How old-school fandom lost out, and standom became the new profit doctrine
This seems very akin to the "whale hunting" tactics used by many video games, especially free mobile ones: they're okay with most people barely playing and spending nothing, because what they really want is to addict some "whales" who will spend thousands of dollars on lootboxes.
I wonder how much Gamergate and its legacy has to do with this. I was a metalhead about 10 years ago, and metal was one of the oldest of the old-school subcultures, and for all the negative consequences it had, the "gatekeeping" also ensured that people who were accepted and initiated as metalheads by metalheads would themselves pass on the traditions and maintain them something as separate from corporate marketing and fan-baiting campaigns. It is almost impossible to imagine any such scene existing today, and I think Gamergate breaking the unity of not just metal but pretty much all "nerdy" subcultures and permanently linking (arguably beneficial) attempts to keep out "trendies" and proto-influencers with (unarguably toxic) attempts to keep out women and POC smashed any possibility of fandoms existing independently of the fan objects and intellectual property holders--the very tools for doing so had become discredited by association with Gamergate hate mobs.
I think you've mentioned this before, but as a k-pop fan for the past seven years or so, I feel that a lot of this seems to either a direct import of or at least affected by the influence of Korean fan culture for idols.
Very interesting post. Thank you for it!
Love the intellectual thinking in your articles! What are you thoughts on the possible black list that some artists have that cause them to have to use "stans" instead of social media? For example Tomlinson expressing that he has done radio shows in the past with the promise that they would play his records and they never do. Or that he'd pissed off some bigger names in the industry, leading him to have to go a different route from other performers. I'm so curious if you think that is just another tactic! This topic is super interesting and I love your takes!