Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped Out June 1 on ECW Press


(New York, NY) — Based on first-person interviews with key players and meticulous research,Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped (ECW Press, June 2011) by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron is the first book-length exploration of the modern concert industry.

Just in time for the summer concert season, Ticket Masters chronicles the as-yet-untold story of the live entertainment industry, revealing its origins, development and ongoing strategies of companies such as Ticketmaster, Live Nation and StubHub and the efforts of numerous independent competitors. With over 100 exclusive interviews and utilizing many previously unreleased documents, this character-driven book explores the actions and impact of the iconoclasts guiding these companies while folding in related tales of scalping syndicates, old school music promoters and would-be Internet tycoons along with the brash business decisions of such world-renowned groups as the Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam and The Rolling Stones.

Like no previous book, Ticket Masters sheds light upon the complex relationships between artists, promoters, ticketing agents and the public. Beginning with the previously unreported details behind the rise and demise of the once-dominant Ticketron, Ticket Masters proceeds to share gripping accounts and analysis of Ticketmaster’s eventual market supremacy, SFX and Clear Channel’s promoter rollup, the cutthroat battle for secondary ticket sales and numerous other tales of the industry’s most significant architects. Whether it’s Michael Cohl nabbing the Stones from Bill Graham, Ticketmaster’s defeat of Pearl Jam or the silent efforts of music superstars to mark up their ticket prices for complicit websites, Budnick and Baron examine the pivotal developments that have shaped the industry as we know it.

Yet, Ticket Masters is also a personal story for the millions who purchase tickets, as it addresses the often-asked (but unanswered) questions: How and why do concerts sell out so fast? Why do service fees vary on tickets to the same event? Why isn’t Ticketmaster considered an illegal monopoly? Is it worth joining a band’s fan club to qualify for a pre-sale? How do ticket broker websites like StubHub get all their tickets-isn’t scalping illegal? Who is pocketing all this money? What happened to the time when real fans could get great seats for a reasonable price? And (deep breath), just how did ticket prices get so high, anyway?

Ticket Masters, a timely account of the multi-billion dollar concert industry, answers these questions and many more. This engrossing book shares a compelling story of the many ways in which the American public is being scalped.

Book release event at 92Y Tribeca

The New York City book launch event will take place May 26th at 92Y Tribeca from 7-8:30 PM. Authors Dean Budnick and Josh Baron will host a panel featuring the some of the industry leaders who appear in Ticket Masters. For more information on 92Y, visit http://www.92y.org/

About the authors

Dean Budnick, the executive editor of Relix magazine, is the founder of Jambands.com, the cocreator of the Jammy Awards, and the director of the documentary film Wetlands Preserved: TheStory 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.

More advance praise for Ticket Masters

“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.” – Bill Baars, Library Journal

“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.

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

“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

“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, author Evening’s Empire, A&R

“[A] lively, sprawling chronology of the concert-ticket sales business . . . Classic-rock bands,musicians, managers, concert promoters, radio broadcasters and entertainment attorneys contribute to a spirited forum on how the grinding gears of the evolving (often double-crossing) ticket market has affected their concert tours and business.” – Kirkus Reviews