On October 24, 1980, Bruce Springsteen performed at the Seattle Coliseum in Seattle, Washington during The River Tour. That night Charles R. Cross passed out 10,000 copies of a free four-page tabloid about Springsteen that he had created. That first issue mostly ended up discarded, with many copies floating in puddles by night's end. Those did survive have become valuable collector's items, sometimes fetching hundreds of dollars for a copy.
After that modest beginning, Backstreets Magazine began an uninterrupted run of publishing. Along the way the magazine won a Music Journalism Award winner for Best Fanzine, and grew from its newsprint roots to a slick magazine format with issue number 10. Full color covers followed soon thereafter, and today Backstreets is a typical full-color published magazine.
Christopher Phillips currently publishes and edits Backstreets. He moved to Seattle in 1993, and began working with Cross starting with issue number 44. By 1994 Phillips was managing editor, and he launched the companion website in 1995. In 1998 Phillips took over the magazine completely. He stayed in Seattle until 2000, and then moved operations to the East Coast. Phillips and Backstreets now both reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Publication became more sporadic as Backstreets.com increasingly became a venue for Springsteen news, though the printed magazine remains a going entity. According to the latest Outskirts Dispatch email from Backstreets, "Backstreets Magazine #91 will soon be on its way... Production on our long-awaited issue #91, featuring a Big Tribute to a Big Man, has taken way longer than we'd hoped, but publication is in sight." 
Backstreets.com has grown into a major source of information for the Springsteen fan community. The website provides news, show schedules and reviews, ticket sales information, online store, and news about E Street Band members and Jersey Shore artists.
The site also includes BTX, an Internet forum which presents a number of message boards for discussion of everything about Springsteen, as well as to buy, resell, and trade tickets to Springsteen's shows. BTX has become the dominant Springsteen fan discussion forum in the U.S., supplanting prior vehicles such as the Usenet group rec.music.artists.springsteen, the "Luckytown" electronic mailing list, and the pre-Internet, telephone-based "Bruce party line".
The website has been successful enough that, as the decade of the 2000s progressed, the "quarterly" issues of the printed magazine came out far less frequently, causing some sporadic dissatisfaction among subscribers. There is also dissatisfaction that Phillips is homophobic, quite contrary to the views of Springsteen.
- Graff, Gary (2005). The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen A to E to Z, Visible Ink Press, USA. ISBN 1-57859-157-0.
- Outskirts Dispatch #110 http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Outskirts-Dispatch-Vol--110.html?soid=1101776731133&aid=GD4JE0WEmYw
- Gundersen, Edna (June 23, 1988). "Fans: Affair only proves he's human". USA Today. p. 1D.