Best concert tickets 2019: never miss your favorite musician or band

Concert tickets
(Image credit: Future)

The best online ticket services are a great way to discover what musicians are holding concerts in your local area. There is nothing worse than buying a ticket to the concert of a lifetime and never having the tickets arrive or being turned away at the venue’s door. 

Editor's Choice: StubHub

StubHub is a big player in the secondary market of online concert ticket sales. Like the other services we reviewed, it has a good selection of tickets, convenient features and a secure platform to buy and sell on, but its all-in-one pricing and mobile apps are what make it a great choice.

15% off your next concert when you buy festival tickets (ends in October)VIEW DEAL ON StubHub

We have reviewed the best concert ticket sellers online to see how reliable they are, the information they provide, as well as the price of their service. 

This concert ticket guide will help you find a reputable service that doesn’t charge the earth, so you’ll never miss your favorite musician or band. 

We researched the 10 best concert ticket online services and compared their fees and shipping costs for tickets to a symphony performance, a touring pop concert and a regional rock concert at a local venue. 

We think StubHub is the best ticket service overall because tickets cost less there than on most sites we reviewed, and its site is reputable and secure. 

StubHub’s fees are higher than most, but that is because the shipping cost is bundled with the service fee.

We've done the hard work for you

We reviewed 10 of the top concert ticket websites and checked prices for local and national concerts and events. We researched price, availability, website features and mobile experiences. We scored each website based on these features and compared service fees and total cost for two popular touring concerts and a well-known symphony to determine our rankings. We didn’t just compare prices, though; we walked through each step of the ticket selection process to score each website.

We’ve reviewed concert ticket websites and sports ticket websites for several years and we know what to look for in the guarantees and money-back promises that these companies offer. It can be especially difficult to navigate the world of service and convenience fees, and we took the time to compare them. We read through detailed FAQs for each website and compared the customer service options to find out how each website will work with you in case you run into a problem with your ticket purchase.

1. StubHub: best overall

StubHub

StubHub

The best selection of tickets to a wide variety of nationally touring acts, as well as to shows at smaller local venues

SPECIFICATIONS

Average service fee: 28% | Fee to sell: 10% | Find best available: Yes | Return policy: No returns

Reasons to Buy
Low ticket prices
Easy-to-use mobile app
Reputable and secure site
Reasons to Avoid
Higher-than-average service fees
Credit card info needed to see final price 

StubHub has the best selection of tickets to a wide variety of nationally touring acts, as well as to shows at smaller local venues. The average service fee for the three concerts we looked at was 28 percent. That seems high, but the shipping or e-ticket fee is bundled with the service fee. We found it refreshing that the service lumps all the fees together into a single line item on the pricing details. Some of the services we reviewed listed as many as four separate fees when we tried to purchase concert tickets.

The search engine on StubHub’s homepage is intuitive and does a good job of suggesting concerts and events near your hometown. The mobile app is also easy to use, and it lets you access tickets on the day of the event – once you purchase the ticket, a bar code on your phone gets you into the venue. You can also follow your favorite artists through the app and receive alerts about shows in your area.
Selling tickets with StubHub is almost as easy as buying them. You can use the computer application or mobile app to sell your tickets, and StubHub collects 10 percent of the sale price.

The site’s FanProtect guarantee makes sure you receive valid tickets before the event, and if you don’t, you will either be refunded with comparable or better tickets or receive a full refund. Using a reputable secondary broker like StubHub is a fast and secure way to buy and sell concert tickets, and that’s why we think it is the best service for most people.

Read our full StubHub review

2. Ticketmaster: best value

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster is one of the biggest and most reputable names in the concert ticket industry

SPECIFICATIONS

Average service fee: 19% | Fee to sell: No resell | Find best available: Yes | Return policy: 3 days

Reasons to Buy
Low fees
Great selection of concerts
Three-day return policy
Reasons to Avoid
Can’t sell tickets
No live chat support
Tickets sell out quickly

Ticketmaster is one of the biggest and most reputable names in the concert ticket industry. In our research, we found that its service fees varied based on the venue and artist, but they were, on average, lower than on almost every other site we reviewed. Ticketmaster is a primary ticket broker, which means it negotiates directly with venues to offer tickets to concert goers.

