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As this question comes up time and time again, I've decided to make a definitive post about how international fans can purchase tickets to SCANDAL concerts in Japan + the pros and cons to each option.
Aside from personally joining their fan clubs SCANDAL MANIA or CLUB SCANDAL, which can be pretty difficult to begin with, you basically have these options:
1) Try for tickets through a pre-sale lottery or the general sale
2) Ask a friend in Japan to buy you a ticket
3) Buy tickets from auctions/ticket reselling sites (*Might not be an option in the near future so this is no longer recommended; will be explained)
■How concert tickets work in Japan
It is known that the best tickets are usually always allocated to SCANDAL MANIA members.
・Standing-room only venues
These venues do not have any seats, but unlike similar venues in other countries where the earlier you get there the better your chances are of being close to the stage, the number on your ticket determines when you will enter the venue + your location in the crowd.
Most tickets either have two different sets of numbers: a group number/letter and another number that determines your place within that group, or just one number. Basically, the lower your numbers are, the closer you'll be to the stage.
-In the case of two sets of numbers: If you get "Group 2, number 151" (in Japanese that would look like "2組 151番"), that means that you would need to wait until the entirety of Group 1 goes in first, and then you would be the 151st person to enter with Group 2.
-In the case of one set of numbers: If you get "＃27" (in Japanese that would look like "27番"), that means that you'd be the 27th person to enter the venue.
Seated venues mean that every ticketholder will have a seat. For these venues, your ticket will typically have three sets of numbers: a floor number or section number, a row number, and a seat number.
For example: If you get "First floor, row 12, seat 5" (in Japanese that would look like "1階 12列 5番"), you would be on the first floor of the venue in seat ＃5 of the 12th row.
■Types of ticket sales
When ticket sales are announced for SCANDAL concerts, they typically include:
1. Fan club pre-sales
2. LINE pre-sale
3. SCANDAL's official site pre-sale
4. General sales
They all begin and end at different times, and they're usually held in the same chronological order as I posted those in. You can actually try to get tickets for most of the sales! The only pre-sales you may not join are, of course, the fan club ones if you are not a member.
■What are ticket pre-sales? + How to enter them
The ticket pre-sales are lotteries. This technically means that you are not guaranteed a ticket; you either win them, or you don't. Supposedly, the amount of tickets and how they are allocated for each sale is "determined by an undisclosed algorithm." However, with SCANDAL, it seems to always mean that you DO win tickets.
If you'd like to try for the public pre-sales and do not have a friend in Japan you can ask, you'd have to have a shopping service enter you. Again, tickets are technically not guaranteed because it is a lottery. But, if you do get them, at least you'd only be paying face value for the tickets, plus applicable shopping service fees.
Most people go through services such as Rinkya, FDJP, FromJapan, Japan Concert Tickets, etc. If you have used any of these services (ones not listed as well), please feel free to leave a comment if you would like to recommend/review them.
How you would enter them is to send your choice of shopping service a link to the sale (more info on where to find them can be found further down in this post), tell them how many tickets you'd like, and they will help you sign up for it.
When a shopping service signs you up for a ticket pre-sale, they will not know if you have gotten tickets until the pre-sale they entered you into has ended and they have received the results. They will inform you after this.
A shopping service can easily get you a ticket through a general sale (assuming that the show is not already sold out). You either should manually find the links to specific concert(s) you want tickets for by searching the major ticket sites yourself (links to them are posted further down), or you can probably just tell the shopping service to find you tickets for which concert(s) you want to go to and they will most likely find them for you.
■Pros and cons of purchasing through pre-sales (lotteries) + general sale
-You are purchasing tickets via legitimate sources (official ticketing websites) and outright supporting SCANDAL
-Typically less costly fees
-Might not get "good" tickets
-Although unlikely to happen, you might not get a ticket
- More on the pre-sales:
- By the term “preorder” (also called “presale”) we mean the stage when you can order tickets before regular (general) sale starts. You can be eligible, if you are a paying member of the fan club, promoter’s club, ticket agent’s club, you have registered for a certain mailing list or you have otherwise obtained the right to participate by, for example, buying a CD with a preorder code. There is also public preorder, but more on that later.
Most of the time, a certain amount of tickets is allocated to each sales phase and the seat location is further away from the stage, the later the sales period. At the same time, preordered tickets are not issued before regular sale starts and are often withheld until 2-3 weeks before the concert. Thus, regular tickets might be physically available (with visible seat number), while at the same time people who purchased preordered tickets have to wait longer until they can issue their tickets (and see their seat numbers).
As a general rule, there is no preorder period for small concerts of rather unknown local and international artists which usually play at small venues. Sale starts with regular sale, in that case.
For all most established acts and especially J-Pop or K-Pop (e.g. Perfume, SMAP, Bigbang) , there usually is at least one preorder phase in form of a lottery/ballot. If the artist has a fan club, members will be informed given the chance to buy or apply for tickets before anyone else. There might be several lottery/ballot rounds and it is usually possible to apply for several concerts and categories at the same time. However, the amount of tickets and how they are allocated is determined by an undisclosed algorithm. Even with a fan club membership, it is not always possible to get all the tickets you apply for. Good seats, such as front row seats are usually allocated to fan club members, but fan club tickets are also commonly resold on the secondary market. Thus, even without being a fan club member it is possible to obtain good seats – although not for the original face value but at market prices.
■Where to find links to the public pre-sales
・LINE: Add SCANDAL on the free messaging app LINE and wait for them to post a link to the pre-sale site, which will be right before the day the pre-sale will begin.
・SCANDAL's official site: Go to SCANDAL's official site and wait for them to post a link to the pre-sale site, which will be right before the day the pre-sale will begin.
・General sales: The major ticket companies in Japan are Ticket Pia, e-Plus, and Lawson Ticket. You either should manually find the links to specific concert(s) you want tickets for by searching the site yourself, or you can probably just tell the shopping service to find you tickets for which concert(s) you want to go to and they will most likely find them for you.
■Buying from auctions + ticket resale sites
This option is no longer recommended because the music industry is starting to crack down on ticket resales. A group called Tenbai NO is against ticket resales, and SCANDAL is part of that as one of the many Japanese artists who are against the high reselling of concert tickets. You can read more about that here.
Stemming from that, many artists are taking countermeasures to prevent scalping. This includes doing simple measures such as ID checks at the venue, all the way to extreme measures such as facial scanning systems.
With SCANDAL, there is a slight chance that they will start printing the buyers' names on the tickets and may make people show their IDs at the door. This will most likely only affect tickets obtained via MANIA pre-sales, AKA the supposed "better" tickets. It's definitely something to watch out for in the future.
As such, I will not go into the specifics of buying from auction/resale sites.
■Pros and cons of purchasing through resale sites
-SCANDAL opposes ticket resales
-Very, very costly (tickets can cost at least twice--although it's usually much more--their face value)
-Supports scalpers and lines their pockets
-"High-priced reselling of tickets is a problem that can destroy the positive relationship that exists between artists and music fans." (Source)
If you have any other questions feel free to post them in this thread.
Also, if you have used a shopping/deputy service and would like to recommend/review them, please do!