When Do Presales Become Pointless?

There was a time where gaining access to a presale link for a forthcoming concert or event actually gave you an advantage. But when everyone who might want to go can easily get hold of one, are they essentially meaningless?

Picture: Didier Braviel/Getty Images

I started musing on this when Telstra announced a presale for Michael Buble's 2014 Australian tour. The presale kicks off at 10am today, runs for 48 hours, and is available to all Telstra customers. And there's the rub. With Telstra's market dominance (especially in Buble's target demographic), I find it hard to imagine that anyone who wants those tickets won't either be a Telstra customer or know someone else who is.

Other presales are similar. Many deals from Ticketek and Ticketmaster require nothing more than having purchased a ticket from those companies in the past. The only ones that seem to offer real benefit are those through fan clubs -- but sometimes those only cover the most expensive seats.

What's your take? Are presales still a good way to get the best seats, or do they effectively shift the date for everyone? Tell us in the comments.


    there hasnt been a concert i havnt been able to get a presale ticket to, and gotten the type of ticket i want.
    ive even joined fanclubs at the last minute to do it when ive found thats how you get the presales.
    this also tells me that a lot of people dont really bother even trying to be first in best dressed. those that make the effort get the reward.

    Last edited 29/07/13 10:08 am

    I have found for concerts a lot of people still don't access pre-sale tickets because they're not aware how to access them. Ticketmaster is easy... a large majority of the time the password is the name of their latest album if you haven't got any notification for it.

    The only pre-sale I've found any significant advantage with was for the NRL grand final. Season members get to purchase two tickets per membership before the general public. It's the only way to get the very best seats so it's definitely worth it.

    I think the best example of a pointless pre-sale is Soundwave. All you have to do to gain access is sign up to the mailing list. But the issue with that is every single ticket is actually available in the pre-sale so it could potentially sell out before the general on-sale date. It's not hard to get a pre-sale password but it's also not really a pre-sale.

    I suspect part of the reason for all the pre-sales is the psychological aspect of it - that if you miss out in the pre-sale, well, at least there's always another chance in the public onsale...

    I'd say it also helps for promotional purposes too.

    The only time I've seen pre-sale as something where it was an advantage was Soundwave, especially since when tickets went on sale to the public for this years festival with Metallica as the headline act, Brisbane Sydney & Melbourne sold out within a few minutes.

    I think I may have went for pre-sale when Slipknot toured in 2008, I do recall Brisbane being a fast selling date. But I can't really remember. Most of the time pre-sale isn't necessary unless I know the band will sell fast like Metallica did in 2010 causing them to in some cities add up to 3 extra shows.

    I'm with trentosaurus Soundwave has the best system all you need to do is make sure you're on their mailing list.

    Eh, depends on whether or not they reserve seats for public onsale. It's a way for the promoter to make a buck from whoever is on-selling the tickets (e.g. Telstra would have paid Buble's promoters an extra fee for each seat), as well as broadening their marketing reach for free (Telstra would have paid for its own e-mail/website/whatever marketing).

    I work for a Ticketek city box office and anybody who waits for general public to line up is a chump.

    In their defense, the only reason you would line up at a Ticketek agency would be so you can have a little more control over where you sit, an option not available online. However, that only really works for events that don't sell out in five minutes. When it comes to the general public sale of a huge artist, such as Bieber and Beyonce recently, the very moment those tickets go on sale, it's literally a matter of seconds to get the number of seats you want at all. So, since reserving those seats takes a few seconds, we've just used up the time we needed to be fussy about where you'll be seating in relation to the stage. So really, this just emulates what you could've done in your home a few days earlier and you probably would've gotten better seats and ten minutes to think about it, not ten seconds with me.

    To be honest, depending on the event, the venue already seems half booked before the event even gets to general public anyway, and I suspect that's a combination of seats put aside for companies, (very seldom) Ticketek holding seats back for a second release of tickets and presale.

    So in short: yeah, presales to me are becoming the smarter option to get the best seats, especially for the events that draw Beyonce-type crowds.

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