I LOVE Bruce Springsteen. As a born + raised Jersey girl, I grew up with my mom dancing to “Hungry Heart” in our kitchen after dinner. Fourth of July was not the 4th without playing Bruce’s greatest hits on repeat. I’ve lost track of how many Bruce shows I’ve been to.
And what’s not to love? His music rocks, he’s salt of the earth with his Freehold, NJ, blue-collar, working man family roots and he’s the coolest of cool. Rocking into his 70s, I, along with thousands, were thrilled when he announced upcoming 2023 shows.
What we were not thrilled about was his new relationship with Ticketmaster, which, for the first time in the history of Bruce concerts, used the “dynamic pricing” algorithm, based on demand, to seriously raise prices. And when I say “seriously” I mean some tickets were selling for upwards of $5,000 per ticket.
So how does PR play into this? First, before making any major decision, celebrities, CEOs, and business leaders alike need to consult with their comms team. What may have been great financial advice from Bruce’s money team would have been seen as a death blow to a legend with a pristine reputation. You can’t sing about being a working man, and then, suddenly, upcharge your fans by a multiple of fifty, and expect to not deal with an image crisis thereafter. Is it worth the extra money? To Bruce, with an estimated net worth of hundreds of millions?
No way, and I’m certain Bruce agrees with me on this. But without consulting an expert in publicity/image/reputation before a major change like this, I can see how he and his other advisors may have missed this crucial aspect.
Which then begs the question, what can he do about it now? Thus far, he and his team have done nothing good. He’s remained remarkably quiet on this issue, choosing not to address it directly with his fans. His manager told the NYT, of this situation, that a ticket .”is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”
Whether it is, or it isn’t, a “fair price” isn’t really “fair” when there’s been a sudden + obscene increase (especially when you consider that tickets from his last U.S. tour in 2016 averaged around $150 per ticket).
So, what can The Boss do now? In terms of the pricing, nothing. It’s pretty much a done deal. But he can apologize. In an authentic way. People love Bruce- I still do, of course. And I don’t actually believe that he “doesn’t care about me,” the way other commentators have alleged. I think he does, and I think he’s actually embarrassed by the situation and hopes it will just become a distant memory, and soon.
It could turn out that way. But for me, and probably other fans, if he took the time to explain what happened + genuinely apologized (and promised that future shows would revert back to the old pricing model), I would forget about this blip and happily let Bruce lead me into sunnier days and tons more shows. It’s the price we pay for being fans.
Written By Annie Pace Scranton