My Facebook newsfeed was inundated today with statuses lamenting Beyonce’s “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour” tickets selling out in minutes. Friends demanded more tour dates or questioned how stadiums can sell out faster than the click of a mouse. Now this is the first tour in three years for Beyonce, and it’s coming on the heels of her stellar Super Bowl performance and Grammy win, but there are several reasons why concert tickets disappear unbelievably fast, especially for the big venues.
When it comes to large stadium shows, the majority of tickets are given away well before they go on sale to the general public. The bigger the star (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift, to name just a few), the more tickets are given away leading up to them officially going “on sale.” Usually the biggest portion of tickets are saved for pre-sales, which are a catch all for various organizations who are able to sell these tickets to lucky fans. Companies, typically credit cards or mobile phone carriers, pay to have the right to sell tickets privately to their own customers before the public can buy them. If you’ve ever purchased a “VIP ticket package” that includes a meet and great, for example, you are nabbing a coveted pre-sale ticket.
Another large chunk of tickets are held for the performer. The main act and any opening acts reserve seats for friends and family, while their management, publicists, labels, and promoters all get a piece of the seating chart as well. Radio stations usually get some for giveaways. Suites and subscriptions also play a role in holding back tickets. At this point, venues are at least half reserved, usually much more.
Once tickets do go on sale, another cause for concern are the dreaded scalpers. The industry is having to grow and adapt to these technologically-savvy scalpers that utilize multiple computers to buy up as many tickets as possible and sell them at ridiculously high prices (Stubhub is selling tickets for the sold-out Staples Center performance at a price range of $179 to $1,100 per seat, and those prices will no doubt skyrocket as June 28th approaches.)
So is all hope lost? Not necessarily. Artists have been adding second tour dates to sold-out cities, such as Taylor Swift adding additional performances for her nearly sold-out “Red” tour this year. Venues have been cracking down on how many tickets they release to the press and are trying various methods to prohibit high resale tickets (Coachella mails wristbands directly to buyers prior to the festival so that tickets cannot be duplicated or counterfeited).
My advice is to research pre-sales thoroughly before tickets go on sale. If the concert does sell out in minutes, head to the venue the night of the performance. Often they will release extra tickets the day of, and, especially for the bigger shows, people will be actively selling tickets outside the door.
Oh, and Beyonce did add additional tour dates. All hail Queen Bey.