K-pop Concert Tickets: A Guide
Wherever you follow me online, it’s pretty apparent that I love K-pop. It’s been a constant, undying sort of love since 2005 with no signs of slowing down. Everyone has their “thing” that brings them joy through the perils of life, and mine is massive groups of good-looking people dancing and singing to upbeat music in Korean ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
K-pop is bigger now than it has ever been, thanks to the internet, social media, and exposure of groups like BTS into mainstream western media. With that, more and more groups and artists are performing outside of South Korea, and getting to witness K-pop in person is both exciting and probably one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done; and I’m a grown-ass woman with like…real adult problems.
Anyone who has tried to get tickets to a K-pop concert knows exactly what I mean, and you may even shudder at the memories of such, even for shows you were successful at scoring a seat to. For even more of you, you’ll well-up at the memory of the tickets that were just out of reach.
The good news is, there does seem to be methods to all this madness, and whether you’re trying to get tickets for the first time or just need help with your ticket-buying game, I feel like I may be able to help.
The first thing you might notice is that K-pop concerts have a language and system all their own, which is carried over even for tours in the Americas.
Tickets are split up into sections starting with with a P and ending in a number typically 1-5. The lower the number, the closer to the stage you are and the more expensive the ticket is going to be. p1 is the best seat in the house, while p5 is usually the nosebleeds. Also, p1 may or may not come with additional perks, and may or may not cost more than a regular p1 ticket. These “best of the best” special tickets usually include one or more of the following-
HI-TOUCH: You get to walk down a line of the group you’re seeing and give each of them a high-five
PHOTO-OP: You get to take a photo with the members, usually in a group with other people.
VIP: This varies by concert, but common VIP perks include being present during soundcheck, getting into the venue before everyone else, and sometimes a goodie bag or merch such as your group’s lightstick.
Whoever is sponsoring the tour will post seating information before tickets go on sale, which will have a seating chart and prices. It’s always a good idea to follow the promoter on Twitter or Facebook for the inside scoop on ticket info. Note: Be mindful of timezones! If you plan on going to a concert out of state, tickets usually go on sale at the time listed for the timezone the venue is in. Make sure you adjust to your timezone so you get the correct time!
So how do I actually buy tickets?
It will be announced prior to the day they go on sale which site they’ll be using. In the past, and for US tours, it’s almost always either AXS or Ticketmaster. Tickets can also sometimes be available on the promoter’s site, such as Powerhouselive.net.
With that in mind, here’s some tips that have aided me in getting tickets in the past:
- Create an account on the ticket buying website! Add all of your info, including payment, so that it is available during check-out and you’re not wasting valuable time filling this out. When the site yields tickets for you, it gives you a timer to get them purchased, and I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people missing their chance and losing their tickets while entering payment information.
- Use more than one device! I will typically have both my laptop and my phone ready to get tickets. Sometimes I’ve used more than one computer plus my phone. I’ve talked to people who will get a full room of people together, all on phones and laptops, trying to get tickets. It never hurts to have more than one device.
- Be on the site early! You have a greater chance of securing your spot if you’re on the website and let the counter countdown and refresh to open up tickets.
- DO. NOT. GIVE. UP! It may appear as though tickets have sold out immediately. I can’t even explain to you how crushing it is to be on the website as soon as tickets drop and get that “couldn’t find any tickets” message. It seems impossible, right? That’s because it’s a lie. Tickets are NOT sold out. The companies that handle K-pop concerts, for whatever reason, like to release a small number of tickets in waves, instead of all at once. Also, tickets that were being held during someone’s check out process will be re-released if they were unable to complete the purchase. When I bought KCON tickets this month, I managed to get p1 tickets for both days an entire half hour after tickets went on sale. Similarly, I have gotten tickets to BTS and Monsta X 20-30 minutes after they dropped. I have never gotten tickets right away, only after persistent refreshing
I still didn’t get tickets, am I out of luck?
Many people will end up selling their tickets, either because they got better tickets themselves or they simply can’t make the show. If you are buying one-to-one with someone be VERY careful of scammers. There will always almost immediately be a Facebook group set up for the date you’re looking for, where people are willing to buy/sell/trade tickets. Before you rush out and grab whatever they’re offering, talk to them a bit, gauge if there is anything fishy going on, and ask that they send a photo or screencap of the tickets. It’s also best to exchange your money through a site like Paypal that has protections in place in case you do get scammed. Here’s a link with info about their Buyers Protection
What about resale sites?
I know that buying something like concert tickets third party sounds risky, but you’re in better hands then you might think. StubHub is legit, and when deciding if I should buy tickets to Monsta X on there recently I was so worried about the potential for being scammed I did a TON of research, especially talking to people who have used the service. What I learned put my mind at ease.
For one StubHub has ways of knowing if tickets uploaded on the site are fakes. For instance, if the barcode has already been scanned or duplicated its not going to let them sell it. Also, sellers on StubHub do not get paid until after the date of the event, meaning there is little to no incentive for scammers to use it. If the buyer’s tickets don’t work, they’re not going to see any of that money, making it a total waste of time for them.
In the rare event that your tickets don’t work, they have safeguards for that, too. There is a number you can call from the box office to let them know what has happened. If tickets are still available, StubHub will search those up and get them to you, free of charge. I’ve read countless tales of people actually preferring their tickets not work, because they often ended up with better tickets after calling it in. If they can’t scare you up a ticket, you’ll get a full refund.
Though I can’t speak for other ticket resale sites, I’ve heard VividSeats is also pretty legit. I would stick with those two if you decide to go third party, since both companies have a good reputation.
And that’s about it.
After my years of K-pop concerts, personal experiences, and input from other fans, hopefully what I have brought here will help out someone in the future. If there is anything else I could add it would be to have fun 🙂