Buying concert tickets is like testing your luck with the lottery. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, other times, you’re given the ol’ ‘try again next time’. And yet, there are always those lucky few who always seem to score tickets for every must-see live music show. How does one maintain the upper hand in the rat race world of event ticket purchasing? Here are some tips and tricks to equip yourself with to better your chances of getting the hottest tickets in town without having to resort to selling your soul (life savings) in a deal with the devil (scalpers). However, if you’re looking for advice on how to get tickets to Adele’s ’25’ tour or Hamilton on Broadway, all I can offer you is good luck and Godspeed.
First off, to avoid the shock and disappointment of missing out on show announcements from the artists on your concert bucket list, get on track. Besides following the usual suspects on social media (artists, venues, concert promoters, etc.), apps such as Bandsintown and Songkick are great live music event discovery portals that help fans with tracking and staying up to date with their favorite artists’ tour dates. Once the show has been confirmed, add the date to your calendar.
Presales save concertgoers from the agony of ticket purchasing with the masses during general sales. Event sponsors will offer a select pool of seats for early access before ticket sales open to the public. Common presales include LiveNation and Ticketmaster presales, Facebook presales, credit cardholder presales (one of the benefits of carrying an American Express card), and radio station presales, and each presale will have its own unique access code.
For artists you consider yourself to be a die-hard fan of, consider enrolling in a fan club membership. As a member, you have the opportunity to be invited to pre-presale opportunities, as well as enjoy other perks such as exclusive content, merchandise discounts, and even the chance to meet the musician at a meet and greet on tour. Some fan clubs only require that you opt into their newsletters, while other may charge an annual fee.
Once you have the ticket sale dates, including important information such as presale access codes and a link to the ticketing site, inputted into your calendar and have set your notifications on, it’s time for the preparation to really begin. On the day of, be ready on standby on your computer and/or your mobile device fifteen minutes in advance of the sale time (and schedule your daily coffee break accordingly). First things first, ensure you have a strong and reliable wifi connection and have your browser(s) and tab(s) open. Then, either register from or sign-in to your account on the ticketing site, and check to see if the ticketing vendor has a downloadable app available as well. I recommend having your credit card and billing information stored in your account details, get your browser(s) and tab(s) up and running. If planning on attending the event with a guest, coordinate with your friend, mother, brother, or whomever and to search at the same time and increase your odds. Before you make a move, take a look at the venue’s seating map to determine where you would ultimately want to sit (side stage, balcony, floor, or mezzanine?) and price range list to decide how much you are willing to spend. By this point, you should be more than ready to rumble! Pro tip: If you don’t have immediate luck with your ticket search right, keep refreshing for up to hour after the sale’s start time, as other customers will likely have released tickets they had been holding in their digital shopping carts during the allotted queue time.
Sold out? Think again! If you didn’t manage get tickets during the on-sale times for the general public, don’t give up! Keep checking back with the official ticketing sale and the venue, especially during the week of the show. Many times, I have gotten extremely lucky by waiting until the day before (or even the day of) an event to score amazing seats, either side stage or on the floor. Ticketmaster will release additional seats that had been reserved for guests of the performers, promoters, and the venue. People can even walk up to will call on the night of the show for last-minute tickets for face value. Now, if you really want to see a show but have no one to go with, I strongly encourage you to consider going alone. You can get really incredible solo seats—I have gotten front row this way a handful of times! Sure, waiting is a risky and uncertain move, and riding solo requires a little bravery, but if presented with these opportunities, it’s all well worth the risk.
If you’re down to the wire in the week leading up to the show and are considering getting tickets from secondary markets—be careful. I’d advise against using ticket brokers entirely because the marked-up ticket prices are really not worth it, and even worse, you are in great danger of getting scammed with counterfeit, duplicated, or stolen tickets. If you must go the secondary route, I would recommend StubHub, SeatGeek, and TicketsNow due to their buyer’s guarantee policies of offering replacements and refunds if tickets are invalid or the event is canceled. Ticketmaster also has a Fan-to-Fan Resale feature for transferring tickets purchased directly through them (and are thus guaranteed to be valid).
You best bet in the secondary market is to find ticketholders who are selling their tickets during the week of the show due to last-minute changes. It’s inevitable that concertgoers will have scheduling conflicts and groups will have members who bail last-minute. In many of these cases, the seller’s intent is to recoup the costs they originally cost and not profit. Try scouring Craigslist and use your judgment when assessing the ads (the details provided are often a telling sign of its legitimacy). On Twitter, try conducting a search of the performer’s name and the keywords “ticket” or “tix,” along with the city name, and/or venue, to find locals who have tickets for sale. The discussion forum on the show’s event page on Facebook is another avenue for ticketholders who are reselling.
If you wish to try your luck with contests, follow the artist, venue, promoters, as well as your local radio stations and publications. They will host giveaways for concert tickets and meet and greets.
With a little preparation, persistence, and patience, you should be set to go with your coveted concert tickets AND have enough to spare for another tour tee to add to your never-ending merchandise collection!
What are some of your tried and true tips for securing concert tickets? Let us know in the comments!