Being a fan of a musician, actor or public person is too often looked down upon as something that is meant for teenagers and not grown-up adults. But let me tell you, fans might just be the hardest working young people you will ever come across. So let’s look at the ups and downs to fan culture.
Fans like myself, we have two jobs. We have our usual full-time job that we get paid for. And then there is the job we mostly do for free, but find so much passion in. When you decide to support someone, you develop skills you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Editing videos, creating promo for new music releases or like me, finding my love for journalism are just a few examples.
Me personally, I wasn’t happy with how the media was reporting on Rita Ora, so I decided to change that by portraying her in a much more respectful and truthful way, publishing my own article about how she is more than a tabloid headline, promoting her music and values on the radio and using mostly my twitter account to talk about the positive sides to her name as well as share the impact Rita Ora has made on fans and a whole generation. It takes a village to overweight irrelevant troll opinions, but once we start coming together we make it happen.
Fans hold so much power and it’s time to start valuing it. With running a platform I realized that I could actually use it for good and that something greater could evolve from it. I got into journalism, didn’t I? Stanya got accepted into her dream university after she showed them the work she did to support her favorite singer.
“I was told by the school to really thank Miss Bebe Rexha for bringing me into graphic design, which is the field I am studying right now. That was the moment I realized how big the power of being part of a fandom community can get,” Stanya, who runs the @beberexhaczsk account, tells The Tempest.
— Rita Ora | Daily News (@RitaOraEU) June 1, 2021
Amazing right? To some people being in a fandom seems to be a sign of immaturity, but that is because they don’t understand all the work that goes into it behind the scenes. I would not have developed skills such as editing videos, doing creative work for project promotion etc., if it wasn’t for all the years I spent supporting my favorite artists. Back in the days when social media wasn’t a huge part of promoting music and connecting to the world, it was different. Today, I get updated on chart rankings, achievement peaks and rising stream numbers by fellow mutuals. We really have built something special, haven’t we?
“I always loved statistics and when I saw all these chart accounts, I loved it and started to do it myself. With time I realized that I created an account where people go to for updates. It started to feel like an obligation (in a good way)!” says the administrator behind @RitaOraEU.
Nowadays, fandoms often take over the label’s job to make a certain project successful. And they speak up when tabloid media decides to drop yet another negative headline. We put in the work and the power it holds is remarkable. But building a platform isn’t easy. You have to put time and effort into not just growing your follower count and being seen, but standing out in a fandom that includes thousands of people. You have to find your way. A fellow mutual runs a fashion page for Rita Ora, posting all her outfit details so everyone can easily get it themselves.
“At first it was all for fun and I didn’t expect it to get serious, until Rita and her family started following me and loving what I do. And then her stylists reached out, giving me details on Rita’s outfits. It inspired me to continue my work and I gained a lot of fashion knowledge,” Victoria, the face behind @dresslikerita, adds.
And these are just a few examples. It amazes me, seeing mutuals evolve into artistic geniuses, statistical legends and social media professionals. Fan support might have taken a completely new turn and I’m excited to see what we can achieve with it.
— 🔥 Dress Like Rita 🔥 (@dresslikerita) August 9, 2021
As much fun as it is being a part of a fandom, there are downsides to it too. Even though we make so much happen, platforms like Instagram and Twitter aren’t letting us do it fully. Fan accounts are being shut down due to “breaking copyright laws” when posting a clip of a video containing the artist’s music. Which can be understandable, but often seems unfair when all you are trying to do is support. I would personally love to see some compromises and changes to make it work successfully as well as legally. Why not find a way that works for both parties sitting at the table?
It seems like labels often don’t put enough effort into providing the right support and when fans take it upon themselves to promote an artist by reacting, analysing or sharing songs, they are often hit with copyright laws, and lose their accounts. Artists rely on their fans’ support and if it wasn’t for them, their music would not reach the top of the charts. We play a big role in a lot of ways, but it takes a lot of determination to succeed.
It’s like being an unpaid intern in addition to your full-time job or college work. I never would have imagined what being a fan of someone and joining a fandom could teach me and the path I was gonna get on because of it. Besides that, you are internationally connected and you make connections all around the globe. The true meaning behind fan culture is still being underestimated and laughed at, which I believe should change and instead be applauded.
In my opinion, the whole reason you start supporting someone is because they have played an important role in your life. You got inspired to get to where and become who you are today, you were taught things you still live by and most importantly: You started feeling less alone. And that is where genuine support for an artist comes from – besides loving someone’s music and work – and why we put so much effort into it. Think of it as a team of valuable young people who can come up with any kind of idea, create exciting content and be extremely protective if necessary. Do I think that it is about time to maybe open up departments, give us real opportunities and pay us accordingly? Yes. So what are we waiting for? Fix it besties!
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