As an avid concertgoer who has done more than her share of obsessive concert-related things, one thought kept running through my mind as I delved deeper into Ticket Masters: “YOU PEOPLE SUCK.” And by “you people,” I mean pretty much anyone who has anything to do with live performances, from promoters, to ticketing companies, to
brokers scalpers, to — depressingly, though unsurprisingly — even the performers themselves.
Dean Budnick and Josh Baron give readers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at rock concert industry. Armed with anecdotes and interviews, the authors chart the rise behind many of the artists and corporations who helped make the concert industry what it is today, such as Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Clear Channel, and Stub Hub. They go back to the early days of ticketing, when the concept of computerized ticketing was still unheard of and people were outraged when the service fees on tickets were raised from a quarter to a whopping fifty cents (must be nice).
As technology has progressed, fans have seen corporations merge and ticket prices skyrocket. The chance of a fan getting a front row seat through regular ticketing outlets is pretty much zero. Instead, it’s possible a show to be sold out within three minutes of going on sale — *cough* Franz Ferdinand, NYC, 2007, yes I’m still bitter even though I’ve seen them three times *cough* — only to see tickets for these shows available on sites like Stub Hub minutes later. That’s because, in addition to getting more money through service charges and ticket fees, performers regularly sell the best seats in the house to
secondary ticket outlets and ticket brokers scalpers, or set aside a large portion of these prized seats for expensive VIP packages or fan club sales; either way, the fans getting screwed. Though I was already aware of this practice, it doesn’t infuriate me any less. (A small list of the performers who do this: The Rolling Stones, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Madonna, The Eagles, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Shakira, just to name just a few. And yeah, probably Franz Ferdinand, too.)