All the other services we reviewed are secondary brokers, which purchase tickets like a private buyer and resell them at a profit. Consequently, primary brokers, like Ticketmaster, almost always offer lower ticket prices.

Ticketmaster offers the best variety of delivery options among the services we reviewed. You can pick up your tickets at will call, order print-at-home tickets or choose flash seats, which get you into the venue with your credit card and photo ID. We found that having physical tickets shipped to you is the most expensive delivery option.

One of Ticketmaster’s unique and refreshing features is its three-day return policy. There are restrictions, but in most cases, you can receive a full refund for tickets within three days of purchase, as long as the concert is more than a week away.

The Ticketmaster mobile app allows you to transfer tickets to your friends so you don’t have to wait at the gate for someone running late. Some of the tickets you purchase through Ticketmaster’s website can be resold using the service, but the options are limited compared to other sites we reviewed, some of which allow you to sell tickets.

Read our full Ticketmaster review

3. Coast to Coast Tickets: lowest service fees

Coast to Coast Tickets

Coast to Coast Tickets

Coast to Coast Tickets has a low, flat-rate convenience fee

SPECIFICATIONS

Average service fee: 18% | Fee to sell: 10% | Find best available: No | Return policy: No returns

Reasons to Buy
Low, flat-rate service fees
Ticket insurance is available
Intuitive search engine
Reasons to Avoid
No mobile app
No live chat support

Coast to Coast Tickets has a low, flat-rate convenience fee – 18 percent of the total ticket price.

Tickets cost a bit more here than on the best sites we reviewed, but that is a common issue when comparing a secondary broker like this one against a primary ticket broker like Ticketmaster. If you’re looking for tickets to a sold-out concert, Coast to Coast Tickets is a good service to check and compare against other online ticket brokers.

If you are browsing tickets for a specific event, you can look at interactive maps for some venues. You can’t see real-life views of your seats like on some of the websites we researched, but it’s easy to find and pick seats. We found the search engine on this website to be very convenient. You can search by band, city, venue or date. If you need help, the company has a FAQs section on its website, as well as phone and email customer support.

Read our full Coast to Coast Tickets review

4. VividSeats: best rewards program

Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats has the best rewards program of the websites we evaluated

SPECIFICATIONS

Average service fee: 27% | Fee to sell: 10% | Find best available: No | Return policy: No returns

Reasons to Buy
You can live chat with customer service representatives
Reasons to Avoid
Some service fees are high

It’s perfect if you go to a lot of concerts because if you buy seven tickets within a year, the eighth is free. You get a 5 percent discount if you see the same artist twice, and there are additional discounts for buying in bulk whether it’s a concert or sporting event. The service fees are a little high, but the ticket prices are low, making Vivid Seats a good option if you love live entertainment. You can buy your tickets through the easy-to-use app or online, and if you have any questions a customer service representative can answer them through the website’s live chat feature.

Read our full Vivid Seats review

6. SeatGeek: best shopping experience

SeatGeek

SeatGeek

SeatGeek is one of the best websites for purchasing tickets because of its deal score system

SPECIFICATIONS

Average service fee: 21% | Fee to sell: 20% | Find best available: No | Return policy: No returns

Reasons to Buy
Each ticket has a value score
Reasons to Avoid
20% commission if you sell tickets

For example, a low deal score tells you when a particular inexpensive seat is in a less than desirable spot like behind a pole or perhaps at an angle where it's hard to see the stage. When you search SeatGeek you even get results from other websites so you have an even better chance of finding an affordable seat. This isn't the best place to sell your tickets because SeatGeek takes a 20 percent commission, but the intuitive website design and comprehensive customer service options including live chat on the website all come together for a great shopping experience.

Read our full SeatGeek review

How we tested concert ticket sellers

We reviewed 10 of the top concert ticket websites and checked prices for local and national concerts and events. We researched price, availability, website features and mobile experiences. We scored each website based on these features and compared service fees and total cost for two popular touring concerts and a well-known symphony to determine our rankings. We didn’t just compare prices, though; we went through each step of the ticket selection process to score each website.

We’ve reviewed concert ticket websites and sports ticket websites for several years and we know what to look for in the guarantees and money-back promises that these companies offer. It can be especially difficult to navigate the world of service and convenience fees, and we took the time to compare them. We read through detailed FAQs for each website and compared the customer service options to find out how each website will work with you in case you run into a problem with your ticket purchase.

