O is for Old Fans
I guess you could call this a continuation of sorts of my last post. The experience of an older fan – which I would call a person who has been into K-pop since before 2012 – is different than that of a newer fan.
As far as I know, there are three generations of K-pop. The first generation would be the age of H.O.T, Shinhwa, and Fin.K.L. The second generation would be the age of Super Junior, KARA, 2PM, and the start of hallyu. The third generation, which we seem to be in right now, is that of EXO, Seventeen, AOA, and the view of K-pop as an international phenomenon as opposed to the marketing being focused on a Korean audience.
I got into K-pop during the second generation, so when I talk about “older fans,” I’m talking about other fans like me. Back in our day, groups like Super Junior were always on top. If they had a comeback, that was the only talk between fandoms and it was no question that they would have all-kill streaks on every music program. Back when YouTube had “Most Discussed” as a ranking system, fans would have conversations and play games in the comment sections of all of the newest music videos.
In recent years however, Super Junior has fallen far from the top when it comes to weekly music award shows. From what I’ve seen online, they are still one of the most profitable groups in the industry, but the reason why their public stats don’t show it is because their fans, the “older fans,” simply grew up.
Take me. I’m not the same person I was when I was 17. I can’t just watch a video over and over again to increase the views of annoy my Twitter followers with spam tweets using the special hastag because I simply have more important things to do. I have a job, and studies, and side projects. I run this blog. I’ve realized that while Super Junior and K-pop will always be important to me, there are things that I value more in my actual life than whether or not my favorite group wins their award.
In the acknowledgments of one of Super Junior’s more recent albums, Heechul actually pointed out that his fans are growing up. I’m sure all of the members of these older groups notice their fans growing up as well. Heechul’s words, more than any other celebrity, has made me realize that fandomhood is really a two-way relationship. He knows that we’re growing up.
We will grow old someday and get married too. I hope you will come to Super Show in future with your babies. Then I would get emotional and really touched. Let’s picture “eternity” like that together, and be together for a long long time. ^~^
I hope that you guys will meet good partners and live happily. You guys have to get married quickly so I feel less sorry when I get married too. kk
-Heechul, Mamacita “Thanks To”
Question of the Day:
What do you see in the differences between older and newer fans of K-pop?
#NowPlaying: As I Told You, originally by Kim Sung Jae, performed by VIXX. This was a cover by VIXX for a special TV program, but it is one of my favorite VIXX performances ever. I actually never listened the original song. You can tell just how special this memorial performance was.
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