I got pre-sale tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour – here’s how you can too

Be flexible, don’t be picky, don’t refresh and make sure you’re signed into Ticketmaster

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s getting concert tickets. In May, I was just a few feet away from Beyoncé as she performed her Renaissance world tour. I didn’t even have to wait in a queue for my Glastonbury 2023 tickets. And today – in perhaps my greatest accomplishment yet – I secured tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour. Obviously, I’m feeling very smug.

Dubbed “The Great War” by Swifties, after one of Swift’s songs from her 2022 album Midnights, buying a ticket to this show is one of – if not the – toughest battles in live music history.

When tickets for the North American leg of the tour were released late last year it was an unmitigated disaster and her fanbase ended up taking legal action against the monopolistic iron fist Ticketmaster held over the sale. Three and a half million people registered to buy tickets, with only 1.5 million receiving access codes. After that, everything that could go wrong, did: codes didn’t work, users were thrown out of queues, scalpers easily bought tickets to sell them on at an extortionate rate – at one point, the entire sale was paused due to “extraordinarily high demands” on Ticketmaster’s server.

To combat another catastrophe, Swift’s team has taken steps to make the sale of European tour tickets easier – but it is certainly not simpler. Codes have been sent out to the lucky fans who pre-registered for the sale; those who missed out are on a waiting list for certain dates. Sales for different dates and arenas are being held at different times so as not to overload servers, and captcha tests are (hopefully) stopping bots from getting through to the site. It’s been a lot to get my head round, but the result was a much calmer and painless ticket buying experience.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 07: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Taylor Swift performs onstage for night one of Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on July 07, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)
Securing tickets is mostly down to luck – but there are ways you can improve your chances (Photo: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

So how did I do it? Let me first say that securing tickets to any highly sought-after gig is 99 per cent down to luck. Ticketmaster and AXS – the other vendor to which my code was ascribed – do operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, but the waiting rooms (which open a few minutes before the sale) don’t seem to consider what time you joined. It is, therefore, a bit of a raffle.

I was also only able to buy tickets today because I pre-ordered the Midnights album back in October on the promise that it would come with a pre-sale code. Registration for the general sale has already closed, so if you forgot to sign up you’ve already missed the boat. Registered and not got a code yet? Don’t panic, codes (and those dreaded waitlist emails) are still being sent out up until midnight on Friday 14 July.

There are things you can do to improve your chances. Rule number one: be flexible. Major cities like London and Paris are going to be more popular, so your competition for tickets will be much tougher. While you can join as many queues as you like, you’ll only be able to buy tickets to one show. I didn’t mind which show I went to, so I waited in both London and Edinburgh queues, knowing that fewer people would be vying for tickets in Scotland. Sure enough, I got to the front of the Edinburgh queue 15 minutes before the Wembley one.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 07: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Taylor Swift performs onstage for night one of Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on July 07, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)
Fans have been sent codes which allow them to buy tickets (Photo: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

This goes for picking seats too. Upon entering the site, I was disappointed to see that all the standing tickets were already gone. I had no idea what the other sections were – I just chose one at random within my budget (tickets range from £58.65 to £662.40) and hoped for the best.

That brings me to rule number two: don’t be picky. Your time on Ticketmaster and AXS is limited to mere minutes, so just go with your gut. A ticket in the nosebleeds is better than no ticket at all. Having said that, you need to be certain that you want the tickets you’re going to buy – you can only use your code once, even if you don’t reach the four-ticket maximum as I found out when I tried to buy tickets for an extra London date, after already using my code to buy two (though, anecdotally, some codes are working twice. I think there’s been a glitch).

Every venue has a different seating plan and not all venues are clear on what ticket you’re actually buying. For example, my ticket was classified as “PL1” but there was no indication of what that meant in relation to the stadium map. This is where you have to give yourself over to the Swiftie gods and just hope you get a seat in front of the stage (yes, there are some seats behind).

My other tips are easy. Read every email you’re sent; Swift’s team have done a splendid job of explaining how the complicated system works for each individual fan, whether your code works for AXS or Ticketmaster. Make sure you have an active account with and are signed into whichever website you’re buying from – the account must match the email address your code was sent to, and the last thing you want to do is have to reset your password midway through. Just use one browser on one device – Ticketmaster can get confused by multiple attempts to buy tickets on the same device and will likely chuck you out of the queue as a result.

Open the link to the sale directly from your code email, rather than going directly through Ticketmaster or AXS. If you have a Ticketmaster code, head to the waiting room half an hour before the sale starts (AXS doesn’t have one, but it’s worth logging on early so you can hit that “get tickets” button as soon as the clock changes). If you’re buying through your phone, don’t rely on Wi-Fi – use your 5G. Don’t refresh your page and, most importantly, keep your cool.

For those still in the trenches – sales are happening almost daily until 19 July – I wish you the best of luck. It will be worth the planning, the stress, the heart palpitations when you’re there, screaming along to “Style” and whichever surprise songs Swift decides to sing at your show. Those who miss out, I’m sorry – here’s a tip especially for you: get a TikTok account… every concert is livestreamed on there anyway.

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