We looked for concert tickets  to see a nationally touring symphony, nationally touring pop band and regionally touring rock band - popular enough that all the services advertised tickets for their shows. We then identified a mid-priced seating section at each concert and put two tickets in our cart to see what their final price was, including the service fee and shipping fees for electronic and ground delivery. We ranked the services and made recommendations based on  ordering convenience, service features, security features and customer support options, and we reported our findings in each site’s review.

We also compared each service’s fees and rules regarding selling tickets. We found that online ticket brokers keep 10% to 20% of the selling price if you sell through their marketplaces. Although the service fee associated with selling tickets is more expensive than selling them through a local classified listing or through social media, we found that using an online ticket broker was safer and made your tickets available to a larger potential audience.

How much do concert tickets cost?

The price of a concert ticket cost depends on who is performing and where. Service and shipping fees vary by event and by website, but our research shows the average service fee is about 23%, added to the cost of the ticket. Standard shipping costs also run you an additional $15, though they’re sometimes wrapped into the service fee. If you’re interested in selling tickets, most websites take about 15% commission. However, some websites don’t take any commission at all. 

What are the ticket service’s fees?

All the online ticket brokers we reviewed charge service fees. Some also charge convenience fees, shipping and e-ticket delivery fees. We found that e-tickets were the most cost-effective, with the delivery fees around $5 versus the $15 average fee for delivering physical tickets. Fees are unavoidable, so you might want to consider shopping around before you make your final decision.

Do they have an interactive seating chart?

All the services we reviewed allow you to click on various sections in the venue and compare prices. An interactive seating chart makes it easier to visualize where you’ll be sitting in relation to the stage. Some services offer point-of-view pictures from larger stadiums and venues so you can check out the viewing angle from the seats you’re reserving.

Concert Calendar Apps 

The ticket services we reviewed have searchable calendars to help you find concerts in your area. However, if you want a more personal experience and notifications about when your favorite bands are coming to nearby venues, concert calendar mobile apps are a better option. Once you find a concert to attend, use our favorite concert ticket services to find the best price.

Songkick's free concert calendar app

This concert calendar app is free and available for iOS and Android devices. It searches services like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer to find out what kind of music you listen to and curates a personalized concert guide based on your playlists. Songkick sends notifications about concerts and festivals near your current location and allows you to set a reminder to buy a ticket. This app also recommends bands and comedians that aren’t on your playlists to help you discover new and emerging artists. It displays pricing information, but we suggest using one of the licensed ticket broker sites we reviewed to ensure your transaction is secure and that you can get help and support if something goes wrong.

Bandsintown's concert planning app

This app has similar search capabilities as Songkick – it can sync to your playlists on popular streaming services and send notifications about bands you follow. However, because it allows artists to post tour dates free of charge, Bandsintown is a better option for searching for and discovering smaller local acts. It also has better social media features. For example, you can invite friends to a concert with a Facebook post, view tour news and updates, and post photos of yourself dancing or attempting an epic stage dive. Bandsintown is available in the Google Play and Apple App stores free of charge.

ProductPriceOverall RatingService FeaturesOrderingSecurity FeaturesCustomer ServiceAverage Service FeeStandard Shipping CostFee to SellMobile AppInteractive Seating ChartFind Best AvailableSecure Online TransactionTicket InsuranceNational AssociationReturn PolicyPhone & Email SupportLive Chat
StubHub Concert TicketsView Deal4.5/5810101028%Service Fee10%No Returns
Vivid SeatsView Deal4.5/596.8101027%14.9510%-No Returns
Ticketmaster Concert TicketsView Deal4.5/58106.81019%14.95No Resell-3 Days-
SeatGeekView Deal4/59.36.86.81021%1520%--No Returns
Ticket LiquidatorView Deal4/59.556.81025%1510%--No Returns
RazorgatorView Deal3.5/58.556.81025%16.9515%--No Returns
TicketCity Concert TicketsView Deal3/56.356.81025%14.95No Resell--No Returns
TicketsNow Concert TicketsView Deal3/5106.81020%14.9515%----No Returns
Coast to Coast TicketsView Deal3/58.33.36.8518%15No Resell---No Returns-
GoTicketsView Deal2/563.33.3523%20No Resell----No Returns-