Beating Ticketmaster May Be Impossible


Annica Dupre on Canva

Ticketmaster is a source of frustration for millions as Taylor Swift tickets recently went on sale at the notorious ticket seller.

Everyone knows the crushing disappointment of not getting tickets to your favorite artist’s upcoming show. On the day of the drop, you’re hurled into a confusing queue with only a certain amount of time to select seats. The ones you choose are swiped away from you at the last second. Same happens with the next set. And the next set. Your spot keeps on being pushed back in the queue until you’ve failed the drop process entirely and have to scrounge for leftover tickets, which scalpers bought up and marked up to heinous prices. You decide that, as much as you love this artist, it’s not worth a month without heat in your home to see them.

You were most likely using Ticketmaster, right?

I was in this position recently. It was my mission to see Bono’s Stories of Surrender book tour. U2 is my all-time favorite band; seeing them perform live, even only one of their members, is a slimming chance nowadays that I was desperate to grab. In the back of my mind I knew it was unlikely I’d get to go, but my optimism dulled when I saw the company distributing the tickets: LiveNation. 

Ticketmaster’s acquisition of LiveNation in 2010 created a dominant conglomerate in the live entertainment industry and a home for some of the worst resale prices.

Ticketmaster’s acquisition of LiveNation in 2010 created a dominant conglomerate in the live entertainment industry and a home for some of the worst resale prices. On the day of the Boston tour, the cheapest option was $409 per ticket seats shoved into the back of the balcony. You’d have to root out $1,200 for a single halfway decent seat in the orchestra. A seat closer to the stage was unimaginable.

Ticketmaster’s Verified Resale system is to blame for these exorbitant costs. It authorizes scalpers and their bot army to swiftly scoop up tickets and significantly mark them up on the website itself – penalty-free. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter discovered some extremes when he went undercover at a ticket broker conference. The worker at the flooded Ticketmaster booth told of a man who owns over 200 accounts. When asked how many brokers have multiple accounts, the worker replied, “I’d say pretty damn every one of them.” With ratios like that, you’ll end up at scalpers’ mercy if you’re not quick enough.

There are several reasons why artists opt for Ticketmaster. Some may want to perform at certain venues that exclusively hold Ticketmaster-sold events. Some realize they’ll churn out a larger profit if they use the site to scalp their own tickets. DHS favorite Taylor Swift recently announced an upcoming tour sold by Ticketmaster. Although she tries to prioritize fans by providing members of her fan club with pre-sale registration codes, stories have already been shared of people paying thousands for tickets or their queue navigation efforts ultimately amounting to nothing.

Ticketmaster corners fans into an unfair monopoly. But sometimes they are the only option. In that case, it’s worth trying to beat the queue and the brokers instead of giving in to their nonsense. Here are some tricks to help you outwit the disadvantage so you’re at the show instead of at home moodily scrolling through Tweets about how incredible it was while blasting the Wide Awake in America version of “Bad.”* (*Not based on personal experience.)

Fan Clubs

As mentioned before, joining an artist’s fan club provides you with early access codes that can give you the extra edge in time. Or, rather than forking out the money to join a club, check social media for kind people sharing presale codes.

App > Website

RadioTimes found that it’s quicker to navigate the queue if you buy your tickets through the Ticketmaster app rather than the website. People have suggested that “Ticketmaster prioritizes mobile sales because scalping bots don’t work on mobile devices.” Plus, you don’t have to go through CAPTCHA tests and other human-proving tests on the app.

Multi-Screen Operation

As Vulture explains, using multiple tabs in one browser to aim at one event can trigger bot sensors. Make it a family affair; set up multiple browsers and devices that search the same event as different placeholders – almost like a scalper. Sometimes you must become the very thing you swore to destroy in order to defeat it.

Rule of Tens

Jump onto the Ticketmaster website 10 minutes before the sale is about to drop. Use this time to make sure you’ve created and signed into your Ticketmaster account; this avoids having to fill out payment information during the drop. Manually refreshing the page 10 seconds before the sale can launch you to the front of the queue. However, do not refresh the page once you’re in the queue. Ticketmaster does it for you; doing it manually could send you to the back again.

Wait A Week

To ensure they generate revenue, scalpers might lower their prices the week (or even the day) of the show. Even if costs don’t lower to their original value, you could still get your hands on a reduced deal. Just keep your calendar open.