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Stan Culture: The Evolution of Celebrity Fandoms

Dale David
Written By
Dale David
Published On
Jan 02, 2023
A collage of Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Harry Styles, and BTS

What is the strongest force in the universe?

In this modern era, we’re placing our bet on celebrity fandoms.

Fueled by the power of stan culture, various fanbases across the globe are proving that they’re capable of achieving anything they set their minds to—and it’s all for the love of their idols.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of stan culture and some of the most influential celebrity fandoms the world has seen so far.

What Is Stan Culture?

You hear about it all the time—and you’ve probably even unknowingly adopted it at some point in your life when the entertainment arts managed to strike a chord with you. But what are the earliest roots of this global phenomenon known as “stan culture?”

Who Coined the Term “Stan”?

The term “stan” was first coined by one of the greatest rappers of all time, Eminem, way back in 2000. His song called “Stan” told the story of an overly obsessive fan who ends up exhibiting violent behavior when his idol, Eminem, doesn’t respond to his fan mail. Many believe that the term is a combination of the words “stalker” and “fan.”

A Positive Global Force To Be Reckoned With

While this title may have initially had a negative reputation associated with dangerous and unhealthy antics, it has evolved over time to become somewhat of a badge of honor that millions of fans across the globe proudly wear wherever their stan adventures may take them.

Sure, there are still some stans who display toxic behavior, but a majority of them have come to promote inspiring values and a sense of community that the world never knew it needed. Stan culture manages to bring people of similar interests together, no matter where they are on the planet.

Gone are the days when the term was merely associated with negativity. It’s had a major glow-up so that it now embodies loyalty and the positive power to draw attention to pressing social issues—in online or offline settings. 

Whether it’s the BTS ARMY raising $1 million dollars for #BlackLivesMatter within 24 hours to match the K-pop group’s donation or Swifties defending Taylor Swift against those who the musician claims “are exercising tyrannical control” over her rights as a musician—these celebrity fandoms prove that they have the power to build up the idols they adore and tear down those who try to get in their way.

We’ve reached a point in time where the entertainment industry is governed by celebrity fandoms; it’s their world—and we’re all just listening to it, watching it, and living in it.

The Most Powerful Celebrity Fandoms In History

Beatlemaniacs | The Beatles

Let’s begin with the celebrity fandom that sparked the trend of unparalleled and extremely enthusiastic stan culture—Beatlemania dates all the way back to 1963.

It’s safe to say that the world had never seen fan frenzy reach such great heights until the Beatles came along. Their influence still echoes very much into present-day pop culture. But that’s not the only thing that’s still echoing—we’re pretty sure that if you listen really closely you can still hear the Beatlemaniacs twisting and shouting for the iconic band.

The Beatles
Photo from @thebeatles

BeyHive | Beyonce

Beyonce has been dominating the music industry since the 1990s, but her millions of followers were yet to establish a name for their celebrity fandom. The term “BeyHive,” which was coined by her fans, started buzzing in 2012. With 260 million fans on Instagram alone, they’ve been collectively running the world alongside their QueenBey ever since. 

Beyonce
Photo from @beyonce

Little Monsters | Lady Gaga

After the release of her second album, Fame Monster (2009), Lady Gaga began referring to her fans as “Monsters” during her live performances. This resonated so well with the fans, that they started calling their celebrity fandom “Little Monsters” and referred to Lady Gaga as “Mother Monster.”

To top it all off, the musician created a space called littlemonsters.com where they can all come together. What a monstrously brilliant idea.

 Lady Gaga
Photo from @ladygaga

Beliebers | Justin Bieber

Another one of the celebrity fandoms that have made quite the mark are the Beliebers. Justin Bieber’s fans adopted the term way back when he was still making YouTube cover videos in 2007 and way before he even exploded into the mainstream scene.

25 Guinness World Records later, including “Most followers on Instagram for a Male Musician” (239 million to date), it’s evident that the Beliebers and their dedicated stan culture are here to stay.

Justin Bieber
Photo from @justinbieber

Directioners | One Direction

After the Beatles, the world was yet to see a boy band that could reignite stan culture and achieve nearly the same mesmerizing effect on audiences. When One Direction came along with their debut in 2011, “One Direction Infection” began to spread across the globe—proving that they had that one thing that pop enthusiasts had been waiting for all along. 

With the support of their loyal celebrity fandom, the Directioners, the group was able to embark on four sold-out world tours. On top of that, they became the first act to debut at number one with their first three albums.

One Direction
Photo from @onedirection

Swifties | Taylor Swift

When it comes to celebrity fandoms, you can count on it that Swifties have a reputation for being fearless and unprecedented. After all, their support has turned Taylor Swift into one of the most successful musicians of all time; not to mention that her Instagram account is the 15th most followed one on the planet with 213 million followers!

The catchy celebrity fandom name, which was reportedly created by a fan, was even trademarked by the musician in 2017.   

Taylor Swift
Photo from @taylorswift

Sheerios | Ed Sheeran

Sheerios is one of the celebrity fandoms rewriting music industry history as we know it. But how did this name come about? In 2014, Ed Sheeran tweeted:

“i get asked all the time what my fans call themselves. i approve of sheerios, i like that one”

And if you want a glimpse of just how powerful Sheerios are, then the fact that the musician holds the records for highest grossing tour ever says it all. 

Ed Sheeran
Photo from @edhq

Arianators | Ariana Grande

Arianators stand at 314 million strong on Instagram alone—making Ariana Grande’s account the 7th most followed in the world.

During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Ariana Grande confirmed that the celebrity fandom name was made by her loyal fans themselves. Originally, she called them the “Ariana Army” and “Tiny Elephants,” but “Arianators” ended up being the one that stuck.

Ariana Grande
Photo from @arianagrande

ARMY | BTS

To end our list with a bang(tan), we have the celebrity fandom that has been named the “most powerful in the world”—the BTS ARMY.

The term “ARMY” stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth, and this dedicated community with unrivaled organization is setting the bar so high for what it means to be a celebrity fandom.

Not only did BTS win Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards for five years in a row from 2017 to 2019, but ARMY has played a vital role in the band achieving 25 Guinness World Records—which includes “First K-pop group to reach No. 1 on Billboard 200” and “Most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours.”

BTS
Photo from @bts.bighitofficial

Be Visible to the Most Powerful Celebrity Fandoms

At the end of the day, celebrity fandoms are tight-knit communities with similar interests and exceptional loyalty. And alongside the rise of stan culture, there’s an evident upsurge in celebrity marketing as well—and the correlation speaks for itself.

Thinking about making your brand visible to the most powerful celebrity fandoms? At The Influence Agency, we can kickstart your celebrity influencer marketing campaigns by getting you in touch with some of the biggest stars.

Contact us today to learn more!

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