Best Concert Tickets of 2018

Billy Bommer ·
Audio & Travel Writer
Updated
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We researched the 10 best online concert ticket 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 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.    

Best Overall
StubHub
You can buy and sell concert tickets with StubHub. At first glance, its service fees appear to be higher than most, but you don’t have to pay separate shipping fees.
View on StubHub
@StubHub
Best Overall
StubHub
Best Value
Ticketmaster
Ticketmaster has some of the lowest fees, and it offers three-day returns on most tickets. The mobile app is easy to use and allows you to transfer tickets to your friends.
View on Ticketmaster
Lowest Service Fees
Coast to Coast Tickets
This online concert ticket service had the lowest service fees of all the sites we reviewed – 18 percent on all purchases.
View on Coast to Coast Tickets
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Service Features
Ordering
Security Features
Customer Service
Average Service Fee
Standard Shipping Cost
Fee to Sell
Mobile App
Interactive Seating Chart
Find Best Available
Secure Online Transaction
Ticket Insurance
National Association
Return Policy
Phone & Email Support
Live Chat
Check Price
9.3 8 10 10 10
28%
Service Fee
10%
No Returns
Check Price
8.7 9 6.8 10 10
27%
14.95
10%
-
No Returns
Check Price
8.5 8 10 6.8 10
19%
14.95
No Resell
-
3 Days
-
Check Price
8 9.3 6.8 6.8 10
21%
15
20%
-
-
No Returns
Check Price
7.5 9.5 5 6.8 10
25%
15
10%
-
-
No Returns
Check Price
7.2 8.5 5 6.8 10
25%
16.95
15%
-
-
No Returns
Check Price
6.4 6.3 5 6.8 10
25%
14.95
No Resell
-
-
No Returns
Check Price
6.2 10 6.8 10
20%
14.95
15%
-
-
-
-
No Returns
Check Price
6 8.3 3.3 6.8 5
18%
15
No Resell
-
-
-
No Returns
-
Check Price
4.4 6 3.3 3.3 5
23%
20
No Resell
-
-
-
-
No Returns
-
Best Overall
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.
Pros
  • Low ticket prices
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • Reputable and secure site
Cons
  • Higher-than-average service fees
  • No ticket insurance
  • Final price isn’t displayed without adding credit card info
StubHub
Read the full review
Best Value
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.
Pros
  • Low fees
  • Great selection of concerts
  • Three-day return policy
Cons
  • Can’t sell tickets
  • No live chat support
  • Tickets sell out quickly
Ticketmaster
Read the full review
Lowest Service Fees
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.
Pros
  • Low, flat-rate service fees
  • Ticket insurance is available
  • Intuitive search engine
Cons
  • No mobile app
  • No live chat support
  • Less reputable than the best services we reviewed
Coast to Coast Tickets
Read the full review
Best Rewards Program
Vivid Seats has the best rewards program of the websites we evaluated.
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.
Pros
  • You can live chat with customer service representatives
Cons
  • Some service fees are high.
Visit SiteVivid Seats
Read the full review
Best Shopping Experience
SeatGeek is one of the best websites for purchasing tickets because of its deal score system.
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.
Pros
  • Each ticket has a value score
Cons
  • If you sell tickets, SeatGeek takes a 20 percent commission
Visit SiteSeatGeek
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

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.

How We Tested

We looked for tickets to concerts for a nationally touring symphony, nationally touring pop band and regionally touring rock band that is popular enough that all the services advertised tickets for its 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 rank the services and make recommendations based on each one’s ordering convenience, service features, security features and customer support options, and we report 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 percent 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 percent, 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 percent commission. However, some websites don’t take any commission at all. 

Important Things to Consider When Buying Concert Tickets Online

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.

Interactive Seating Charts
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.


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