Every creative has a ‘target audience’, a set of people their work is directed at, leaving no exclusion to musicians. A particular set of people have themselves endeared to a particular music act and form a ‘group’ known as a fanbase. An early example is the Olufimo fan club [the Stan group of Fuji musician King Saheed Osupa]. In those earlier days, it was more of an association with a structural leadership and physical locations, but right now, in this digitized dispensation, it is not structural and physical as it used to be. General meeting points have been virtually scrapped and social media is the main point of interaction.
Every musician’s dream is to have a strong fan base or stan community to stream and hype up their music on all platforms. Notable fan bases are the Outsiders, Wizkid FC and 30 BG. They have displayed loyalty and resilience in helping their lead acts towards the desired success; heavily streaming and purchasing songs, attending shows, buying merchandise and even engaging their social media posts to increase popularity. Every new act tries as much as possible to locate their stans and build a proper relationship with them.
As good as the package of a loyal fan base is, it is not a completely symbiotic relationship; as some “little foxes” creep in to contaminate the good works. Stan groups contribute largely to the streaming force of an artist, most even go the extra mile to keep the songs on constant repeat. They also help with promotion and posting links massively on various social media platforms. This is usually very effective and better since it is free. Strong social media presence also comes in handy in winning awards. It has been seen multiple times – fanbases voting their artists massively to win awards.
Highlighting all these, the package of a strong and loyal fan base is as good as it gets, but unfortunately, roses have thorns, so it has its downsides too. The major problem of stanship stems from the same branch the advantages come from – overzealousness. They usually take stanship to a whole new level that ends up being very unnecessary. An example is the stan community on Twitter, it is a common sight to see a very toxic relationship between them. Different fan bases have sworn enmity among themselves, when in reality the artists are on good terms. This enmity is really bad for the music industry in Nigeria, as an industry just finding its foot on the international scene, it would be better to pose a united front to the rest of the world.
Although there are many arguments for the rivalry (like- it helps in increasing popularity or it keeps the artists on their toes to perform better), which to a large extent is true. “It should not be forgotten that a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Another problem of stanship is the gross level of disrespect stans dish out to a rival artist. Many of our OG musicians have been dragged through the mud just based on a little scuffle among stans. Due to a large amount of misinformation or better still, deficiency of information in the Nigerian music industry, many of these culprit stans don’t know history or the main people that have defined music and laid the foundation. All they care about now is numbers, chart positions, certifications, awards and the likes, music is now limited to that. Although they are essentials for an artist, music should not be limited to just that, comparisons should not be made and most importantly, RESPECT SHOULD BE GIVEN TO DUE PEOPLE.
Also finally, there is a popular saying on Twitter – “Twitter no be real life” which explains that all you see on Twitter might not apply in real life. This has been seen in recent times as vicious fanbases on social media might not reflect in the artists streams or popularity of the project. Many of these stans just use their stanship to chase clout rather than actually being a fan. So sometimes it ends on social media, no effort is taken to promote the artists career. These views are personal and are open for correction. As much as it is a blessing to have a loyal and strong fanbase, it has its downsides.