It's the end of an era for Bruce Springsteen fans with the announcement that the magazine/website Backstreets -- a cornerstone in not just Springsteen but of all rock fandom -- is coming to an end after 43 years. The reason for the magazine, which is essentially now just a very active news and message board-based website, coming to a halt is due to Springsteen's recent ticket on-sales via Ticketmaster, which due to the company's pricing structure made some of the events' choice seats completely unaffordable.
Fans were shut out of great seats due to the company's "Dynamic Pricing" -- also called "Platinum Seats" -- which forced the sales into super-competitive market-based pricing. Due to the surge in supply and demand, the prices of some of the seats easily soared past the $5,000 mark -- a situation that was begrudgingly addressed by Springsteen and his management -- but not changed nor amended in any way.
Editor-in-chief Christopher Phillips, who took over Backstreets in 1993 from founder Charles R. Cross, posted a long explanation for the publication to wind down, writing in part:
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.
With 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.
Bruce Springsteen has long maintained that his live performances are the backbone of his career, which connects him not only to the audience and his bandmates, but ultimately to himself: "I knew that the most important thing to me was when I walked out -- whether it was in a little bar on any stage, how it made me feel. Because I wanna do -- find some way in. Some way to be a part of, I guess, a community that was either really there or that I imagined. That I dreamt of."
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band next perform on February 7th at Hollywood, Florida's Hard Rock Live.
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS WORK