Circa 2006, former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen, one of the pioneers of the modern ticketing industry, sat down for a lengthy series of interviews with Stagehandspace.com where he explained the creation of Ticketmaster and how he grew the business into the world’s dominant ticket seller. See the videos below.
“Our clients were the venues and promoters,” Rosen said in Part 4 of the seven-part interview. “We served the public, but our clients were the venues and the promoters. People assumed that Ticketmaster served the public, and you could go through a process where you’d go ‘we weren’t warm and fuzzy as a company.’ But the real reality is this… half of what you sell people don’t want to sit in if they had the choice.”
Rosen is credited with figuring out ways to make it easier for fans and theatergoers to buy tickets, but in some circles he is also vilified for creating a system that relied on heavy service fees that are passed onto customers. Ticketmaster created a network of retail outlets and an Internet presence that, through deals with venues, stadiums, teams and promoters, grew to control the vast majority of the ticketing landscape. He left the company in 1998, and now Ticketmaster is poised to merge with Live Nation, pending federal regulatory approval.
Throughout the videos, Rosen offers fascinating insights into the mindset of the executives at Ticketmaster, and he reveals a wealth of background information into the cost structure and inner workings of the industry.
“What people want is the ability to have access,” he said. “That’s what this is about, we provide you access.