Courtesy of MCT
Being a music fan isn’t just being an inactive listener anymore. Now fans act like built-in, unpaid promo teams for their favorite musician. They’re labeled as “stans,” a word derived from Eminem’s controversial song, “Stan.”
I know the in-depth detailed life of a stan because I am one. I’m one of those Lady Gaga fans, the only fan base that has been featured in Time, being called the hardest working fan base in the world. I don’t call myself a “Little Monster” but people tend to label me that way.
Being a part of such a huge and diverse fan base, I’ve come across some of the strangest people. But obviously Monsters aren’t the only fan base that works hard to keep its pop star relevant. You have 30 Seconds To Mars’ Echelon, Justin Bieber’s prepubescent Beliebers, Rihanna’s Navy, Nicki Minaj’s Barbs, Beyonce’s Bey Hive, Katy Perry’s KatyCats, and Britney Spears’ Army.
This separation of fan bases has been looked at as cultish and extremely segregated and if you take it seriously enough, it can be psychologically worrying.
Never before have fans taken an active approach in making sure their favorite pop star is succeeding. While 30 Seconds To Mars’ Echelon has been called that for many years, it wasn’t until Gaga started calling her fans Little Monsters, that the naming of fans occurred.
The biggest problem with all these “stan bases” is the intense and often out-of-control competition that occurs between fans. Spears and Gaga fans are always at each other’s throats, while Beliebers tend to annoy the entire Twitter universe with constant trending topics about how Justin is the “King of Swag.” The Navy and Bey Hive consistently hate each other. Most fan bases ignore KatyCats though, since they’re not sure that fan base actually exists.
For the general public looking at the mess of fans fighting for their pop stars’ survival, I can see how they would label the entire thing as insanity. But unless you’re a music industry freak like Adele, who has no discernible fan base and is still destroying the charts with her singles and album, having a strong fan base almost guarantees you relevancy in this ever-changing music industry.
With social media, celebrities interact with their fans more than they ever have before. This is causing a bond but also creating a façade that the fan knows the star personally, which can be dangerous for unstable people. I try to look at the situation as beneficial and highly entertaining.
I never take stans too seriously, because it is supposed to be fun. There’s a very thin line between loving a pop star and thinking you’re their best friend.