Backstreets, the periodic Bruce Springsteen fanzine that started in 1980, is ending to protest the controversial “dynamic pricing” ticket costs for his upcoming tour. “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.
“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,” continued Phillips. “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.”
Backstreets was a fan-run, internationally circulated publication that covered Springsteen and the E Street Band through interviews, original reporting, concert reviews, and more. Backstreets won a Music Journalism Award for Best Fanzine and was consistently acknowledged by national outlets as a reputable source on the artist. Backstreets also offered additional up-to-date news on its accompanying website.
When navigating Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” setup, Springsteen fans with access codes to his 2023 tour were offered tickets priced between $1,000 and $5,000. Many spoke out against it on social media, and Backstreets itself published a lengthy editorial lambasting the expensive cost. “Bruce Springsteen tickets have been historically and notoriously difficult to obtain. That’s the nature of the beast,” reads Backstreets’ post. “But the issue has rarely been the money.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen said he wanted to align his tickets prices with the alleged industry standard. “What I do is a very simple thing. I tell my guys, ‘Go out and see what everybody else is doing. Let’s charge a little less,’” said Springsteen. “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 on the way out, you can have your money back.”
Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau also defended the tour’s ticket pricing model, stating, “In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing. We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others. Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, 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.”