I’ve had another article published over at flisolo.com.
It seems to be getting harder to find tickets to sought-after events without resorting to touts and scalpers. But if you know where to look, you can snag yourself a face-value ticket without having to plan a year in advance.
Stay tuned for its rant-fuelled sister over at luvmuzik.com …
*edit 02.04.09 – this article has been archived on the site – please find the text below:
How to beat the touts
by Shreena Soomarah
It may seem to be getting increasingly harder to find tickets to sought-after events withouth resorting to touts and scalpers. But if you know where to look, you can snag yourself a face-value ticket without having to plan a year in advance. When I was a student, I saw Nine Inch Nails whose concerts apparently sell out in under 10 minutes a massive 23 times without paying over the odds. And all on a student loan-only income!
Let’s work through this chronologically. It is worth signing up to the mailing lists of your favourite bands, because this is usually where new tour dates are announced first. Quite often, there will be a presale link, allowing you to buy tickets before they go on general sale to the public. Certain ticketing avenues like livenation.co.uk and the o2 (the phone network, that is) also offer presales. As uncool as it may have become, myspace often advertises new tour dates before they’ve been officially confirmed, making it an ideal place to look for shows you never expected to happen. Of course, if you are obsessed with a particular band, signing up to their fanclub is always a good idea, as you will be all but guaranteed the best seats in the house.
The above places should tell you when a gig is going on sale. Unfortunately, the media is tarring the honest ticket sites with the brush of those which resell. There are however several trusted sites who sell at face value, and these are the places that will be selling when tickets go on sale. Ticketmaster, aloud, ticketweb, ticketlive, seetickets, gigsandtours, and lastminute.com are just a few of the agents that sell at face value (plus postage), and will all have their own email newsletters, sent out at least every Thursday. Be hasty, as this is also when the touts purchase their tickets. We Europeans are lucky to have such choice in the States, Ticketmaster has a near monopoly on face value tickets, and this has led to instances where the booking fee is as much as the ticket price!
If you miss the presale, or even the public sale, the best place to look for an honest seller with genuine reasons to give away their ticket is in the fanbase itself. Experience tells me that they won’t want to give away something so priceless to someone looking for a profit, and they won’t offer something unreasonable themselves. Forums, social network groups, and fanclubs are the best places to go for this. Show you are a genuine fan and you won’t have a problem finding a ticket.
Scarletmist.co.uk claims to be a face value fan ticket exchange which, unlike viagogo and seatwave.com, lives up to its claims. Every ticket on there is at the original price, and if you suspect that a ticket is being touted, there is a very simple reporting process.
eBay need not be an expensive option! In late 2006, I bought two tickets to the Kylie Showgirl Homecoming tour on eBay. I bode my time, and won two tickets for £100 that’s face value, less if you include original postage costs. Do your research be aware of tickets that are required to have the purchaser’s name or photo on it (glastonbury, for example), and if possible choose a listing where the seller has tickets in hand. Ask for them to email a confirmation from the original purchase to you as soon as you win, and ask for a photo of the tickets. Remember, they are unlikely to have the tickets in hand minutes after the internet sale! Pay through paypal or with a credit card so that, if they don’t deliver within 40 days of purchase, you can file a claim. The same applies to purchases made on gumtree or the facebook marketplace.
Don’t think that just because a show is sold out that there are no tickets left. Quite often, fans buy pairs of tickets in the hope of bringing a friend, but end up going alone. Events with large fan communities often buy via a coalition if several people want to go to several shows together. As a result, someone in the queue will inevitably have spare tickets come the day of show. Start at the front of the queue and, providing you aren’t a tout yourself, you’ll be able to get a last minute ticket at face value on the day of show.
Fool the touts at their own game if it can’t be made illegal, showing them that we don’t need their extortionate goods is the best way to drive them out!