After 43 Years, Bruce Springsteen’s Fanzine Closes
The respected Bruce Springsteen fanzine Backstreets has recently announced its demise after 43 years.
Due to the musician’s “dynamic ticket pricing” campaign, which saw the high ranges of ticket prices for his 2023 reunion tour with the E Street Band last year, the fanzine closes.
As fans tried to purchase their way into Springsteen gigs, the approach done by Ticketmaster, caused some entry costs for his 2023 road trip to climb to over $5,000. Both Ticketmaster and the Boss’ management offered justifications for the issue, one of which was that tickets would be sold for such prices regardless and that the artist should get paid instead of touts.
Later, Springsteen acknowledged that he was uncomfortable with the criticism, but he also defended his strategy by noting that anyone who felt they had been overcharged for a show could get their money back.
During that time, Christopher Phillips, who had been the publisher and editor of Backstreets for 30 years, criticized the dynamic strategy and said that it had more of an emotional impact on readers than the actual costs. He outlined his reasons in a new essay and it reads:
“A key reason something as gonzo as Backstreets has been able to exist, and for so long — since 1980 — is that it has consistently sprung from a place of genuine passion, rooted in a heartfelt belief in the man and his music.
“As difficult as it is to call this the end, it’s even harder to imagine continuing without my whole heart in it.
“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. … We/re not alone in struggling with the sea change. Judging by the letters we’ve received over recent months, the friends and longtimers we’ve been checking in with and the response to our editorial, disappointment is a common feeling among hardcore fans in the Backstreets community.”
He added that, while there was “every reason to believe that there will be changes to the pricing and ticket-buying experience when the next round of shows go on sale…we simply realized that we would not be able to cover this tour with the drive and sense of purpose with which we’ve operated continuously since 1980. That determination came with a quickening sense that we’d reached the end of an era.”
Phillips also emphasized:
“We have eternal gratitude for Bruce Springsteen and his work, for the E Street Band and the other musicians who have helped him make it, and so many of those whose work involved bringing that music to the world.” He hoped that fans would continue to share “love and joy, the camaraderie, the minutiae and close attention paid, the passion, the post-shows.”
He then concluded:
“Rave on. We have every hope of meeting you further on up the road.”