How to improve your chances of getting iTunes festival tickets

A few years ago Apple’s month long iTunes Festival was a beautiful thing.  All the headliners were either artists on the cusp of greatness or heroes making a comeback.  It was held at Koko and you could pretty much get a free ticket for any show you applied for… oh how times have changed.

Now at Camden’s Roundhouse the line-up is a stellar who’s who of popular music.  Headliners at the festival now are people who could sell out the O2, and getting a ticket has become nigh on impossible.

The iTunes Festival is NOT about the fans.  Do not believe any PR or such you read, this is no thank you for collectively spending millions of pounds with them each month, this is not the people’s music festival because tickets are free; No! This is not about us, the music fans.  The iTunes Festival is about Apple flexing their muscles.  A gentle reminder to the music industry who is top dog right now and warning to any naysayers to fall in line.

The iTunes Festival is not about music, it is about business; pure and simple. I’m not complaining because a free gig is a free gig and the line-ups are sensational.  However, the success of the festival means even more people apply for each draw making it almost impossible to be there.

When you break it down there are not actually that many tickets which fall in to the draw.  Once you take out the 200 The Evening Standard will get for each gig, the easy 100+ going to every press music  writer and blogger (except me!).  Then the enormous amount of corporate tickets… talk to people there and you’ll hear is “oh I’m so and so’s son/daughter”. In total only 160 prizes for each show, not much when you think about the size of the Roundhouse.

Over the years I have learned a few tips to help improve my chances of getting a ticket which I thought I’d share to hopefully help improve your luck too.

#1: Only apply for shows you want to go to

I know the temptation is to apply for everything in the hope you get something.  Last year’s T&Cs suggested if you were picked in the ballot once you could not win tickets for future gigs.  This year’s T&Cs are similarly vague. Each year there are some absolute stinkers no-one is interested in.  If you apply for everything, odds are you’ll be selected for that show simply because no one else was interested and you won’t be able to see anything else.  The T&Cs don’t explicitly state that, more a suggestion, however I wouldn’t the risk.

#2: Stalk the site and apply early

Once again, I got this one from the T&Cs which state – “From mid July 2012 until the end of the relevant Promotion Period, once per week, an equal number of winners will be drawn from the pool of entries so far…”.  The earlier you apply the more of those weekly prize draws you will be entered in to,  simples.

#3: Follow the warm-up act

This is probably you best chance of getting tickets.  Each support act is given tickets, and I think for the non-headliners at least, a proportion of these have to be given away in a competition.  While last year a lot of the support acts were as big (if not bigger) than the headliners not everyone was already massive.  If you target the smaller bands that is your best opportunity.

I know this works as it secured me tickets to see Paulo Nuttini 2009.  At the time I was a big fan of Marina & The Diamonds (his support act) and on her mailing list.  She ran a competition, I applied and a few days later Apple e-mailed me with tickets.  I bumped in to a few people at the show who had also got their tickets that way.  Her mailing list was probably pretty small those days so our odds of winning were greatly improved; i.e. 1/100 on a small bands mailing list vs. 1/1,000 in the main draw

If I think of any more tips I’ll add them to the post.  This year’s month long festival is in September because of a little event going on in London in July/August.  The website is already open so get applying and I wish you luck… any spare +1s, just let me know!


4 thoughts on “How to improve your chances of getting iTunes festival tickets

  1. Looks like they quietly put ticket applications in the iTunes store this year too. Appears to be different T&Cs from the app, so possibly two different ticket opportunities. Double your chances that way maybe? I’m certainly gonna try. Can’t hurt. Just click on their link on your laptop and it takes you right there in the store. (

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