If you stan for only one artist, there’s a good chance that you spend a good portion of your day with your head firmly implanted in that artist’s cervix or rectum. You may not get the opportunity to receive updated information about what other artists are doing or have done. Stan Wars are a good way for stans to exchange facts, figures, charts, and other tidbits of information which have absolutely no impact their personal lives.
There’s nothing funnier than watching someone get dragged up and down message boards and blogs. Or the Photoshop Phuckery that is produced from stans going back and forth.
In stan wars, there is the “Yeah I Said It” factor which is missing from corporate-owned/publicist-manipulated news sites or blogs where record labels and publicists dictate the content. In most cases, no one governs or moderates stan wars, so you can be as hateful, vile, and politically incorrect as you want to be.
If you stan for Lady Gaga, you can participate in mindless online arguing, but you can also show your support by buying singles, buying albums, concert tickets, etc. But what if you stan for a flopping artist? If the single flopped that means the album got pushed back, and you know they will not be headlining an arena tour so how do you show support? When you stan for a flop your options are limited and stan wars may be all you have. Without any music to buy, the only way stans of flops can show their support is to pick a fight with Beyoncé stans, or vote for their them on Dancing With the Stars.
Why Stan Wars Are Pointless
Unless you’re a bandwagon stan who rolls with whoever is hot at the moment, the reason you stan for whoever you stan for has little to do with singles, album sales, Grammys, or even talent. If that were the case then only a select few artist would have stans. Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé have stans; that’s understandable because they are larger-than-life figures with extraordinary careers. On the other hand, Ciara, Keri Hilson, and Ashanti have stans too. Mya, Brandy, Cassie, Letoya Luckett, Mokenstef, Electrik Red, Florescent Beige, and virtually every artist (A-list or Z-list) has at least one stan. What makes a person stan for an artist even when there are no numbers — or talent — to back it up?
The answer is simple.
There is something in them that speaks to something in you. You can’t put a word on it, but people waste a lot of energies trying to do so. You can’t cite an emotion. You can’t give a link to a feeling or give receipts to a memory, but we spend an extraordinary amount of time trying to get people to see our favorite artists in the same light as we do. We spend hours trying to use numbers and words to illustrate the emotional connections we have to our favorite artists and we continue to come up short. Stan wars go back and forth forever because deluded people are trying to convince other deluded people to subscribe to their delusions.
Stans see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. They believe that flop singles were actually buzz singles”. The believed that poorly sold tour dates were canceled due to a “scheduling conflict”. They will spend all day bragging about a #1 music video on iTunes but will not talk about why the last album didn’t sell. They’ll brag about having a song in the Top 500 in Botswana but will not talk about why their favorite can’t sell out a free concert. Stans latch on to a few small victories without ever having a rational defense for the many epic failures. Theoretically, if you are true stan who chooses to argue with people every day you should have logical response for any criticism without using a gif or the words “You Mad?”
Some people are very weak-minded and will let the words and actions of stans dictate how they feel about a particular artist. There’s a good chance that these people were already looking for an excuse to hate anyway, but nonetheless the over-zealousness of stans can backfire. As much as you love something you can also get sick of it if you spend all day arguing, researching, dragging, and making Power Point presentations about it. Stan wars turns something that’s supposed to positive (art and entertainment) into something negative because you’re no longer a fan. You’re a critic, a publicist, a marketing executive, and an A&R person. Stanning ends up becoming a job that can distract you from all of the joys of being a music fan.
Stan wars are less about the artist you stan for and more about verbally battling other people and having your tastes validated. 100 people can listen to the same song at the same time and get 100 completely different interpretations of the song. The way entertainment is received is subjective, yet we spend hours a day trying to turn opinions, interpretations, and assumptions into absolute facts. We want our favorite artists to do well, but moreover, we want our tastes validated. We want the Grammys and the Billboard charts to agree with us that we stan for the best artist in the world. Once your favorite artists flops or is dragged you feel personally disrespected because you feel that your tastes have been invalidated or attacked. So then you begin attacking other people to make them feel as bad as you feel. This is yet another endless cycle of stan wars because most of us have not arrived at the point where we aren’t so dependent on other people’s validation.
