How To Get Sold Out Tickets Or Backstage Passes To Concerts FAQ
I often get asked what’s the best way to score backstage passes or tickets. If you’re willing to do some work, getting backstage or sold out tickets isn’t impossible. But you’ve gotta be willing to do the work.
Low man on the totem pole: Don’t ask me. I don’t get tickets. 🙂
First and foremost – they rarely give me anything. When I was a morning guy, I could get tickets to anything I wanted. I always got a backstage pass because I was probably interviewing one of the bands. It was definitely a job perk. The catch 22? I had to be up at 5am every morning so I usually couldn’t go to anything. But now, I’m the lowly night guy – so yeah, wrong guy to ask!
I’m not going to end it there and leave you without options. You have a few. Here’s my FAQ!
“So if you don’t have tickets, who should I hit up?”
The ones who hold all the power when it comes to free tickets and backstage passes are the artist’s management and record label. They are the source. Any stuff radio stations get comes directly from them. Now chances are you don’t know who your local record rep is. This will require some research. But if you really want to meet the artist, this person is your best bet. It’s a Facebook and Twitter world we’re living in now too – plead your case on the artist’s official AND fan accounts. Some artists actually read their social media comments. Even if they don’t, their management definitely does. And those who run the larger fan web sites usually know who the important people are to reach out to. They often will know the band’s manager’s name, record reps, etc. They may even have a relationship with them. Your chances of success will be much greater if you form a relationship with these people long before you ask for favors. Makes sense right?
“Don’t give the tickets to caller 9. Just give them to me! Say I was caller 9. I won’t tell.”
Yep, this is the one I get the most. From listeners, from personal friends, and even family members. I like my job. This is the easiest way to lose it. Any radio station that rigs a contest will lose their license… which is worth millions. So if you’ve got a few mil lying around and don’t mind covering that risk, sure, you’re caller 9. 🙂
“But I have a special case of why I need to meet…”
Good example – Rascal Flatts was here last week in Tampa. I had a listener message me about a sick fan in the hospital who really wanted to meet them while they were in town. While I don’t have any ties to the band, organizations like Make A Wish and other non-profit groups often do. In fact, before the concert, Rascal Flatts actually went to a hospital in Lakeland to meet a fan. It’s something they do on most of their tour stops. While I’m sure they can only accommodate a fraction of the requests they get, country acts especially seem to go out of their way to do great things like this.
“I know radio stations do get tickets and meet & greet passes though!”
Yes, they do. And I’m not going to BS you – here’s how the distribution normally goes based on my 25 years in radio. Say a station gets 50 tickets. 30 will probably given away on the air via call-in, text or online contests. 10 will probably be given away at live station events around town. Big advertisers may get a few. Any left over are usually claimed by staff – management obviously gets first dibs. As for meet & greet passes (nobody really gets an all access backstage pass unless they’re working), those are done almost exclusively by contests. WQYK does a really cool thing – sometimes the band management gives us extras on the day of a show. Or a contest winner no-shows. At that point, it’s too late to do an on-air contest so they go looking for WQYK Neon T-Shirts. I’ve seen it happen in person a few times. If they spot you and they’ve got an extra, you’re going backstage. (Here’s more how that works.)
“I’d buy tickets, but they’re sold out.”
I wish I could get a cut for this, but StubHub.com is legit. I’ve used them a few times. The prices are high but your tickets are guaranteed. Don’t want to pay the high scalper prices? You don’t have to! Wait to the last possible minute to buy them (you can usually print tickets at home). Watch the prices drop as the desperation kicks in for the sellers who priced tickets too high! Usually StubHub pulls sales at the concert start time printed on the ticket. So refresh the listings with 10 minutes left and buy ’em cheap! Sellers realize this is their last chance and often will just sell the seats at or below face value. One of my Facebook friends read this page and took my advice. She bought her daughter tickets in the 8th row for the sold out One Direction concert at Raymond James Stadium. Scalpers had the tickets listed for over $2,000 but she waited until 90 minutes before showtime and got them from a desperate seller for around $280. (Still way too much if you ask me, but you know how kids are!) AVOID EBAY and CRAIGSLIST! You’re too likely to be ripped off.
“Any other tips?”
– Yes. PUT THE KEYBOARD DOWN. Everyone emails. Everyone texts. Everyone tweets and posts to Facebook. Don’t be everyone – be unique! The biggest mistake fans make is thinking just using the computer can make magic happen. I always suggest using old-fashioned regular mail and real photos. Find the mailing address of the artist’s management and pour your heart out in a handwritten letter! It’ll make a much bigger impact.
– Get to an event super early. Talk to people who are wearing the band’s badges. Those who work for the concert venue really can’t do anything for you. But if you spot someone with an All Access pass with the band’s photo on it, be nice to them.
– Hang out near the “Will Call” window when you get there early. 9 times out of 10, that’s where those who win meet and greet passes are told to go. If someone no-shows, you never know! Generally if the concert starts at 7, the meet up time is around 4 when few fans have arrived yet. You sit around and wait until the band wraps up sound check and are usually ushered into a waiting area backstage for the meet & greet.
– Become a fan of the opening act! Chances are the headliner doesn’t need to kiss your butt – but opening acts are touring with the big name artists to get their name out there. They tend to bend over backwards to gain new fans and social media followers.
– Listen to the radio. If we get last minute stuff to give away or the band plans a last minute CD signing, you’ll be the first to know.
– Follow local radio stations, DJs and the band on social media. Seems like a no-brainer, but watch Facebook status updates and tweets closely.
– Find out who is sponsoring the concert. Advertisers often get special perks like up front seats and meet & greet passes.
– Join the fan club. It sounds so old school in this internet world we live in, but fan clubs do still exist. They usually get to take part in pre-sales to get up front seats. And if you take my tip on reaching out to the band’s management, saying you’re a fan club member certainly won’t hurt your chances.
I hope this helps. Share any other tips you have in the comments.