Bruce Springsteen ticket prices are giving fans a crisis of faith


Longtime Bruce Springsteen fan Susan Avery raises her daughter to believe that The Boss is the only rock star who can do no wrong. “He doesn’t tear up hotel rooms,” said Avery, a fan from the ’70s who has seen every tour of Springsteen for decades. “You don’t see him on a drug binge. He’s a really, really solid, amazing guy. ,

In late July, tickets went on sale for Springsteen’s first run of US shows in six years with the E Street Band. Like thousands of others, Avery turned online to try to buy tickets. By the time she exited the virtual Ticketmaster queue, the only tickets priced at face value for the show at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino were in the noseband squares. As Avery went to buy a slightly better seat, he noticed the ticket price in his car rising vertically. He paid $800, several hundred dollars more than the face value.

Avery wasn’t the only Springsteen fan experiencing sticker shock, thanks to Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing policy, which uses an algorithm to adjust prices in real time according to supply and demand. Instead of selling tickets at face value through Ticketmaster and then sold by scalpers at significant – sometimes exorbitant – markups, dynamic pricing allows artists to effectively scale their own tickets before bringing them to the secondary market. Is. Ticketmaster compares this to airline and hotel pricing, which can change without notice, although Ticketmaster, unlike those businesses, owns almost total market dominance in its sector.

Artists like Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney have been using dynamic pricing for years, but this was the first time music’s most controversial ticketing practice had gone headlong into its most brutal fan base. The ensuing dust has exposed a growing divide between many performers and their audiences, between the 1 percent who can afford tickets and the die-hard, less fortunate fans who can’t, fast.

For Springsteen’s biggest devotees, it’s an unfortunate clash of circumstances: years of post-Covid incarceration, lack of demand after six years of touring the E Street Band, a lack of understanding of the changing market, fears that 72 years- Old Springsteen will never do a full band tour again.

Because Springsteen has vowed never to make an official farewell tour, theoretically any tour could be his last. And not just for Bruce. “I look at 2016 pictures of myself and some friends on the show, and some people have died since then, you know,” says Stan Goldstein, a longtime fan who has been in his native Jersey since 1999. Bruce of Shore is organizing themed tours. “You look at the picture and you’re like, ‘Oh, she’s gone. She’s gone.’ you never know.”

Fans say they are upset not only by the ticket prices but by the lack of transparency. People like to be upset all the time on Twitter and elsewhere, but outrage runs rampant on Springsteen’s own Instagram and fan Facebook groups, too. “So this is what a crisis of faith feels like,” tweeted beloved fan resource Backstreets magazine, almost unimaginable. Words such as “cheat” and “gut punch” were frequently used. “I would expect this stuff from the Eagles,” tweeted one fan, withered.

Many described an unspoken contract between the singer and his fans, which is now broken. It’s hard, if not impossible, to reconcile with superstar Bruce, who sell your music catalog Last year was a reported $550 million for Sony, and a Carhartt-clad grandfather from New Jersey, along with Man of the People Bruce, has been a legend longer than many fans. Unless Springsteen was openly soaking up his fan base, it was easy for everyone to look the other way, pretending those class divisions didn’t exist, to avoid headlines like this. “Bruce Springsteen doesn’t care about you.”

“I don’t feel like I’m disappointed,” says Flynn McLean, who co-hosts the fan-favorite Springsteen podcast.none but brave“You know, I haven’t bought the working-class hero thing in a long time.” McLean is going to a show anyway.

Fan Amy Demma says Springsteen has always treated her fan base like family and has historically kept ticket prices low, only adding to the sense of outrage. She hasn’t missed visiting Bruce since 1980, but she turned down a pair of Boston tickets that cost $18,000. Demma is going to three shows on the European leg of the tour; Flying to Dublin, stopping for three concerts and flying back is still cheaper than the dynamic pricing states. Many fans are doing the same, though they fear handing 1 percent of Springsteen’s concerts to the Wall Street Brothers will change the dynamic of the show, and irreparably change the frightening bonds between Bruce and his audience. “These are people who feel very, very betrayed,” she says. “We were invited and hugged and told that we were an important part of what we were trying to do with our music. And now we feel closed off.”

The quirks of the dynamic pricing system can also be frustrating—buyers who said they could no longer see the original ticket prices and didn’t know how much they were paying, or didn’t know what their $300 was. The tickets were turned into a $3,000 ticket up to his finger. Hover over the “Place Order” button.

Many people bought tickets anyway and offered similar reasons. I was afraid of losing. I didn’t want to spend the next six months trying to see if the algorithm drove the prices down. Bruce is 72. U never know.

Fans blame the promoters, Ticketmaster and Springsteen’s longtime manager John Landau. (According to a statement from Ticketmaster, “promoters and artist reps” are responsible for setting the pricing parameters.) Many people will tell you that Bruce had nothing to do with setting the price, that he might just be behind the scenes. Is working from behind to issue refunds, that he might not even know about the whole kerfuffle.

He knows, says Bob Lefsetz, author of the industry publication The Lefsetz Letter. He estimated that Springsteen and his team were fully aware of the practice and thought that ticket prices would rise to a few hundred dollars, and had not thought of imposing an upper limit on prices. “Bruce, his only goal was to make sure that no matter how many tickets were sold, he got the money, unlike scalpers,” Lefsetts says. “How easy it is. Is that [mess] Up by not capping it? Yes okay.”

While $5,000 tickets have sparked the most outrage, it’s hard to find people who actually stole that cash. They may be the product of the imposing number one highly porous algorithm; Ticket prices for many shows have settled into the low four digits, and tickets to shows in smaller cities (like Tulsa, for example) can still be found for close to face value. According to a statement from Ticketmaster, whose calculations can best be described as opaque, the average price of a ticket, at least in initial sales, is $262.

It’s been a long time since Springsteen faced such widespread public condemnation, and he seems to have been caught on flatfoot. He has yet to publicly address the issue, which is another important point for fans who are in an unusually forgiving mood. “I think whatever mistake or oversight they made in terms of allowing those tickets to come out at $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 last week, they are worth it,” says podcaster McLean. “A lot of Bruce isn’t going to be apologetic at this point.”

Several West Coast dates, including Los Angeles, are yet to be announced, and with a possible stadium tour coming after that, the drama could drag on for a long time. landau issued a statement to the New York Times This was only making things worse, pointing out that ticket prices were in line with Springsteen’s peers, of which there weren’t many, anyway. “I believe that in today’s environment, having someone universally regarded as one of the greatest artists of their generation is a fair price,” he said.

The reaction likely won’t survive the opening minutes of the first show touring in Tampa next February, but by then, there are signs that Springsteen is beginning to understand his plight. Goldstein visited the singer on Sunday at his longtime haunted Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. Springsteen was hanging out with the dogs (Wonder Bar has canine-friendly yuppie hour), mostly unnoticed. A video of the singer with the owner to mark the bar’s 20th anniversary, a timely reminder that the singer hasn’t forgotten his roots, has since gone viral.

Apparently, Goldstein didn’t mention the ticket situation during his encounter with Springsteen. But if Susan Avery were to run into Bruce, she says she would speak up. “I would say, you know, ‘I still love your music. I think you’re awesome. You’ve changed my life. And thank you for being in my life. But I want to tell you that Ticketmaster’ I am really disappointed with what happened. And I’d love to hear what they have to say about this.”

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