The leading Bruce Springsteen fan magazine is shutting down after 43 years of covering The Boss because it and the rock star’s fans have been “dispirited, downhearted, and disillusioned” over the surging prices for concert tickets.
Backstreets magazine editor Chris Phillips wrote Friday in a post on the publication’s website that “as difficult as it is to call this the end, it’s even harder to imagine continuing without my whole heart in it.” Phillips said there will be a “blowout” final issue and that it still will be a presence on social media.
Throughout his 50-year career, Springsteen has long been considered the voice of the working man. But in an editorial last year, Backstreets complained Springsteen fans “got thrown to the wolves, pushed aside in a way that seems as unfathomable as it was avoidable” when Ticketmaster opened sales for the rock star’s 2023 tour with the E Street Band.
Some midfloor tickets were going for nearly $6,000 before resale, with less desirable seats going for $1,000 or more under Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing policy, which allows the price to fluctuate with demand. Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are among the artists criticized for using the policy.
“Six months after the [tickets went on sale], 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,” Phillips wrote Friday.
Springsteen, whose tour began Friday night in Tampa, Fla., addressed his use of dynamic pricing for this tour during a November interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
“Ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also,” Springsteen said. “And the bottom line is that most of our tickets are totally affordable. They’re in that affordable range. We have those tickets that are going to go for that [higher] price somewhere anyway.
“The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’ ”
The interview touched on Backstreets’ editorial, which said dynamic pricing “violates an implicit contract between Bruce Springsteen and his fans.”
“You don’t like to be criticized,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone. “You certainly don’t like to be the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be. But that’s how it went. You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best.”
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