Face The Music: Do Super Fans Do Just As Much Work As A Marketing Team?

24 November 2017 | 10:00 am | Jessica Dale

'Stan' means so much more now.

When Beatlemania hit Australia in 1964, crazed fans gathered from all over to catch a glimpse of the Fab Four.

Looking back, it’s something we seem to treasure – those images of hundreds of teenage girls screaming outside the airport gates – nothing more than a humorous and exciting tale to be passed on.

50 years on, the ‘super fan’ might be slightly different but their core truth remains the same – they just bloody love an artist.

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, Holly Pereira, Ash London, Brodie Lancaster, Sam Murphy and Bianca Bosso dissected the nature of the superfan at Face The Music’s Stan, I’m Your Biggest Fan: The Under-Cited Role Of Super Fans In The Manufacturing Of Celebrity In Music panel. Here’s what we learnt:

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A Stan is no longer just a super creepy, superfan

Taking its name from the 2000 Eminem and Dido collab, the term ‘Stan’ started out its life as a moniker for a fan that’s just all too obsessed. In the 17 years since, the colloquialism is now met with a positive response, merely just a fan who loves a band a lot, not someone that’s reached stalker-ish heights like the song told.

Why do we view mega-fans differently based on genre?

The aforementioned Beatlemania is met with a positive feeling, but mention the hoards of teenage girls that wait outside the hotel rooms of One Direction stars and it can seem like a totally different ballgame. Ultimately though, it’s the same thing, it’s just whether or not you deem One Direction to be as cool as The Beatles (it’s an example everyone, put down the torches and pitchforks…) An interesting point the panel raised, why do we view music superfans differently from sports fanatics?

Superfandom can have a dark side

While it can be all gigs and Instagram posts, superfandom does have a darker side. Radio host Ash London shared stories about ticket competitions going array, fans harassing her online and how at times, she’s even had to contact parents to ensure the wellbeing of some fans.

Can superfans do just as much good as a marketing team?

While they’re not on the books, superfans do play an important part of spreading an artist’s message in pop culture. Imagine Gaga without her Monsters, Beyonce without her BeyHive, Beiber without his Beliebers, Groban without his Grobanites – you get the picture. These are the fans that run sites, social media accounts and share a whole lot of info about their artist. Sometimes it even pays off, like when Kim Kardashian invited a group of Yeezy superfans to her’s and Kayne’s home to say thanks for their support, to then be met with the man himself.