Finances & Money

4 Steps To Buying Concert Tickets Online


My son wanted to buy concert tickets to a very popular event coming to the area. The problem was, the tickets went on sale in the middle of the day while he was in school. The event was almost sure to be sold out by the time he got out of school, so he asked if I would get him tickets since I have easy online access at all times.

Ten minutes before tickets were offered for sale, I went to the event venue’s website, and waited. At exactly 2pm, my screen updated and tickets sales were open. I took an option to choose my seats. I picked seats for my son and his friend front and center. But by the time I hit “buy,” I got an error saying the tickets were gone.

I went through this process several times, never successfully getting a hold on any tickets. I started panicking. Tickets were going FAST, and I wondered if I would be able to get my son tickets at all before the event was completely sold out.

I learned several lessons in buying tickets for a popular event that day:

Check For Pre-sales

Sometimes artists will offer a small amount of tickets up for sale early to people who added themselves to their email lists. Check the artist’s websites for details. In this case the artist DID offer 1000 tickets for presale a few days early to email subscribers. Unfortunately, I heard those 1000 tickets were sold out in about 5 minutes.

Be Ready

I got this one right, as I had my browser pointed at the website ready for tickets to go on sale. The best tickets are going to go FAST. If you really want a certain section or type of ticket, you have to make time to be ready right when tickets go on sale.

Use The Auto Select Option

My mistake was trying to select my exact seats. What I should have done was take the option to have the website select the best available seats. After three failed attempts at selecting my exact seats, I realized I was competing with hundreds, maybe thousands of other event goers selecting seats. When I clicked the button to have the best available seats selected for me, the website selected two tickets meeting my criteria, and automatically locked them. They were locked and not selectable by anyone else until I bought them, released them, or a 20 minute timer had expired.

Use Multiple Browser Windows

There’s certainly a chance that the auto select feature will pick seats you don’t like. Have multiple browser windows open and ready to go. Once tickets go on sale, use the auto select tool in each window. You’ll lock multiple sets of tickets that way giving you options to choose from. Buy the best block of tickets you have available, and release the rest.

I did eventually get tickets for my son and his friend. They weren’t bad tickets, and my son was very appreciative of my efforts. However, I know that if I knew then what I know now, I could have gotten him even better tickets.

Have you ever tried to purchase tickets to a popular show or concert right as they went on sale? Were you able to get the tickets you hoped for? What tips to you have to add to the list?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

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About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Multiple browser windows (and even multiple browsers) are the way to go. Always let the system pick your seats. Also, it’s best to request an even number of seats: 2 is best, 4 is also ok. I tried getting 3 tickets once and didn’t get any until the event was almost totally sold out.

    • Good tips, Shaun. One cautionary word of warning regarding multiple-browsers that someone told me…..some ticket vendor sites might actually “stall” requests if it sees multiple requests from the same IP address as it might interpret that as being a scalper trying to buy many tickets for resale. Thanks for reading!

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