Get logged into ticketmaster a ten minutes before they go on sale, be sure your credit card and billing/shipping information is correct. Then about at 9:59 make sure you’re still logged in (for example, go back to your account page and see if it asks you to log in again).
Then go to the event page and reload it every few seconds and grab the tickets as soon as you can. If you don’t like the ones you get either bite the bullet and buy them and or take the risk of tossing them back in the pool and getting new ones. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
No matter what you do, get them from Ticketmaster, the box office, Stubhub, no one is going to have them on sale before that time (other than a presale) so you might as well start at home on Ticketmaster). Sometimes some shows will pre-sell a bunch to the brokers and there’s nothing you can do about that. OTOH, sometimes they don’t and the brokers have a ton of people on their staff that are sitting at computers ready to buy up tickets as soon as they go on sale so you have as good as a chance as they do.
There are probably several “pre-sale” chances if you belong to a fan club or have a certain kind of credit card. But those “exclusive” sales don’t guarantee a good ticket, just one from a block that the company has reserved for those particular sales.
I try like hell to get something from Ticketbastard the day tickets go on sale, but I won’t spend more than about 30 minutes. If I can’t get a decent ticket by then, I’ll wait and search re-sellers the last couple of weeks before the show–I’m willing to pay a premium for a good seat. Sometimes unsold promo or season tickets will “drop” the day of the gig, both on TM and at the venue box office. And there are always scalpers somewhere nearby if you want to show up and take your chances that way.
As noted above, American Express seems to be your best bet. There are small blocks of tickets made available for these, and they are not necessarily great seats, but you do get in early to the Ticketmaster website to purchase the tickets.
You could also join Live Nation and get their email updates.
I will note that when trying to purchase online that tickets do come back into availability as people don’t complete their purchase (ran out of time, declined the seats, chose from many different seats in their cart) so keep trying even though it may look like it is sold out. They may take up to 10 minutes from the time that someone added seats to their cart to the time that they become available again if the purchase is not completed.
I just got tickets for Kate Bush in London (I’m in Toronto) through the Eventim (venue) website. There were news reports of all 22 dates being sold out in 15 minutes, but I got my seats 45 minutes after they went on sale. I tried using Ticketmonster first but found it very difficult to try to get in and see the available tickets. I don’t know if there is another ‘sanctioned’ website selling tickets that first day.
At first I was given a notice that no tickets were available. But I kept checking for available tickets in case someone else did not go through with their order. I found good seats after a few minutes.