The Best Time to Buy Concert Tickets

Don’t let your favorite pop star drain your bank account.
Don’t let your favorite pop star drain your bank account. / Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball Productions/Getty Images

Getting to see your favorite artist perform live on stage can be one of life’s greatest joys. A joy, that is, if you’re not faced with ticket purchase glitches, presale registrations that wind up being useless, and prices that surge with high demand, as we saw in last year’s Taylor Swift/Ticketmaster fiasco. The latter ordeal prompted senate hearings and even a proposal by President Biden to make concert ticket purchases more transparent by forcing box offices to disclose the fees and any holdbacks on tickets that may affect the demand and prices. 

There is a way to get those elusive tickets without the opening-day frenzy and having to empty your bank account—it all comes down to knowing when to buy concert tickets. 

When to Buy Concert Tickets

According to a recent study by Finance Buzz, there is a better way to get more affordable concert tickets. It involves taking advantage of the price fluctuations caused by supply and demand. After studying the price and demand of thousands of concert tickets, the study found that prices were 33 percent lower than average if you purchase concert tickets on the day of the concert; buying them a day before the event saved concert-goers 27 percent of the average cost of tickets.  

But how do you get these deals if there are no tickets available on the ticket box office site, or the ones that are available come at exorbitant costs?

First, you should understand “dynamic” ticket pricing. This causes prices to constantly fluctuate in response to demand, which is the same application of pricing used when booking flights or hotels. Demand goes up and down, and thus prices go up and down accordingly. 

With concerts, this is especially true in the first few days of ticket sales. That’s why—even if you register for a presale—you might see the prices fluctuate dramatically in the waiting room or even when you finally get the chance to choose tickets. This can sometimes mean tickets that will cost more than $1000 for premium seats. Some artists are now choosing to offer fixed prices and no-transfer policies to avoid inflated resale prices, but it’s still the wild, wild west out there when it comes to getting concert tickets. 

Getting your tickets on the opening day of ticket sales or up to three months before the concert is costing you more. According to the Finance Buzz study, tickets purchased that far in advance cost 14 percent more than the average ticket price. The best course of action is to sign up for a presale, set a reasonable budget, and try your luck. If you get those tickets you wanted at the right price, great. If not, there’s still hope. 

Where to Find Cheap Concert Tickets

Consider resale hubs such as Seatgeek and Stubhub, among others, in the weeks and days leading up to the concert. You should also keep Ticketmaster on standby—they offer “verified” ticket reselling options, but they typically charge more than ticket resale sites. And sometimes, in the weeks before the concert, more tickets will become available, either through resale sites or the release of additional seats through the box office. These seats come at reduced prices that aren’t often accompanied by a surge in demand.  

Take the case of a recent Bruce Springsteen concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma. reported that the ticket resale site was selling 70 tickets for $20 or less, a fraction of what was being charged when they first went on sale at the box office. If the main box office has a price floor—a minimum cost for tickets—resale hubs may have better deals.

If you do happen to nab a deal on concert tickets the week or days leading up to the event, you may end up near people who paid a lot more than you did for similar seats.