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An Inside Look at How Concert Ticket Sales Work

Jennifer Griswold

An Inside Look at How Concert Ticket Sales Work

CREATED Feb. 10, 2013

Omaha, NE - Tickets to Justin Bieber shows often sell out in minutes. He's coming to the CenturyLink Center on July 6th and tickets are tough to come by.

We spoke with Roger Dixon who is the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority. He told us many artists now set ticket limits so people can only scoop up four or six tickets to a show.

Dixon says all people, including brokers, have to play by those rules. He said, "if we see a bunch of tickets being held out and put on the same credit card, then we start cancelling all but the original number on that." He admits technology can be flawed, but says the process does have checks in place to prevent brokers from unfairly purchasing large amounts of tickets.

Dixon also told us some people don't realize the artist's management or promoter may set a chunk of tickets aside before the official sell time. That's not dictated by the CenturyLink Center and other venues.

The promoter will often dish out tickets to radio stations and fan clubs. They'll allow them to give out promo codes for pre-sale events. However, the stations and fan clubs don't know how many tickets are actually out there. There are likely more promo codes than tickets.

Chad Carr owns Ticket Express in Omaha. He wishes artists shared how many tickets were sold ahead of time, "so that people know, what are my odds, what are my chances."

Carr says there are often tickets set aside to bring in more money as well. For example, artists often hold online auctions with tickets going to the higher bidder after the show has already been sold out. Many entertainers also offer VIP packages online which may include meeting the artist if you're willing to pay more money.

Everyone in the industry told us they recommend trying as many avenues as possible if you really want tickets to the show. For example, stand in line at the box office, try to call Ticket Master when they go on sale and try to order online. All tickets come from the same pool so this greatens your chance of getting tickets. They also recommend joining fan clubs and signing up for promo codes. However, keep in mind there are really no guarantees you'll get tickets to the show and some fan clubs charge a fee.