Buying And Selling Concert Tickets To Make Money

James McMath

16 Jun 2017

Updated: 14 Feb 2023

The days of shadowy ticket touts hanging around outside concert venues are numbered. The emergence of reputable resale sites has made the process of buying and selling concert tickets a far less murky business.

Sometimes, known as "scalping", it can be very profitable. Indeed, some people do it as a full-time job.

It's great news for buyers, who know they are getting legitimate tickets from a reliable source and it also works for people looking to sell tickets, whether it's because they can no longer get to the event or looking to make money from the tickets they've bought.

Here's some advice on using a ticket exchange or resale service when buying and selling concert tickets to make money from home:

Predict The Next Big Thing

Snapping up tickets for big acts is hard work because they usually sell out so quickly. There is an advantage in that you can pretty much guarantee a profit on the resale and you should have no trouble in shifting your tickets.

For example, a standing ticket to see Justin Bieber at the O2 in London last year would have set you back £45 before fees. However, a sale was made on StubHub for the same show for £1,300 - that's a profit of 2,789 per cent.

At the same venue, Adele tickets that were £95 were being sold for 2,129 per cent higher.

But it's not just the big acts who can make you some money through scalping. If you've got your finger on the pulse when it comes to music, you might be able to pick out some smaller acts for whom demand will soar in the build-up to the concert.

An example of this from 2016 was Jess Glynne's gig at the O2 Brixton Academy. Face-value tickets were £19.50 when she announced the show but a series of chart hits in the build-up to the concert meant tickets went for as much as £1,000 on StubHub - an increase of £5,028.

Beat The System

One of the main issues when trying to buy concert tickets is actually getting your hands on them - especially for the bigger artists. Most of us have been stuck in a queue to order over the phone or waiting for a never-ending page refresh online.

After all, this is often why the value of tickets soars so high - even super-fans have trouble getting tickets for their favourite artists. It's why scalping can be so profitable.

There are some tips and tricks you can try to increase your chances of landing the tickets you want.

  • Priority sales: Many events will go on sale to priority customers before the general release date. This usually a sponsor partnership. For example, O2 mobile customers can often get priority tickets for events at O2 venues a day before they go on general sale. It's worth looking out for agreements like this and taking advantage.
  • Join fan clubs: Another way of buying and selling concert tickets to make money in advance is to be part of a fan club. Members are often allowed to buy tickets in advance or even invited to special low-key performances for which ticket demand can be huge. If nothing else, it's worth being on the mailing list so you're on the ball when it comes to general sales. Another site worth keeping an eye on is BeatTheTouts - a fan site dedicated to publishing tour dates in advance.
  • Follow artists on Twitter: Not quite as close as being in the fan club, but following artists on social media is also a good idea. Shows are likely to be announced to the wider public here first and there's also the chance that pre-sale information will be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
  • Create accounts at ticket sites: This is something you should definitely do well in advance of the tickets going on sale. Find out where the tickets will be sold - for example, Ticketmaster and the venue box office - and register an account with your address and payment details. This will help speed up the process of buying a ticket when they go on sale.
  • Multiple devices: When the big day arrives, get yourself set up in plenty of time with as many devices as possible. Get your tablet, laptop, phone and whatever else you can grab logged in and ready to purchase. It's also a good idea to have one logged in using a mobile network as well as your home network to give yourself an even better chance. This is particularly important if you're trying to buy multiple tickets (for example two batches of four).
  • Go direct: If you're struggling with the big ticket-selling sites, try buying directly from the venue. Many venues will have an allocation of tickets but fewer people will think to use the box office as a channel to buy tickets.
  • Persevere: If you're greeted by the dreaded 'sold out' sign, don't believe it. Events can appear sold out within minutes, but the chances are some users will have reserved tickets in their basket but then not completed the purchase. This means tickets can suddenly appear available again hours or even days after they initially went on sale.

Pick The Best Platform

Having actually secured your tickets, the next step is to list them for sale. When it comes to buying and selling concert tickets to make money, there's a few options. These are all reputable sites, with guarantees in place to protect both the buyer and the seller.

  • StubHub - launched in San Fransico in 2000, now serving the US, UK Canada and Germany.
  • Viagogo - founded in 2006 by the co-founder of StubHub.
  • GetMeIn - A ticket exchange taken over by Ticketmaster in 2009.
  • SeatWave - Launched in London in 2006 by Joe Cohen, formerly of Ticketmaster.

Each has their own selling points, with the amount of events, type of events, ticket availability, commission and delivery charges being factors to consider. Over time, you will figure out which is your favourite but these are the most established ticket resellers and therefore the best place to start when buying and selling concert tickets to make money.

Set Your Price Carefully

When listing your tickets, you need to make sure you select the right price. If you have plenty of time on your side, you can afford to aim high and hope to achieve maximum profit.

Initially, set a price using your intuition - do you think there will be high demand for the act you have tickets for? Have they announced more dates since or are there shows at other venues nearby?

You should also do as much research as possible. Look at what other similar acts have sold for and what fees other sellers are demanding - not only on your chosen platform but across other ticket exchanges.

Finally, make sure you make the sale. When buying and selling concert tickets to make money, the number one aim must be to complete the sale. Don't set your heart on a particular profit margin - any profit is good. Don't be afraid to drop the price in the days leading up to the event and you should be willing to take the occasional loss as long as you're in profit over all.

Spread The Word

Once you'e got your ticket listed, do as much as you can to promote the sale. Share the link across all of your social networks to give yourself the best chance of making the sale.

Get on fan forums, to let potentially interested concert-goers know tickets are still out there - at a price.

You need to think of buying and selling tickets as a business and that means marketing. Spread the word about your sale and that will increase the chances of someone buying your ticket over someone else's.

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