Ticketmaster is the largest primary ticket outlet in the United States, with a majority share of primary ticket sales for concerts, sports, and theater events. As one of the biggest players in the ticketing industry, Ticketmaster has developed a complex system for distributing tickets, especially for high-demand shows where tickets often sell out within minutes.
One of the key components of Ticketmaster’s ticketing system is presale events. Presales allow certain groups privileged early access to purchase tickets before the general public on-sale. This gives presale participants a big advantage to get tickets before they sell out.
But how exactly does Ticketmaster decide who gets access to these coveted presales? What are the different types of presales and qualifications to unlock presale access?
The Basics of Presales
In general, there are two main types of Ticketmaster presales:
– Artist Presales – Presales reserved for fan club members, email newsletter subscribers, or followers of the artist on social media. Fans sign up with the artist ahead of the on-sale date.
– Venue/Promoter Presales – Presales reserved for customers of a venue or event promoter like Live Nation. This includes season ticket holders or email newsletter subscribers.
Access to presales is determined by the artist, team, venue, or promoter associated with the event. Ticketmaster facilitates the technical backend but does not directly control presale access or requirements.
Some common presale qualifications include:
– Official Fan Club Membership
– VIP Fan Packages
– Email Newsletter Subscribers
– Social Media Followers
– Credit Card Holder Presales
– Spotify Presales
– Venue Loyalty Programs
– Promoter Loyalty Programs
– Radio Contests
Types of Presales
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common presale events powered by Ticketmaster:
Official Fan Club Presales
Many major artists have official fan clubs that fans can join, often for an annual fee. Fan club members typically get first access to presales as a benefit of membership.
For example, the TaylorSwiftTix Presale allows verified fans in Swift’s official fan club to purchase tickets for her “Eras” tour before the general public. Fans had to register via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform by a deadline to get a presale code.
Bruce Springsteen’s long-running official fan club is called the E Street Nation. Members get priority access to presale tickets by providing their fan club membership number when purchasing.
Fans can sometimes gain access to presales by purchasing VIP packages or enhanced experiences like meet-and-greets from the artist or promoter.
VIP Nation, a program through Ticketmaster, offers premium ticket packages bundled with add-ons like exclusive merchandise, pre-show receptions, premium seating, and more. Purchasing a VIP package unlocks access to the VIP presale for future tours.
Artists will sometimes bundle presale ticket access with enhanced experiences like soundcheck parties, Q&As, early venue entry, and backstage tours as part of special presale offers.
When releasing a new album, artists will sometimes offer presale access to customers who pre-order their album online. Fans are emailed a presale code to redeem special early access to future concert tickets.
Taylor Swift bundled presale ticket access with all pre-saves/pre-orders of her “Midnights” album on Apple Music and Spotify. Fans who pre-saved the album were emailed a code for the TaylorSwiftTix Presale.
Spotify recently launched a new feature called the “Artist Presale” that allows artists to offer presale tickets to their biggest streaming fans on Spotify.
To unlock the Spotify Presale, fans must stream the artist a certain amount in the weeks leading up to the on-sale. The top streamers that meet the requirements are emailed a one-time use presale offer code.
American Express Presales
American Express cardholders have access to special Amex-only presales for eligible events in select markets through Ticketmaster.
Cardholders must link their Amex card to a Ticketmaster account and look for the “Amex Early Access” tag on events to find presales. Amex normally holds presales 2-3 days before the general on-sale.
Similarly, Chase cardholders can access Chase presale offers through Ticketmaster for certain events. Fans link eligible Chase cards to unlock presales reserved for Chase customers only.
Chase and Amex normally alternate presales in the days leading up to general on-sale.
Venue and Promoter Presales
Venues, theaters, and event promoters like Live Nation will often host presales for their loyal customers.
For example, season ticket holders for a sports team or theater get access to presales for future events at their venue. Some venues have email newsletters that provide presale codes to subscribed fans.
Live Nation offers a free Loyalty Program that unlocks access to Live Nation presales by earning points on ticket purchases. Presale access is tiered, with more points unlocking earlier presale access.
