A CMO’s helpful guide for buying concert tickets

After an artist announces a tour:

  1. Join the artist’s fan club – most times there is a cost involved but usually your membership will come with merchandise equal to the cost of the membership. This is where you will get a valid pre-sale code.
  2. I have seen it both ways, where you have to be a paid member to get presale codes but some artists allow free members get presale code access
  3. Be a Citibank, American Express or Chase credit card holder – these 3 institutions many times have their own presales from Ticketmaster.
  4. Have a friend who is a season ticket holder of or a member at the venue – many times there is a presale here also.
  5. Local radio stations may have presales – especially iHeartMedia stations so check their websites/Facebook/social media account(s) – these are always after the fan club and credit card presales and it is usually the day before public sales begin.

In the days/hours ahead of the presale or regular public sale:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the seating chart of the venue to have an idea of the sections you want tickets in and also the price breakdowns of the different sections (no need if you want or only option is general admission)
  2. Check artist specific subreddits (if you’re not familiar with Reddit just google the artist’s name and reddit in the same search string and it will find it. For example, Metallica’s subreddit is https://www.reddit.com/r/Metallica/ ) – many times there are paid members who are not able to use their presale codes and are willing to share (never pay an individual for a code, 100% of the time that is a scam)
  3. Check the artist’s social media accounts – this is a longshot that they give out a code but one of those you never know as I have had had at least one time where I got killer seats by following a twitter link from the artist for a free unannounced presale.
  4. Install an ad blocker. Ad blockers (I use Adblock Plus) will remove (most) CAPTCHA from ticket purchasing sites I have found.


When the time approaches for the presale or regular public sale to start:

  1. Make sure you are logged into your Ticketmaster account ahead of time.
  2. Make sure your Ticketmaster payment source is up to date.
  3. If it is a presale and you have a code to use – copy the code into your clipboard for easy pasting rather than having to look it up and/or having to type it in (remember every millisecond you can save gets into the sale that much quicker)
  4. Make sure you know exactly what time it is and how soon the sale begins – I use https://time.gov/
  5. Get to the sale page 10 minutes ahead of time, but only in one browser tab. Most likely you are put into a waiting room and Ticketmaster’s anti-bot technology will boot you out of the waiting que you are in if you enter the que again from another tab, browser or your mobile.

Once the pre or public sale starts and the buying frenzy begins:

  1. Be patient if you are put into a waiting room or a line queue on Ticketmaster’s site – the page should/will refresh on its own when you can finally access and purchase.
  2. Utilize your familiarity with the seating chart you hopefully reviewed before getting to this point to focus on the section/price level you are targeting for your seats – no sense having the site search the whole arena if you know ahead of time you want to sit in a specific section.
  3. If you select seats and put them in your cart be mindful of the time limit before your session auto times out and you lose the seats you had if you keep searching for better seats.
  4. If you do not get the section that you want right at first keep trying – odds are there is someone who had tickets in their cart but were either not already logged in or had outdated payment information in their account and their buying session times out thereby releasing the tickets back to the available pool. (I had this happen once where I initially got shut out of the seats I wanted and 5 minutes later I end up with the best seats I’ve ever gotten – 3rd row, dead center floor seats for Scorpions/Megadeth, only to have the show/tour get cancelled due to medical issues of one of the members of the Scorpions)

If you are not able to get tickets and the secondary ticket market is priced too high:

  1. Those same local radio stations that you searched before, if they had a presale will most likely have free tickets for their giveaways/contests – either by call-ins, online entry or even station events. This one I can attest to as I have won a ridiculous amount of tickets over the past few years – they are not always the best seats in the giveaways but hey, you are at the show for free and sometimes you can do seat upgrades with those free tickets at the venue for a nominal fee (depending on close the show is to being sold out).
  2. Set a reminder to check Ticketmaster and the artist’s social media the day before and the day of the show – sometimes tickets get released close to the show once final stage configuration and viewing angles for any particular arena are set (these are called Production Hold tickets).
  3. If you are able to go to the venue for the event – if scalpers still have tickets once the show starts then usually you can negotiate a much better price from them than had you inquired before the show started.