Wednesday, November 21

The Quad: How to buy concert tickets


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I took a deep breath as I finally slid my phone under my notebook and looked up at my anthropology professor guiltily. More than half the lecture had passed, but it was only at that moment I could finally start listening. A message from a friend popped up on my phone screen: “Success! Two Coldplay tickets bought. And they’re front row seats!”

Those two Coldplay tickets gave me a whole lot more anxiety than I had imagined. In order to secure good seats, I had to check the presale time, call my friend to help because I had class, ask her to download the Live Nation app to buy presale tickets and secretly check my phone every five seconds during lecture to see if she messaged me. When she told me she had trouble using the app, I fought the urge to to bolt out of the lecture hall to call her, and, contrary to my usual focused self, started texting while sitting in the second row in class.

Show anxiety is a common emotion among concertgoers. It’s a symptom of feeling excessive stress over trying to buy tickets to a show while trying to save some amount of money in the process. Here’s a guide to help relieve your show anxiety by providing you with some useful tips for buying concert tickets.

1. Major Headliner
Show Anxiety: ★★★★★

These are top 40 artists such as Coldplay, Beyonce and Maroon 5 that give you an earache after you’ve heard their song for the upteenth time.

Getting the best tickets to these concerts often requires a significant battle. Typically, these tickets are ripe for getting snatched by scalpers and ticket-brokers minutes or even seconds after they go on sale.

The only way to truly secure tickets ahead of time for these types of concerts is to take advantage of the presale.

Many presale methods require you to prepare in advance, however. Usually, the fan club, if an artist has one, gets first pick during presale. To get these codes, subscribe to the mailing list of that artist’s fan club website in advance.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster presales are also options. To get access to these, register an account and select your favorite artists, and the website will send you alerts whenever a presale starts so you won’t miss them. Then, you can get the code by checking their social media on the same day. Make sure you have the ticket retailer app on your phone, and you won’t even need presale codes, as you’ll be able to access the tickets immediately.

Other presale methods vary according to the concert, including Citi, American Express and other major credit card presales, which you can access simply by using your card number to buy the tickets. Radio presales are often offered as well, so check the radio sites of your favorite artists for information.

2. Mid-tier
Show Anxiety: ★★★

These include artists such as Tove Lo, John Legend and Sam Smith. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying these artists don’t have significant fan bases, but the show anxiety level is generally lower due to fewer people emptying their wallets trying to get their hands on the ticket of their dreams. So no, you won’t need to call your dad in the middle of a lecture anymore just to buy tickets the minute presale opens.

The general public sale can still be troublesome, even with huge concerts when you’re just trying to get a seat – any seat. For these ones, though, you want your money’s worth. So how do you get a better seat among those with the same price?

One trick is to use multiple phones, tablets or browsers. By seeking tickets in different webpages simultaneously, you can compare tickets in the same price range and pick the better one. You can also do this for the major headliner artists as well, but beware you only have a certain amount of time (usually five to 10 minutes) to buy those tickets, so there is a risk of losing your place “in line” if you don’t decide fast enough.

Another tip – don’t be greedy! Buying a small quantity of tickets almost always guarantees you a better seat than if you buy five or six tickets at a time.

3. Underground
Show Anxiety: ★

These are the tickets to small, local venues such as The Smell, The Echo and The Satellite that the majority of people don’t know about, aside from a few diehard fans of indie artists. However, you can still go to the concert just to enjoy some good music you may have never heard of before. The best strategy is to get the best seats is to take a deep breath, sit back and wait.

The day before the show is the best time to buy these tickets. People desperately try to resell them for extremely low prices when they realize they actually can’t make it – or just don’t want to make the drive to Silver Lake. Many of these people are on Craigslist, and other UCLA students sell on Free & For Sale, UCLA Concertgoers or the Facebook event page of the concert. Note that the sellers may not all be trustworthy and might scam you, so be careful! Use your best judgment to assess the reliability of the seller before buying tickets.

The last method is simply to go directly to the venue’s ticket desk the day before the show, or even the night of. It’s usually open and the prices are lower without the service fees from purchasing online. In addition, unofficial sellers may also be looking for buyers outside the venue to sell secondhand tickets.

As the concert approaches, check secondhand ticket brokers and scalping sites such as StubHub and Vivid Seats. Depending on demand for a particular artist or event, resellers may be willing to sell tickets at lower prices in order to at least gain a bit of profit.

However, these methods through third-parties or individual ticketholders may be risky because certain concerts might not let you in if you fail to provide an ID that matches the name on your ticket. Make sure you check your concert’s ticket policies before buying secondhand tickets.

You can always use different strategies depending on how much you want those tickets. The process of ticket-buying may be very frustrating, but it’s worth it in the end when you finally head off to the show that you’ve been looking forward to, whether you’ve been doing so for several months or only several hours.

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Yixuan Jiang is a Daily Bruin blogging contributor. She is particularly interested in writing about issues concerning health, popular culture and media censorship.


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