After years of recurring cancellations, live music events are back in full swing, making tickets a hot commodity. It’s not uncommon for tickets to sell out entirely before many fans even have a chance to react. For disappointed music lovers, popular resale sites like StubHub, Seatgeek, and Vivid Seats are a great backup plan to nab concert tickets.
While a red-hot resale market typically favors sellers looking to make a profit, concertgoers can use the supply and demand of a given ticket site to find potential savings. Buyers can take advantage of fluctuations in price by buying when prices are lowest.
But does it pay to be proactive and buy far in advance or should buyers hold out for the best deal?
To discover the best time to buy resale concert tickets, FinanceBuzz analyzed data on the resale market for recent concerts of some of the top acts currently touring as well as major multi-day festival passes. Using data from seatdata.io we were able to analyze thousands of ticket purchases to find out when demand for tickets is highest, when music lovers paid the most and least for tickets, and more.
- It pays to wait to purchase concert tickets. Concert-goers spent 33% less than average on tickets when purchasing them on the day of a concert, and 27% less than average the day before.
- Just under two weeks before a festival was the best time to buy passes — Prices were 30% below average 13 days before the festival start and 24% below average 12 days out.
- 24% of concert tickets and 25% of festival tickets bought on the resale market are purchased in the week leading up to the event.
The best time to buy tickets for a concert
So when exactly is the best time to buy concert tickets on the resale market?
Based on our research, it looks like patience is a virtue.
We found that even though more than a quarter of concert tickets are purchased three months or more before a show, those early buyers are actually costing themselves money by getting their tickets that far in advance.
Tickets purchased that far in advance cost nearly 14% more than the average ticket price on the secondary market. On the flip side, we found that tickets cost 33% less than average when purchased the same day a concert is taking place. Tickets purchased the day before a show were also a good deal, costing 27% lower than average.
Music fans looking for the best deal to see their favorite artists should be patient and wait until the last-minute to buy their tickets for the best deal.
Interestingly, the data suggests that a significant portion of music fans have already figured this out, as we found that nearly 1 in 4 (24%) of secondary-market concert ticket sales took place in the week leading up to a concert. Seven percent of all sales took place the day of a concert and an additional 5% took place the day before. That means that nearly 12% of all concert ticket sales on the site took place within a day of the event.
One of the shows included in this study is the Lumineers concert on May 17, 2022, in Jacksonville, Florida. We graphed out changes in ticket prices for that concert over time and compared that to our overall results to show just how well these general trends can match up with specific shows.
We see a similar overall shape when comparing trends across all concerts, with Lumineers ticket costs hitting some peaks and dips slightly earlier than concerts as a whole.
There was one point where Lumineers tickets notably diverged from overall trends thanks to a significant price spike six days before the concert when prices jumped to $284.20. Prices quickly normalized, however, as the day after that average ticket costs dropped by nearly $125 to $160.45.
From there, prices settled to under $100 for each of the four days immediately leading up to the concert. Two days before the show is when Lumineers fans got the best deal, paying just $71.65 on average for tickets.
The best time to buy tickets for a music festival
Of course, individual concerts aren’t the only ways to see live music. Music festivals allow fans to catch multiple artists over the course of several days. Similar to our approach to evaluating concerts, we collected pricing and sales data for multi-day passes to popular music festivals.
We again found that many music fans wait until the last minute to purchase, with around 15% of all festival pass sales occurring in the four days before a festival. Interestingly, however, our data suggests that those looking for the best deal should actually be purchasing passes sooner than that.
While it is true that waiting until the last minute and buying passes the day a festival starts can result in solid savings (to the tune of costs 17% below average), savvy music lovers can save even more by buying passes a little less than two weeks before a festival.
Our analysis found that passes purchased 13 days before a festival cost 30% less than average, while those purchased 12 days before the fest cost 24% less.
Those are the two days with significant sample sizes where pass prices were lowest in our analysis, and major reasons that passes purchased the week before a festival (8-14 days prior to the event) were actually cheaper on average than those purchased the same week as the fest.
Even better for festival fans looking for a deal, only a combined 3% of all ticket sales took place on those two days despite the significant savings available, meaning that those looking for a deal on future festival passes probably won’t have too much competition on the days when our analysis shows prices tend to be lowest.
One of the festivals we examined was BottleRock Napa, which took place in Napa, California from May 27-29 and was headlined by artists such as Metallica, Pink, and 21 Pilots. Similar to our concert analysis, we graphed out changes in pass prices for that festival over time and compared that to our overall results.
Once again we see how pass prices for this particular festival generally match the overall trend across all festivals evaluated, with a number of price increases and decreases happening at roughly the same time across both data sets.
One notable exception for BottleRock comes 65 days before the festival, when the average amount paid for passes jumped to over $1,400 dollars. That is more than double the average amount of $635.08 paid in that same time frame across all festivals. Comparatively, the most affordable passes for BottleRock were purchased 14 days before the festival, with an average price tag of just $297.66.
Tips for saving while you rock out
No matter your musical tastes, it can be expensive to see your favorite artists perform live. There are ways to help offset some of those costs, however, including these top tips:
- Earn perks and rewards on ticket purchases. Some credit card rewards programs offer bonuses on entertainment purchases such as concert tickets. Using one of the best credit cards for concert tickets is a great way to maximize rewards every time you see your favorite artists perform.
- Find rebates and get cash back when shopping online. Technology has made it easier than ever to save money while shopping online. An app like Honey can scour the internet for discount codes on thousands of sites (including ticket resale sites). Similarly, Rakuten can help you earn cash back nearly every time you make an online purchase.
- Make sure you’re getting the best deal before checking out. There are so many places that sell the same products online that it can be hard to know for sure if you are getting the best deal. For those looking for some peace of mind at the digital checkout line, Capital One Shopping will check prices against thousands of other sites while also finding coupon codes that could save you money on all kinds of purchases.
FinanceBuzz analyzed 22,340 tickets sold across 9,254 transactions completed on the secondary market for concerts performed by 14 major musical acts across multiple genres: Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews Band, The Eagles, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Luke Combs, The Lumineers, Morgan Wallen, Orville Peck, Paul McCartney, Still Woozy, and Tame Impala. Concerts took place between April 9-May 24, 2022.
Additionally, we analyzed 18,714 multi-day music festival passes purchased across 11,183 total transactions completed on the secondary market for five major music festivals: BottleRock Napa Valley, Coachella (both weekends), Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Shaky Knees, and Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival. Festivals took place between April 8-May 29, 2022.
All data was downloaded from seatdata.io which tracks secondary market ticket sales for each event in our analysis. This data included date of purchase, the number of tickets sold, and the per-ticket sales price.