Over the years, management labels and fans alike have utilized the internet as a bridge between the artiste and the fans; and between the fans and other fans who share similar music idols respectively. This has birthed the rise of fandoms usually made up of a large number of people who religiously follow the exploits of their favourite artistes. Although there are varying degrees as to how much of a fan anyone can be, Eminem’s 2000 classic, Stan chronicled the story of an obsessive fan named Stan. Hence, the term Stan became the official title for celebrating fandom.
Nigerians are not the most sentimental people, so until now we thought the celebrity Stan pop culture phenomena could never apply to us. But it appears we were wrong.
The advent of social media has evolved the fandom/stan culture. Fandoms have grown from a passive happy-go-lucky followership of people who like the same things to aggressive cult-like sects. They support the artiste at all costs while antagonising any opposing persons, parties or factions who come against them or their idols. A name affiliated to the artiste being idolised is often used to brand the fandom. Examples include, Justin Beiber’s Beliebers, Beyonce’s infamous Beyhive, Lady Gaga’s Monsters, Rihanna’s Rih Navy. These artistes have
suffered/benefited from the fandom incursion.
We have no doubt some of these fandoms were kickstarted by the celebrity’s management. Over time, the fans themselves have however taken over the reins of the fandom, so from being a mere icon-propagandist tool, they have evolved to become cohesive groups and public relations dynamites.
In Nigeria, Mavin children Korrede Bello, Di’Ja and Reekado Banks seem to have kickstarted the fandom culture. The three proteges of super producer, Don Jazzy have developed large fan presence on the internet which spans across a myriad social media accounts and numerous hashtags related to them. Similar to their foriegn counterparts, some of these social media accounts are country specific. They range from nearby West African nations like Ghana to far Eastern countries like China.
The fans have an active network that links all other members of the fandom together across all ages (mostly teen and pre-teen fans) and location. Updates across these social media platforms are captioned with hashtags like #Bellovers, #Reekadicts or #Dijarians. Some of these updates include back stage pictures, video and song links, mind blowing facts, rare performaces amonsgt other things. These guys are not a joking sturvs.
However, despite their obvious power, we cannot rule out the possilbilty that the fan bases are mere icon-propaganda tools created by the Mavin label itself. Don Jazzy is a social media marketing genius and we have no doubt he took a cue from bigger international labels to create an active fan base for his artistes. Which is almost the same as buying fake twitter followers to create the illusion of having a boisterous social media coverage. However, a deliberate attempt to create an active fan base for an artist will set-up a ready market where the music can always be sold to. This will go a long way in helping to carve a niche for the artist and their music. The fans will also serve as an active promotional mechanism for music releases.
Agreed, we may never get Nigerian fans insane enough to start religious faiths for their favourite artists, but having a growing base of fans created by the label is a starting point. Though their effectiveness can be questionable, especially when events like the Headies happen and the Mavin faction with a supposedly organised fan base loses to a rather crude Olamide side of things. Nonetheless, this is a mark of improvement of artist management and branding in Nigerian music.