I hear it all the time: "How did you get tickets? Every time I try to get some, they're sold out; and I was online before the presale/onsale started!" Well, I have news for you... it's not tricky and the secrets are actually more common sense than one might imagine. While there's surely 'black hat' ways of obtaining tickets, I'm only going to discuss the proper way of doing it.
Let's start with presales, typically these happen the day prior to the public onsale; but occassionally are even further out. I would suggest arriving at the website about twenty minutes prior to sale time. That might sound like it's too early, but for presales you'll often need to obtain a presale password before you can purchase. These passwords or codes are usually obtained through fan sites and local radio stations where you'll need to start a free account and search through the site until you find a password. Another good place to look is Twitter, fans and bands alike will sometimes post a presale password or a link to one for their followers.
So now you've obtained your presale password and you're back at TicketMaster, TicketWeb, or TicketFly... whatever the case may be... and you still have 5 minutes left, what do you do? Open Notepad, Stickies, or TextEdit and paste your presale password in there. Why? Because often times you'll have to do repeated searches to find the tickets you want, and with very popular shows, say Radiohead or Madonna, you'll see: "Sorry, the tickets you requested are not available" many times before you actually grab a pair; each time you search again you'll need to copy and paste that presale password. In addition to your presale password, copy and past a link to the ticket purchase starting page. This is the page where you select the number of tickets you want and supply your presale code. You may be lucky and not need to view this page again, but often times, the first tickets you grab aren't the best tickets you can get... so you'll want to let those tickets go and preform another search until you either get the ones you want or you're sure there's nothing else left.
Presales and Onsales
(w/the exception of presale passwords)
Once you've copy and pasted the pertinent information, next decide what price range you want. Some events are all one price, while others have three or more pricing tiers. If you're budget is $90 per ticket and you do a search for "Best Available", it does you no good if the best available is $150 seats. You'll have to let them go and search again, wasting time and lessening your chances of getting the seats you really want. So it's extremely important you know the price range of the seats you want. An exception to this would be an extremely popular show where tickets are aren't expected to last more than 5 minutes, in this case, take what you can get and be happy with it! Most shows do NOT fall into the latter category, that category is reserved for your super events like Radiohead or Coachella. For good measure, print out a seating chart of the venue and place it next to your keyboard BEFORE the presale starts. Some ticket sellers do not have seating charts on the ticket results page, which makes it difficult to decide whether or not the seats they offered you are the seats you want.
Three minutes before the presale starts, make sure you're at the purchase page! Copy your presale password so it's ready to paste. Then two minutes before the onsale, start clicking refresh on your browser. Do it every 5-7 seconds, but not much more than that; the reason why not to is because some sites like TicketMaster will think you're a 'bot' and block your IP address from their servers for 24 to 48 hours... making it impossible to buy tickets. Once the presale starts, the refreshed page will allow you to past your presale password and select the number of tickets you want. If you run into a page that says that your presale password is no good... don't fret! Chances are there is more than one presale option. For instance, a: Live Nation Presale, Live Nation Mobile App, 99.9 Radio Station Presale, etc. Try your code in one of the other presales. Rule of thumb, if you get the presale code from Live Nation... that code will ONLY work in the Live Nation presale box; the same goes for your local radio station presale password, it WONT work in the Live Nation box.
It's important to note that just because you get the message: "Sorry, the tickets you requested are not available" a few times in a row does NOT mean the presale is sold out! It simply means that other people have a tentative hold the available tickets and a good portion of them will be released once the other buyers decide they don't want those seats; this goes for the good seats as well, often times people will pull really good seats and then realize that they're a little more expensive than they'd originally bargained for... subsequently releasing them back into the available pool of tickets.
If you follow the steps above, I promise you that your chances of snagging awesome seats, or any seats for that matter, are greatly improved! Good luck!