It took more than smart code, however, to turn Ticketmaster into one of the world’s most powerful entertainment companies. It took the arrival in 1982 of a new leader—Fred Rosen, a fast-talking lawyer and amateur comedian who had a profound realization: Ticketing isn’t about the bands or the fans. It’s about the venues.
Shortly after he was hired, Rosen systematically contacted the biggest concert halls and arenas in the country and made them all the same spectacular offer: Where Ticketron charged venues for its service (adding a minimal fee for customers—$1 per ticket), Rosen offered to actually pay the venues. He would increase service fees and split the money with whoever housed a concert or sporting event. Everybody signed up and Ticketron was quickly decimated. In 1991, it surrendered. “When Ticketron came to an end,” Gadwa says, “I felt more like we had stumbled upon a beached whale that had already died than defeated a fierce enemy in battle.”