Personal finance

Concert’s sold out? There’s still hope

The best way to pay face value is to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale. Above, Alicia Keys performs in Houston.
Pat Sullivan /Associated Press
The best way to pay face value is to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale. Above, Alicia Keys performs in Houston.

NEW YORK — It’s not even spring yet, but tickets for big summer concerts are going fast. Beyoncé and Taylor Swift have sold out most of their summer tour dates. That means fans who haven’t snapped up tickets will have to pay higher prices.

The best way to pay face value is to buy when tickets are first released. If they sell out, you’ll have to buy from a reseller in the so-called secondary market. Sites like and let ticket holders sell unwanted tickets.

But the secondary market often costs more. For example, face value for the cheapest tickets for the sold-out Aug. 10 Taylor Swift show in Chicago was $53.90. On StubHub, the lowest price was $97.


But there are ways to save, even if the show is sold out:

Get first dibs

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Check for a presale. Artists promote a date when tickets go on sale, but most begin selling tickets a couple of days before the official date. Presales are usually for people who use certain credit cards. Check to see if your card offers presales.

Another way to get access to presales is to join the artist’s fan club, but that will cost you. Justin Bieber’s club, for example, charges $81 a year. But if that gets you cheaper tickets, the fan club price could be worth it.

Wait it out

If you strike out when tickets are first released, be patient and wait. About 48 hours before a concert, sellers start cutting prices to get rid of tickets, said Alison Salcedo, of They can be e-mailed to you, or you can pick them up at the venue. The big risk is there won’t be any tickets left.

Try lesser-known venues

Consider hopping on a train. Tickets at marquee venues are generally pricier than at other venues in the area, said Will Flaherty, at In New York, for example, tickets at Madison Square Garden can be higher than tickets for the Prudential Center in Newark, just a short train ride away.

Blocked views


More artists are selling tickets behind the stage to make as much money as possible, said Villanova University economist David Fiorenza, who advises musicians. He took his daughter to a Lady Gaga concert and bought tickets behind the stage. They still were able see the singer and hear the music. ‘‘There were video screens in back of the stage,’’ Fiorenza said. He saved about $100.

Where to buy

If the event is sold out, your best bet is to buy tickets from or Both refund your money if the tickets turn out to be fake. The websites also allow you to buy electronic tickets.

Another option is It searches for the cheapest tickets on the secondary market from sites including StubHub and eBay. SeatGeek says all the sites it links to offer buyer protections.

Beware of sellers on Craigslist (not to mention scalpers on the street). You’ll lose your money if the tickets are fake.