Radio stations will frequently host ticket presales for their VIP listeners and contest winners. Fans must register with the radio station or enter contests to receive unique presale passwords from DJs.
iHeartRadio’s presale platform allows fans to unlock presale tickets from hundreds of iHeartRadio stations and exclusive events. Users must create an iHeartRadio account and follow participating stations.
How Presale Links and Codes Work
Now that we’ve covered the various types of Ticketmaster presales, let’s look at how the technical side works for users:
Presale Registration Links
Often the artist, promoter, or venue will provide registered fans with a unique link to access the presale directly without needing a password.
The link is tied to the user’s account and verifies their access upon clicking. This allows ticket purchases without needing to enter a presale code at checkout.
Otherwise, presale participants are given a special code or password to unlock access on Ticketmaster.
When searching for tickets, users will click “Got a code?” and enter the presale code to open up the presale inventory. The code must be entered each time to verify presale access.
Some tips for presale codes:
– Codes are typically 4-7 digits, containing both letters and numbers
– Codes are event-specific and only work for the correct event
– Codes normally must be entered in all-caps
Unique Single-Use Links
In high-demand situations, Ticketmaster may issue single-use links where each person receives a one-time use link tied exclusively to their account.
This prevents fans from sharing or transferring access. The link immediately expires after the recipient either purchases tickets or lets the window expire.
Presale Window Timelines
Presales typically open 1-7 days before the general on-sale date and are open for short windows – usually 2-12 hours.
The order and timeline of various presales leading up to the public on-sale varies by event. Generally artist fan club presales open first, followed by promoter presales, then others like credit card, radio, and venue presales.
Here is a sample presale timeline in the days before general on-sale:
|Artist Fan Club Presale
|Live Nation Presale
|Chase Cardholder Presale
|General Public On-Sale
As you can see, presales allow fans to buy tickets days ahead of the general public. Securing access to just one presale greatly increases your chances of getting tickets.
Tips for Unlocking Presales
Now that you understand the presale process, here are some key tips to access Ticketmaster presales:
Join Official Fan Clubs
Join artist fan clubs like Fifth Membership (Fifth Harmony) or Igor’s Army (Tyler, the Creator) to get first dibs on fan club presales. Just be aware of annual membership fees.
Sign Up for Newsletters
Venues, promoters, and radio stations frequently offer presale access through their email lists. Subscribe for presale codes and links delivered to your inbox.
Follow Artists on Social Media
Sometimes social media follows unlock presale access. Be sure to follow your favorite acts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram for presale announcements. Turn on notifications so you never miss a code.
Get the Opening Time Right
Presales start precisely at the announced time. Log in 10-15 minutes early and refresh right at open to get the best ticket selection.
Use Presale Links When Possible
Links take you directly into the presale without needing codes. This skips the code input step which can save vital seconds before tickets sell out.
Prepare Your Ticketmaster Account
Having payment info and shipping address saved ahead of time expedites checkout. Make sure your account login works to avoid getting locked out.
Use the Ticketmaster App
The Ticketmaster app can be faster than the desktop site. But both can work seamlessly if prepared properly. Use whichever you are most comfortable with.
Shop Incognito if Code Sharing
When sharing codes, use incognito/private browsing windows to avoid code conflicts across your normal browsing session. This prevents error messages or access issues.
In summary, Ticketmaster presales allow fans early ticket access by partnering with artists, venues, promoters and more to distribute presale codes and links. Presales incentivize loyalty, offer exclusive perks for superfans, and help ensure limited tickets get into the hands of true fans.
The system has its flaws and room for errors. But overall, presales allow artists to connect directly with their biggest supporters. By understanding the presale process and requirements, fans can hugely increase their odds of scoring those coveted tickets.
Some criticize Ticketmaster for convoluted processes and prioritizing scalpers over fans. But the truth is Ticketmaster presales open the door for diehard fans get tickets before the general public. While nothing is guaranteed, presales at least offer hope of snagging seats to your dream concert or event if you come prepared.