A collector ticket is a special type of ticket sold for certain concerts and live events. Collector tickets are designed specifically for fans and collectors, often containing unique artwork, photos, or other memorabilia related to the event. Collector tickets are produced in limited quantities and can be quite valuable to fans and ticket collectors.
Some key things that distinguish collector tickets from regular event tickets:
- Limited availability – Only a small number of collector tickets are produced for an event, ranging from just a few hundred to a few thousand.
- Unique designs – Collector tickets feature one-of-a-kind artwork, photos, foil stamping, embossing, and other decorative flourishes specific to that event.
- Higher prices – The limited availability and unique designs mean collector tickets carry a higher face value price than regular tickets.
- Numbered editions – Each collector ticket is individually numbered, marking its place within the entire limited run.
- Artist/band participation – The performers often have direct creative input into the collector ticket design and packaging.
Let’s explore collector tickets in more detail:
When are collector tickets offered?
Collector tickets are most commonly offered for major concerts and live events, such as:
- Concerts by major pop, rock, and country artists playing large arenas and stadiums.
- Residency shows, such as recurring concerts by an artist playing the same venue over multiple nights.
- Farewell and reunion tours.
- Major festivals and destination events like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits.
- Special one-off events like benefit concerts or tribute shows.
Promoters and artists release collector tickets for these high-profile events as a special collectible for die-hard fans. The tickets’ scarcity and uniqueness add to the excitement and demand to attend.
Collector tickets are less common for smaller club shows, theater concerts, or tour dates in secondary markets. Generally, the larger the concert venue and the higher the artist profile, the more likely collector tickets will be offered.
Why buy collector tickets?
For fans, collector tickets offer several benefits over regular tickets:
- Exclusivity – Owning a rare collector ticket provides a sense of exclusivity and pride.
- Artistic value – The artistic designs make collector tickets worth framing and displaying.
- Potential appreciation – Limited availability causes some collector tickets to increase in value over time.
- Unique souvenir – Serves as a one-of-a-kind memento representing a special event.
- Gift potential – Collector tickets make great gifts for other fans who will appreciate their significance.
For some fans, the collector ticket itself – not just the entry it provides – is the real desired item. Fans enjoy owning a rare piece of memorabilia representing their favorite artist or band, almost like owning a backstage pass.
Where to buy collector tickets
If collector tickets are being offered for an event, they are usually available through the same primary outlets where regular tickets are sold, such as:
- The official box office for the concert venue.
- The artist/band’s official website.
- Ticket seller websites like Ticketmaster or AXS.
- Ticketing apps like Ticketmaster or AXS mobile apps.
The key is to look out for collector ticket listings and pricing tiers separate from the standard admission tickets. There may be multiple collector ticket options at graduated price levels, differentiated by factors like seat location, edition size, or packaging.
Once the initial sale ends, collector tickets may still be available on secondary reseller sites like StubHub. However, scarcity causes prices to rise, sometimes exponentially. die-hard fans may be willing to pay hundreds or thousands above face value to obtain rare collector tickets on secondary markets.
Examples of collector tickets
Here are some real examples of collector tickets issued for various major concerts and events:
Taylor Swift, Reputation Stadium Tour
For Taylor Swift’s 2018-2019 stadium tour, Ticketmaster offered “Reputation VIP Premium Collectible Tickets” featuring photos of Taylor in an envelope-style package. Only 500 were offered for each show priced around $1900. The packages included VIP merch, LED wristbands, and exclusive lounge access in addition to the collectible ticket.
Guns N’ Roses, Not In This Lifetime Tour
Guns N’ Roses collector tickets offered fans a piece of memorabilia from their 2016 reunion tour. The tickets were printed on metal imitation backstage passes, with only 500 made per show. They retailed for $399, a significant premium over standard tickets.
Desert Trip Mega-Festival
This 2016 festival featured legendary artists like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Bob Dylan. Collector tickets had artistic designs recalling the acts’ iconic album art and career highlights. Only 10,000 collector tickets were produced, commanding as much as $4,999 on secondary markets.
Coachella Music Festival
Coachella offered glossy, colorful collector tickets featuring distinctive designs each year. For 2022, collector tickets included an NFC chip allowing digital experiences. The high-end packages cost up to $2,500 and offered VIP amenities.