How many times has this happened to you?:
Stan: Yeah, I’m something of a vocal expert, I have a really good ear for pitch, tone, and vocal control.
Stan: Yeah, I only like pure, real, artists, real songwriters, and real musicians, I’m not really into to fake studio creations, and I don’t even really like most mainstream artists.
You: Interesting…who’s your favorite artist?
One day I would like a stan to be 100% honest and say “The bitch I stan for can’t dance or sing worth a damn, I just like looking at her, and I enjoy the personality that her record label and publicist have created.” Some stans, however, are subconsciously ashamed of their favorites. That is why some stans feel the need to go out of their way to let you know that they have musical depth.
“I can name song released before 1997!
I know what talent is!
Please take my musical tastes seriously!”
What stans don’t realize is that it is perfectly acceptable to stan for an artist with no talent. You can just call it what it is. You like the way she looks, you like her clothes, you like her personality, if you knew her personally you’d want her to be your hag. Sometimes all you need is a nice synchronized dance routine or a hot outfit (even if it comes with shitty vocals) It’s 100% fine to like an artist with little to no talent. You don’t have to try to impress anybody, and you don’t have to make it seem that your devotion to these studio creations is in the name of musical purism.
I attended a concert for a popular artist; according to Billboard, over 13,000 people attended the show. I went to that artist’s message board, and there were just over 18,000 registered members but less than 100 people logged on at even given time, with only the same 20 or 30 people actively posting. If every person who bought a concert ticket to that artist’s tour were a hardcore/fainting/crying/hyperventilating stan, the board would have 1.8 million members rather than 18,000. If every person who bought that artists’s last album were a stan, the board would have over 6 million members.
This taught me 2 things:
1. Not all stans participate in stan wars, and not everybody on a message board is a stan
2. Stans don’t run shit.
Michael Jackson didn’t sell 40 million copies of Thriller to 40 million stans. The vast majority of those numbers are members of the general public. They are members of the public may not spend all day on YouTube arguing and they may not pass out when they meet you, but they will buy your albums and concert tickets if they hear or see something they like. If the Billboard Charts were based who had the most aggressive stans, it would look a lot different than it does now. The success or failure of your favorite artist is not the result of your arguing online every day. It’s result of their marketing team, and how their talent and/or image appeals to the general public. What so many artists (and their stans) fail to understand is that careers don’t fail because stans didn’t do their job. Stans will buy shit smeared on piss-stained cardboard if their favorite artist’s name is on it. The hard part is not selling to stans, but attracting members of the general public; this explains why you can have 2 million Twitter followers but barely sell 100,000 copies of your album during the first week. Stan wars generally does very little to affect the buying habits of the general public.
In most debates or research papers, you go to the library and gather a list of credible and verifiable sources before presenting your argument. In stan wars, 95% of the information comes from Wikipedia. The problem with that is that Wikipedia is edited by stans, so stans often try to pass their delusions as a fact. Stans also use stan-written blogs to present fabricated or false information and pass it off as fact.
There are different levels of status in the industry and not every artist was meant to have a 20 year career, yet ALL stans argue as if the artist the are defending is on Michael Jackson status.
There is a difference between a basic bitch, a seasonal artist, a veteran, an icon, and a legend. Not all artists are equal. Once you realize that you stan for a basic bitch then you won’t get so upset when the Billboard charts, Ticketmaster, the Grammys, and other stans remind you that you stan for a basic bitch. But in stan wars no one wants to admit they stan for a basic artist, which is why stan wars remain uneven. Stans of icons fight with stans of basic bitches. Stans of multiple Grammy Award winning artists argue with stans of artists who can’t get a ticket to the Grammys. Stans of flop artists fighting with stans of other flop artists. You have stans of artists who break tour box office records fighting with stans of artists that can’t sell out church bingo halls. There is no hierarchy, no brackets, nor any respect for those more successful than you. It all adds up to an unorganized and unbalanced chaos in which no one wins.