Ticketmaster offers presales for various concerts and events to give certain groups early access to tickets before the general public on-sale. Presales allow fans to buy tickets before they sell out and avoid long queues when tickets go on general sale. There are a few different ways Ticketmaster grants presale access.
Verified Fan Presales
One of the main ways Ticketmaster runs presales now is through their Verified Fan program. This system aims to give access to presales to real fans and prevent bots and scalpers from scooping up large quantities of tickets.
Fans can register ahead of the presale with their Ticketmaster account. They are then “verified” by Ticketmaster through various means:
- Looking at past ticket purchases in the Ticketmaster system
- Examining social media activity related to the artist/event
- Requiring a mobile number or credit card to register
Not every fan who registers gets selected for the Verified Fan presale. Ticketmaster has indicated they look at fans’ histories to identify “real” fans likely to attend the event. So those selected seem to be chosen based on:
- How often they attend events/concerts
- How much engagement they show with the artist online
- How likely their purchase history shows they are to actually attend the event
The number of spots varies per event, but seems to range from several thousand to tens of thousands. Fans who get Verified Fan status receive a code via text that gives them access to purchase presale tickets. This code can only be used once per fan.
In addition to Verified Fan presales, there are typically other presales for VIP groups chosen by the artist or concert promoter. These can include:
- Fan club members – official fan clubs often get first access
- Members of artist/promoter email lists
- Credit card holder presales – certain banks or cards get presale codes
- Spotify presales – Spotify sometimes provides presale codes to top listeners
These presales are not controlled by Ticketmaster, but rather by the artist, management, or promoter organizing the event. The number of tickets allotted to these presales can vary widely, from just a few hundred to the majority of the venue.
Season Ticket Holder and VIP Presales
For recurring events at the same venue, venue-based presales are common. These give early access to:
- Season ticket holders – for sports teams, season ticket holders often get presale access
- VIPs or members – venues have membership programs that include presale rights
- Suite or box seat holders – premium ticket holders get advance access
Again, these presales are controlled by the venue or team, not Ticketmaster. But the tickets are sold through Ticketmaster once the presale window opens for these groups.
How Presale Tickets Are Allocated
There is no publicly confirmed system or formula for how many tickets are allocated to each presale. It likely varies widely based on the artist, promoter, and demand.
However, generally presales seem to allocate tickets in this order:
- Artist and VIP presales – these can take a large portion of premium seats
- Verified Fan presale – tens of thousands of tickets, but seemingly not the “best” seats
- General public on-sale – remaining tickets are released if any are left
Fans speculate that up to 80-90% of tickets may go to presales in high demand situations where shows are likely to sell out fast. Though only Ticketmaster and the event organizers know the real numbers.
Criticisms of Presales
While presales are intended to help real fans access tickets, some criticisms exist around the system:
- Too many tickets are held for presales, leaving few for the general public
- Scalpers can still scoop up presale tickets in bulk by using multiple accounts
- Verified Fan selects people who often buy expensive tickets rather than true fans
- Artists can allocate too many tickets to VIP packages rather than regular seats
However, most big artists and promoters argue presales are still better than the previous system where bots would buy up huge numbers of tickets the moment they went on sale. There are still kinks to work out, but presales provide at least some way for established fans to get access over scalpers.
Tips for Getting Presale Tickets
Here are some tips fans can use to try and get presale tickets:
- Register for Verified Fan well in advance and make sure your Ticketmaster account is full of activity
- Join artist fan clubs and mailing lists to get presale codes
- Follow the artist’s social media and fan groups to find announced presales
- Use multiple devices on different internet connections to access presales
- Get online and on ticket sites well before the presale starts
Even with presales, high demand events will still sell out in minutes. But presales give determined fans the best shot at beating scalpers and bots to get tickets.
Ticketmaster presales, especially Verified Fan, aim to give the most dedicated fans early access to tickets. Though the system is imperfect, presales still help real fans buy tickets over scalpers and bots. Artists, promoters, venues, and Ticketmaster will likely continue refining the presale process to balance fairness and demand. But for major shows, presales remain fans’ best option to get tickets before the general public scramble.