Since the Beatlemania of the Swinging Sixties fan culture has dominated the lives of youths.
For many years pop artists have been able to create large fan bases through their upbeat melodies and catchy lyrics. These fan bases, more commonly known as “fandoms” take pride in supporting their artist throughout all business endeavors. Whether it be spending hours streaming music or purchasing a product that their artist endorses, these fans have it covered.
Out of these already devoted fans, the most overzealous are referred to as “Stans”. The term Stan comes from a song written by rapper Eminem. The song, released in 2000, chronicles the experience of an obsessed fan whom ultimately succumbs to his mental illness when the rapper does not acknowledge him following a performance.
Since it was first created over 20 years ago the term has been molded into a much milder version of itself. With many internet users identifying as “stans” of various artists.
Melanie Isaac, a 21-year-old student at SUNY Buffalo is a fangirl and self-proclaimed “stan” to Korean pop artist NCT. Korean pop or “K-pop” is a multimillion-dollar entertainment industry, that has become popular in recent years.
“NCT is currently my favorite group. I think that they’re my top choice because they’re always changing, I never get bored listening to their music or watching their content,” Isaac said.
Isaac has spent the past five years collecting merchandise, boasting a collection that contains special albums as well as out of print items for over 30 different groups.
The 21-year-old, like many other fans, often finds solace in the music of her favorite artist. For these fans, music is seen as an escape from their daily lives.
“When school or life ever became too overwhelming, I found myself turning to music for a welcomed distraction. Without this I think it’s highly likely I would have spent more time agonizing over my personal problems rather than taking time for myself,” Isaac said.
For many, the most appealing characteristic of an artist is that they help them understand their own emotions.
Isabella Leidner has been a fan of Taylor Swift for over eight years now. Following the artist throughout most of her life, the 21-year-old has been able to find comfort from every situation within Swift’s music.
“I think that she has a song for every situation good or bad, she put a song out about her late grandmother that makes me think she went inside my brain while I was grieving,” Leidner said.
For Leidner, the singer-songwriter’s gratitude has drawn her to stay loyal for so long. To these fans, loyalty is measured through streaming on music platforms, buying albums, and seeing artists in concert. With activities being both time and money consuming, many fans find themselves unable to support the stan lifestyle as they grow older.
“She deeply cares for her fans, and thanks them every chance she gets, she acknowledges that she wouldn’t be here without our love and support over her career. I think supporting her is worth it,” Leidner said.
As music continues to be at the forefront of pop culture, fan culture will continue to evolve with it.