When is best time to sell Taylor Swift tickets for the highest price?

Ask an Economist

I am a single mother and kindergarten teacher, completely inexperienced at reselling concert tickets. However seeing a potential opportunity, I was able to secure two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert October 2024 in Miami. I want to sell them for the highest price. Best to sell:
1) Now? The event sold out yesterday. There are likely many desperate and disappointed fans.
2) Close to the concert date? It'll get a lot of hype in the days leading up to the event.
3) somewhere in between?


[The following guidance provided herein is of a generic nature and derived from overarching principles of economics. It is not intended to be construed as particularized counsel with respect to Taylor Swift performances or the live productions of any other artist..]

What should you do? I think you should go to the concert. 

Tickets are a volatile market. You’ll enjoy the show more than worrying about this.  But, you really want to sell and most importantly, you really want to time it right, OK, here is my sage advice as someone who has made money in the stock market and as someone who has lost money in the stock market.  I offer you two completely foolproof plans on timing a volatile market.  Either is just as good as the other and either is just as risky. Ready?

  1. Sell now. Don’t look at prices in October.


  1. Sell in October and don’t look at prices today.

In short, you can’t time these things.  If you make a lot of money when you sell, you’ll think you’re a genius who nailed the timing. If you lose money on the sale, you’ll think you made the wrong move. Either way, it was just luck.

But isn’t the price determined by supply and demand?  Yes.  But, every other seller knows this too.  So does every buyer. Sell when supplies are low and demand is high, you make money; sell when supplies are high and demand is low, you don’t make as much or you lose money. But every other seller knows all this too and every other seller is going to try and time the market too. And guess what? Buyers are also going to try and time the market.  Some sellers will make a lot. Some won’t.  Who wins and who doesn’t is just luck.

And they'll tell you now, you're the lucky one
Yeah, they'll tell you now, you're the lucky one
But can you tell me now you're the lucky one?

-Taylor Swift, “The Lucky One.”

Taylor Swift is an incredibly popular entertainer whose tickets are in high demand and that demand (for now) seems to be only increasing. That makes you think, “I should wait to sell.” Whenever you have a market that has prices in general trending up or down, but day-to-day you see prices bobbing around, you are watching a market that is incredibly hard to time. And this is a month away.  What if the show is cancelled? What if more tickets are released or a new date gets added to the tour?  The ups and downs of the prices that you are seeing right now (and will see from now until October) are just tips of waves on a high rising tide that are unpredictable. With only a month or so left to go, you could easily mistake a tide for a wave and vice versa.  Timing the tide is somewhat easier. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average is higher today than it was this time last year. That’s mostly the tide.) Timing a wave is nearly impossible. (The DJIA was high on Monday (8/7/23)’s close; lower on Tuesday and Wednesday, and higher on Thursday. Those are mostly waves.) 

Swift concert ticket prices are mostly going up due to the tide. But day-to-day, the ticket prices go up and down and where they will be next month relative to where they are right now is really hard to gauge. Think about Eric Carle’s children’s book 10 Little Rubber Ducks where a box of rubber ducks accidentally gets knocked into the ocean.  Some will bob up on the tip of a wave while others will float down into the trough between the waves. In the next minute the positions change.  Suppose they are not ducks but ticket sellers and the waves are high prices and the troughs are low prices.  The ones that sell high think they’re geniuses while the ones that sell low think, “Oh, if only I had been dumped on the starboard side’” or, “If only I had been dumped at night,”  or “If only I did what that duck over there did,” or “If only I had gotten a PhD in economics.”

But, aren’t there financial geniuses who figure this out? Well, yes and no. Over time, you get better at investing and over long periods of time, you’re more likely to see a profit because the tide is (mostly) going up (but–diversify!).  Most investors will tell you that nobody is really good at picking day-to-day changes.  Don’t take my word for it.  Two of the world’s greatest, long-term investors are Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.  Both have told investors time and time again don’t try to time a market.  Here is Buffett at the 2022 share meeting for his hugely successful investment company Berkshire Hathaway when asked a question about timing the market: "We haven't the faintest idea what the stock market is gonna do when it opens on Monday — we never have." (source: https://news.yahoo.com/buffett-on-market-timing-165102647.html, last accessed, 8/11/23). 


Answered by:
Last updated on August 13, 2023