and others gouging fans for premium spots for her shows via Ticketmaster ...more
Rae Gee
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
An absolute must-read for anyone interested in concert ticketing and how it's got to where it is. While lengthy and hard to read at time, Ticket Masters is an invaluable look inside the industry that occasionally feels like it's holding music fans to ransom. ...more
Natalie Dipietro
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m in the industry so I found it fascinating and knew some of the people in the book but I feel it’s almost too detailed.
Would be interested to see an update especially now during the pandemic which has halted the concert industry completely.
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
How many of us have attempted to buy concert tickets only to discover all the tickets have be sold out, seemingly at the moment they become available, or have had to pay the mysterious service fees?

Dean Budnick and Josh Baron’s Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped investigates the evolution of music industry and how tickets are sold. Although computerization and fees originated in the 1960’s, this innovation did not initially have the impact one might e
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book, and yet I'd recommend it to almost no one. For anyone who wants to learn more about the ticketing industry, this book is invaluable and covers a lot of the history that rarely gets talked about and for that content this book is great. That said, the writing is often poor with excessive details and quite poorly organized even from paragraph to paragraph, which can make it an unnecessarily difficult read. ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
I've had this book tucked away for quite awhile, as I work in the industry and find it fascinating - especially the misinformation that is out there about things like how many concert tickets are made available to the general public, the deals ticketing agencies have made with artists and venues, and the rise of the secondary ticketing market (where I work).

Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped has a pretty leading title, and it delivers against that -
Chris Lund
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, music
Good overview of not just the history of ticketing systems, but also of the concert industry as a whole. Certainly shines a light on where all your money is going when you buy a concert ticket (whether it be on the primary or secondary market), and how pretty much everybody on the chain is getting a piece of the action. Would have given it a higher rating, but the writing style makes it pretty tough to read at points. Lots of run-on sentences, temporal jumps and the occasional typo. There's also ...more
Sean Mcfarland
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting. Really gets into all parts of the history of ticketing. It goes off onto many tangents about the artists and their management. Also, fascinating how a percentage of tickets are never sold on the primary market (i.e. Ticketmaster) and now are directly sold to secondary ticket agencies (i.e. Stub Hub) where the profits are split with the artists or promoters and the ticketing agency. I guess this explain why for a Monster truck show we are going to we paid $83 in service charges, faci ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was kind of a slow read for me with lots of details about the people and developments of the ticket industry.

But as an avid concert goer since the early and mid-70's it was really interesting to learn how ticketing really works and why shows are so expensive.

We learn how some of the artists that we think "are on our side" get tickets and immediately sell them to the secondary market, essentially scalpers. We learn how hard bands like the Grateful Dead worked to serve their fans in an honest
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I finally finished this book! I've had to pick it up and put it down so many times that I finally bought myself a physical copy and made my way through it (for real, I first borrowed this book from the library in 2012 when it came out). I'm not sure the book answered all of my questions about the ticket industry, and it definitely left me with more questions like "well, what are we going to do about it?" but that wasn't what the book set out to do. It was a great, comprehensive history on the ti ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I must admit I'm not sure I understood all I read. This is a well-researched, comprehensive book and Budnick certainly took pains to trace the relationships between the players, no matter how removed they were. If you have no sense of business and finance, this book might lose you, as it did me in many places. Still, I feel intrigued at this look into the inner workings of an industry you think you know, but really, who does? ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Long story short: Tickets are expensive and there's little we can do about it. I wanted more details about the music industry and less about the people developing the ticketing software. The cast of characters became confusing and overwhelming. I do feel more aware of how the industry finds ways to make the most from the audience, but there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it. The best tip: When you buy a ticket you are agreeing the show is worth that price. ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm actually a few chapters short of finishing this book. I sort of got lost because I was not using the (super-helpful) index of names mentioned in the back of the book. I kept forgetting who people were, and i just gave up. The book is actually very in depth and interesting if you're in the field. I will go back and re-read one day. It was a must-own for me! ...more
Dan Thomas
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If anyone has ever wondered about the history of the concert ticketing industry, read this. Rather than told as a dry history, it reads as a compelling drama in which characters are introduced throughout. Equal parts fascinating, frustrating, compelling and maddening, you will never look at TicketMaster the same way. If you hated them before, well, this will increase your anger 10 fold.
Jeremy Anderson
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great look at the history of ticketing and why we are where we are today.

The history is pretty in depth, the more recent happening are a bit light in the description. There could be more on organized scalping, and artist self scalping.

I never wanted to stop reading, and the backstabbing and intrigue is good.
Alfred Keep
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the history of the whole music making business. The cover is exactly correct. The consumer got screwed. It boggles my mind how Ticketmaster can charge a $12.00 service fee on a ticket. When you are buying the ticket at the box office. I.e. The Saddledome here in Calgary Alberta. There is no way of cutting out the middleman which is Ticketmaster. Overall the book was great.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, business
i highly recommend this book to anyone working in the modern music industry. some minor quibbles (could have benefited from slightly tighter editing and some minor factual errors) but overall an excellent read
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
A lot of great information for sure. This book really breaks down the history of the concert industry and ticketing (primarily from a Rock perspective). Kind of dry throughout. Took me quite awhile to read, so I'd recommend taking breaks from the lengthy details in this book to read others. ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic overview of the concert and ticket industries and the effects on legislation, high ticket prices, and fans. Anyone interested in the history of rock or tied to the events/ticketing industry would find this a compelling read. Relaxing style is a plus.
Robert Kolcon
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A concise history of of the concert industry which started with local and regional promoters and became the behemoth we know today that is dominated by Ticketmaster/Live Nation. If you've ever wondered how we got from there to here, this is the book for you. ...more
Dave Moyer
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Concert Goers
Solid description of the evolution of ticketing and the concert industry, which is both interesting and appalling at the same time.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly interesting.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thorough history of the ticketing industry and a broad view of how the music industry works. Great anecdotes and, despite the subtitle, a fairly bipartisan approach.
Rob Goretsky
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Very thorough and incredibly well researched, but so detailed that it got dull at points...
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
unless you want to know every piece of paper signed to make these companies, don't bother. ...more
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