Elton John, Farewell Yellow Brick Road
On his marathon 3-year farewell tour, Elton John offers Ultimate VIP Tickets ranging from $1,000-$3,450. These tickets include collectible tour merchandise, exclusive tour laminates, and access to Elton John’s team. Only 88 packages per show are available.
Factors that influence collector ticket value
Several key factors determine how much collector tickets can command on the secondary market:
- Artist popularity – Tickets for hugely popular acts like BTS or Adele have higher demand.
- Rarity – Smaller edition sizes increase scarcity and value.
- Unique designs – Distinctive artistic flourishes are more collectible.
- Historical significance – Farewell or reunion tours drive nostalgic demand.
- Condition – Flawless, mint-condition tickets fetch higher prices.
- Inclusions – Added VIP amenities like merch boost value.
While face value collector tickets may cost 10-15x more than regular tickets, prices on secondary markets routinely reach into the thousands. For example, collector tickets originally priced around $500 for Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour ended up reselling for over $15,000 each!
Are collector tickets worth it?
Whether it’s actually worth investing in collector tickets depends on each fan’s budget, interests, and priorities.
They can be worth it for fans who:
- Highly value rare collectibles and memorabilia
- Want to display the unique ticket designs
- Appreciate exclusivity and access
- Have discretionary income to spend
- Plan to resell for potential profit
However, the high pricing may not provide good value for fans who:
- Just want basic admission to enjoy the show
- Aren’t interested in collectibles or exclusivity
- Prefer to spend money on merchandise or other needs
- Are on a tight budget
- Have no plans to resell
For the average fan, basic lower/mid-priced tickets likely provide sufficient access without breaking the bank. But for die-hard fans, the chance to own a rare collector’s item tied to their favorite artist may justify the splurge.
Risks of buying collector tickets
There are also some risks to consider:
- Counterfeits – With sky-high secondary market values, counterfeit collector tickets abound.
- Reselling difficulties – Recouping your investment can be challenging.
- Overpaying – It’s easy to get caught up and overpay in the heat of a pre-sale.
- Artist backlash – Some artists resent high-priced collector tickets exploiting fans.
- Lost value – An artist waning in popularity can cause collector ticket values to plummet.
Doing ample research is crucial before investing substantial sums in collector tickets. Be 100% confident in authenticity before making big secondary market purchases.
How artists/promoters view collector tickets
Artist and promoter opinions on collector tickets run the gamut:
Some see upscale collector tickets as:
- Rewarding loyal superfans with a special experience.
- Offering fans who can pay more an elevated concert enjoyment.
- Capturing maximum revenue for hot shows with high demand.
- Creating a fun art canvas celebrating the event.
- Generating publicity and media coverage.
Others criticize collector tickets as:
- Exploiting fan loyalty for disproportionate profits.
- Prizing money over equality among admirers.
- Excluding less affluent fans.
- Going against rock/pop’s equal access spirit.
- Encouraging scalping and resale markups.
Given these concerns, some acts like Pearl Jam have fought collector tickets or tried implementing ticket price caps. Still, most artists participate in collector ticket programs willingly today as promoters pitch them as an audience “upgrade” option.
How fans ultimately perceive collector tickets also impacts their enduring appeal and market value. Special offerings scorned as naked greed may struggle long-term.
The future of collector tickets
Looking ahead, collector tickets likely have firm staying power for blockbuster concerts and events, but may evolve in new directions:
- Higher tech – More digital features, NFC, live video, etc. could be integrated.
- Targeted themes – Packages may cater to niche superfans of a band, song, album, etc.
- Sustainability – Eco-conscious packaging and materials could be emphasized.
- Aftermarket regulation – Policies restricting resale profitability may increase.
- Competition – Alternate luxury fan packages and products may arise.
As artists, promoters, and fans navigate how to make collector tickets purposeful and sustainable, they will remain an opportunity for serious live music aficionados to display their dedication in a tangible way.
In the world of live entertainment, collector tickets occupy a unique space between passion and profit. For fans who value memorable keepsakes and access over affordability, collector tickets represent the ultimate concert souvenir. While critics deride their exclusivity and pricing, most artists and promoters enthusiastically embrace them as a way to reward loyal supporters. Looking ahead, collector ticket offerings seem poised to increase, even as their target audience may narrow to only the most devoted superfans. But for this niche, collector tickets deliver emotional, aesthetic, and potentially financial value unlikely to dissipate anytime soon.