For anyone who goes to concerts as often as I do, the concert subscription service Jukely is a game-changer. Though I’ve been meaning to write a post about Jukely for awhile, I’m glad I waited until now (or…was lazy) because their membership options keep changing and even if I had written something last week it would be somewhat outdated by this point.
Basically, Jukely charges you a monthly fee, a la Netflix or a gym membership, and then you have unlimited access to concerts. You pick up a pass on the app or website, go to a show and check in both at will call and on your phone (the first so the venue lets you in, the second so Jukely knows you went), and that’s it. If you don’t attend a show, Jukely blocks your account for 48 hours, as a way of discouraging people from hogging precious passes and not using them.
Jukely is wonderful, but it is not without its caveats, the most important being that while Jukely gives you access to a lot of shows, it does not give you access to all shows. So if you’re hoping to use your Jukely membership to see one of Billy Joel’s monthly sold-out Madison Square Garden concerts, think again. But a few weeks on Jukely will give you a pretty good idea of what venues or promoters tend to show up there, so you can often predict what’s going to be available.
The second caveat is that you do not have access to a full calendar of available shows. Different membership tiers allow you access to shows a certain number of days in advance. A basic membership will give you concerts 2 days out (i.e. you can see Friday’s concerts on Wednesday), an extended membership will show you 5 days’ worth of events, or an annual membership will now give you 8 days of concerts. There are also loyalty rewards, so if you remain a Jukely member for a certain number of months, they’ll reward you by extending your view so you get access to shows even earlier. Early access is pretty crucial for the more popular shows, as Jukely only has a limited allotment of tickets and if you’re a 2-day member your odds of picking up a pass to a big-name act is pretty slim.
The third caveat about Jukely is that you can only hold on to 1 pass at a time, or 2 with an upgraded membership. So, as an annual member, if I claim a spot to a show 8 days in advance, I can’t attend any other Jukely shows or pick up any new passes until I check in to that show on my phone. So you really have to be thoughtful about how you want to use your account – sometimes waiting the 8 days is worth it, but other times I choose to just attend other concerts in the mean time and then cross my fingers and hope that there will still be a ticket left for me closer to the day of.
Which brings me to Jukely Standby. Standby is a relatively new function where you can put yourself on a waiting list for shows whose Jukely spots have all been claimed. In the days leading up to a show, members are allowed to pick up and drop passes as they change their minds, so occasionally spots to full shows will become available. If someone drops a pass to a show you’re on Standby for, you get a text message telling you a ticket is available and giving you a small window to claim it. In the month or so that Standby has been around, I have only ever gotten off the wait list for a show once (out of maybe 5 times I’ve tried). I had a 20 minute window during which to claim a pass for Exmag at Baby’s All Right. Luckily for me, I was taking a wonderful Saturday afternoon nap during that entire 20 minute window, so when I woke from my nap I saw not only the text telling me that a pass was available, but also the text telling me the window had closed. Damn. I put myself back on Standby but never got a pass. Womp womp.
To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the Standby feature. I used to always have really great luck picking up passes to previously sold-out shows just by checking Jukely at 11:01am or 4:59pm. 11:00am is when new shows are released (2 days in advance if you’re a regular member, 5 days out for extended, etc.), so when the new shows become available at 11, sometimes people will drop passes to shows they were holding onto in favor of picking up a pass for a show that was just released. 5:00pm is when the guest lists close for each day’s shows, so right before the 5pm mark is when a lot of people drop passes when they realize they can no longer attend and don’t want their accounts to be frozen for 2 days. All of this is null and void now that the Standby feature is here, because even if people drop passes at 11:00am or right before 5:00pm, it’ll go to someone on the wait list.
All of these things make Jukely sound sort of difficult, but I’ve found that it’s enhanced my music life in a huge way. I’ve used Jukely both to see shows I really wanted to see, as well as shows I was mildly curious about but never would have paid for. Having the shows be part of my existing membership also puts less pressure on me to make a whole night out of going to concerts, and I often will stop by a show for 20 or 30 minutes just to check out a band I didn’t know much about. Jukely also helps me learn about shows that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise – such as tonight’s Paula Cole show that I’m going to at City Winery. Remember Paula Cole? I DON’T WANNA WAIT! FOR OUR LIVES TO BE OVERRRR.
I’ve been a Jukely member since January 2015, and I spent much of 2015 bouncing up and down between different membership levels as it suited my needs. In 16 months I’ve spent approximately $467 on Jukely membership fees, and attended $1,472 worth of shows. This doesn’t even count the times where I’ve had a Jukely membership with a +1, where I was able to bring a friend without any additional cost. Last year I brought a friend to one day of Electric Zoo, which right there is another $150 of value on its own.
My annual subscription is up in December, and I’m likely just going to downgrade to a monthly membership when that happens. It’s a few more dollars per month but because I’ve been a Jukely member for a long time, my viewing window will remain exactly the same due to the loyalty program. Plus, I’ll have the option to upgrade to 2 passes for a month at a time, if I want. As an annual member, upgrading to 2 passes would impact the remaining 8 months of my membership, so they’d charge me a decent chunk of money that I’m not willing to part with.
Jukely is available in a ton of different cities, and while I have yet to use it elsewhere, I imagine that I will at least use it in Philadelphia at some point this year. It’s really opened up option for me (especially having pre-paid for a year’s worth of service) and I’ve gotten some awesome new concert experiences out of it. Hooray!