Ticket Masters by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron, ECW Press

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

Budnick, Dean


    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 Ticket Masters analyzes the legality and ethics behind the actions of Ticketmaster, including its recent merger with Live Nation.

    Ticket Masters, based on first–person interivews with the key players, is a character–driven story that explores the actions and impact of the iconoclasts guiding Clear Channel, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, SFX, MusicToday, and StubHub, while folding in related tales of trustafarians, scalping syndicates, old–school music promoters, and would–be Internet tycoons.

    Ticket Masters answers such questions as: Just what is included in a service fee and why does it vary with the price of a ticket? Why am I forced to pay for parking when I’m taking public transportation to the concert? and Who really pockets all of that money?

    This guide to the concert industry looks into cubicles, conference rooms, and booking agencies and includes interviews with promoters, musicians, and corporate executives with connections to both Ticketmaster and the bands. Special attention is paid to the touring activities and ticket–selling practices of the Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, U2, Dave Matthews Band, and the Rolling Stones.

  • Dean Budnick is executive editor at Relix magazine, the co-creator of the Jammy Awards, and the founder of Jambands.com. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard’s History of American Civilization program, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Josh Baron is editor-in-chief at Relix magazine and contributes to a variety of media outlets on music and ticketing.

  • Published: June 2011

    ISBN: 9781550229493

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 384


"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." — Wired

"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." — The Hollywood Reporter

"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: and inside look at those inexhaustible high-wire artists, corporate jugglers, and ringmasters who are always chasing one more deal, one more concession, one more buck in the empire burlesque that is the multi-billion-dollar rock concert business." — Fred Goodman, author of Fortune's Fool and The Mansion on the Hill

"Ticket Masters manages to cover 40 years of the concert business and tell a series of complicated, interlocking business stories with the speed and clarity of a thriller. 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, Executive Vice-President and Editorial Director of MTV Networks, and author of Evening's Empire and A&R

"As sales of recorded music plummet, live shows are supposed to save the music industry. Maybe so. But who will save the fans — beleaguered by scalpers, high ticket prices, and insane 'service' fees? Budnick and Baron explain how we got to this sorry pass, and what will have to happen before we get through it. Music lovers both, they're on the side of concert goers, who pay the bills and deserve more for their dollar and devotion."— Rolling Stone