Backstreets, the respected Bruce Springsteen fanzine, is calling it quits to protest the “dynamic pricing” that has led to sky-high concert ticket costs.
“After 43 years of publishing in one form or another, by fans for fans of Bruce Springsteen, it’s with mixed emotions that we announce Backstreets has reached the end of the road,” publisher and editor-in-chief Christopher Phillips wrote in an editorial.
Backstreets began publishing in 1980, and became a go-to resource for insider information on The Boss and his plans. It had an international circulation and was fan-run.
“If you read the editorial Backstreets published last summer in the aftermath of the U.S. ticket sales, you have a sense of where our heads and hearts have been: dispirited, downhearted, and, yes, disillusioned. It’s not a feeling we’re at all accustomed to while anticipating a new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour,” Phillips wrote. “There’s no denying that the new ticket price range has in and of itself been a determining factor in our outlook as the 2023 tour approached — certainly in terms of the experience that hardcore fans have been accustomed to for, as Springsteen noted, 49 years. Six months after the on-sales, we still faced this three-part predicament: These are concerts that we can hardly afford; that many of our readers cannot afford; and that a good portion of our readership has lost interest in as a result.”
Springsteen concert tickets have long been coveted seats, selling out whenever they go on sale, But the prices have mushroomed to as high as $5,000, putting them out of reach for many fans. Backstreets has spoken out about its disappointment at that turn. It acknowledged that while past disappointments centered on the difficulty in obtaining tickets, “the issue has rarely been the money.”
Springsteen himself made no apologies for the rising prices. He told Rolling Stone that he typically told his handlers to align ticket prices with what “everybody else is doing,” then charge a little less.
But that changed. “This time I told them, ‘Hey, we’re 73 years old. The guys are there. I want to do what everybody else is doing, my peers.’ So that’s what happened. That’s what they did…. I know it was unpopular with some fans, but if there’s any complaints, they can have your money back.”
Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau also defended the pricing. “Our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range. I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”