2023 Women of Live: Marla Ostroff
Managing Director, North America | Ticketmaster
Marla Ostroff has been at Ticketmaster for more than 35 years, which has given her a front seat to a revolution.
The late 1980s were still a time of standing in line or calling a box office. Ticketing was still very much a paper industry. There was a nascent idea of computerized ticketing — in a way, the ability to be on the forefront of technological advancement is what drew Ostroff into ticketing in the first place — but the idea that tickets could be purchased at home and delivered to someone’s phone? That was technobabble nonsense.
Ostroff managed to navigate that galactic change — and navigate all the changes in Ticketmaster itself — and craft a career where she’s a figure of intense respect and admiration. She’s worked for and alongside visionaries like Barry Diller, Paul Allen and Fred Rosen, the last of whom she counts as a mentor, along with Mark “Stoney” Stoner, her first boss, who “emphasized the importance of authenticity and always taking care of clients and those around you.” She’s now a critical partner of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and an especially critical one as ticketing has drawn the attention of the media and policymakers after the high-profile on-sale of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour and all that it wrought.
“We are mindful of potential legislation and policies that could impact our partners ability to engage with their audiences on their terms. Understanding these considerations and advocating on behalf of artists, teams, and venues is a critical task as we move forward,” she says.
For all the criticism Ticketmaster takes, there’s one thing that’s simply undeniable: it’s durable. It’s survived changes brought by technology, mergers and spinouts and acquisitions, changing consumer attitudes, increased artist empowerment and on and on. Still, it remains at the top of the business.
And Ostroff’s been there for it all. Hers is a story of an enduring legacy, too, and one that’s still being written.