The growth of idol fandoms has been exponential, and it’s been accompanied by changes in fandom culture as well.
A recent trend has caught the attention of news reporters. A range of fandom sizes from large-scale fan clubs to individual fans has been sending press release materials to reporters in regards to their favorite idols. The content of these press releases vary from broadcast monitoring to creative works about these idols.
What is noteworthy about these press release materials is that they are not very different in terms of quality than those that reporters receive from entertainment agencies. This in itself is proof that fandoms are becoming more systematic and specialized. There were usually two reasons why fans sent mail directly to the press: expressing appreciation and making complaints. However, tides have turned.
Press releases or reports from fans are now being published. Opinions from fans have always been a factor of consideration for entertainment agencies, but now that fandom activities have become upgraded in scale and variety, companies are having to consider fans’ input more rigorously.
Many are curious as to why fans are promoting idols when there are promotion teams behind these idols to do so. Fans who have sent in press release materials were cautious to answer this question, and most simply said, “I just participate because I like them.”
A source from a large-scale entertainment company commented, “We were surprised to hear that fans are sending in such materials to the press. Input comes into our office as well. The reality of the situation is that expressing input within a fandom is becoming more and more of a common occurrence. We definitely look into what the fans want.”
The source continued, “While the company is managing the idols, we can’t neglect to check closely and pay attention to what the fans want. In that sense, we are appreciative of the fan feedback we receive.”
Mixed reactions are being posted in regards to this topic. One fan left an approving comment saying, “I can see that fandom culture is positively developing. I’ve also heard of students presenting on the evolution of fandoms and they got good grades.”
Another said, “Even agencies are copying the unofficial goods fans are making. I hope they stop disrespecting fans. The market ripple effect from fans is huge and so important for these idols.”
Others have expressed mild disapproval about this change. “Feedback is necessary but… too much can be worse than too little… I guess companies are paying attention to feedback unless it’s an outwardly ridiculous request…” writes one commenter.
It is definitely true that fans are no longer on the sidelines. 21st century fans are now putting their opinions into action, creating a deeper and closer relationship with their idols.