How Pop Music Fandom Became Sports, Politics, Religion and All-Out War

In October, with “Chromatica” having registered as a modest hit, Grande’s personal new album, “Positions,” leaked on-line earlier than its official launch. Cordero, who preferred Grande effectively sufficient however discovered her new music to be missing, shared a hyperlink to the unreleased songs, a lot to the consternation of Grande followers, who fearful that the bootlegged variations would harm the singer’s industrial prospects.

Taking over the position of volunteer web detectives, Grande followers proceeded to spend days enjoying Whac-a-Mole by flagging hyperlinks to the unauthorized album as they proliferated throughout the web. However Cordero, bored and sensing their agita, determined to bait them even additional by tweeting — falsely — that he’d subsequently been fined $150,000 by Grande’s label for his position in spreading the leak. “is there any manner I can get out of this,” he wrote. “I’m so scared.” He even shared an image of himself crying.

“They had been rejoicing,” Cordero recalled giddily of the Grande followers he’d fooled, who unfold the phrase far and vast that the leaker — a Gaga lover, no much less — was being punished. “Sorry however I really feel no sympathy,” one Grande supporter wrote on Reddit. “Cost him, put him in jail. you possibly can’t leak an album by the world’s greatest pop star and count on no penalties.”

This was pop fandom in 2020: aggressive, arcane, sales-obsessed, generally pointless, chaotic, adversarial, amusing and a bit of scary — all taking place virtually solely on-line. Whereas music has lengthy been intertwined with web communities and the rise of social networks, a rising faction of essentially the most vocal and devoted pop fans have embraced the time period “stan” — taken from the 20-year-old Eminem song a couple of superfan turned homicidal stalker — and are redefining what it means to like an artist.

On what is named Stan Twitter — and its offshoots on Instagram, Fb, TikTok, Tumblr and numerous message boards — these devotees examine No. 1s and streaming statistics like sports activities followers do batting averages, championship wins and capturing percentages. They pledge allegiance to their favorites like essentially the most rabid political partisans or non secular followers. They arrange to win awards present polls, increase gross sales and lift cash like grass roots activists. They usually band collectively to pester — or harass, and even dox — those that might dare to slight the celebs they’ve chosen to align themselves with.

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