The woes of being a multifandom in K-pop

Being an avid fan of one K-pop group or artist is difficult enough, just imagine what being in several other fandoms simultaneously is like.

Esther Lam
Esther Lam

Published: 17 June 2020, 6:52 PM

With over 300 idol groups in the Korean music industry, those of us who stan multiple groups claim the honorary title of “multi-stan” or “multi-fandom”.

I claim to be part of that honorary pack as an IGOT7 or Ahgase (GOT7), Blink (BLACKPINK), ReVeluv (Red Velvet), ONCE (TWICE), NCTzen (NCT), EXO-L (EXO), SONE (SNSD or Girl’s Generation), and a casual ARMY (BTS).

However, being a multifandom also means having way too many music videos (MVs) to watch and having to refresh my Twitter feed constantly because there are never-ending updates to catch up on.

Here are four struggles I have experienced after being a multifandom in K-pop for six years.

1. Struggling to keep track of comebacks and other updates 

The greatest blessing yet nightmare is when your favourite idols schedule their comebacks around the same time. PHOTO CREDIT: MEME

K-pop idols have comebacks at least once a year, with promotions running for a month. And with only 12 months in a year, overlapping comeback schedules are inevitable.

Whether this is good or bad, it is hard to say.

On the bright side, I am always spoiled with entertainment and content. But with so many dates and things to remember, it is often borderline chaotic.

I have to mark these comeback dates in my calendar and set reminders on my phone so that I could catch a performance or a VLIVE broadcast on time.

It is no coincidence that fanmeets and concerts dates will often clash too. Which concert should I go to? When I finally have enough money, whose merchandise should I purchase? Which music video should I stream first?

The internal turmoil never ends…

2. You’ll go broke pretty often

SNSD Tiffany and Jessica Jung’s solo debut albums from 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ESTHER LAM

Unlike friends who have idol posters plastered all over the walls of their rooms, I only bought my first and only two albums during a family trip to Taiwan after spending 20 minutes persuading my parents.

It was a “waste of time and money” to them but to me, it showed my support for my favourite artists and gave me merchandise to call my own. In a way, it’s like borrowing a book from the library versus purchasing your own copy – the feeling is inexplicably different.

Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of purchasing and owning dozens of albums.

Spending money on concert tickets and idols’ merchandise is bound to put a hole in my wallet. My two albums cost a total of $40. Now, imagine multiplying that by the number of groups I supported across several years if I bought everything.

Being a K-pop fan is not a cheap hobby indeed.

3. It’s hard to pick a bias because every member is my favourite

Why is it so hard to just pick one? PHOTO CREDIT: AMINO

Being asked about my favourite member is like having to choose between mum and dad.

After spending six years in and out of the K-pop fandom game, I still have not picked a single bias (my all-time favourite K-pop idol or artist). And I’m 90 per cent sure it is not a commitment issue.

K-pop bands literally come in a package, like Seventeen for instance. I stan one and the other 12 members just tag along. Through Exo, I discovered Byun Baekhyun and the remaining eight members (previously 11) simply slid their way onto my already overflowing list.

Every member shines in their own light, which makes it difficult for me to pick a favourite. Even if I finally pick one, the bias wreckers casually pop by and make me question why I even try anymore.

4. Feeling divided during comebacks and fan wars

Let’s all love, support and respect each other. PHOTO CREDIT: TENOR

Managing your time is another struggle. We gotta balance between streaming music videos, watching live streams, and deciding who to vote for so they can win first place on music shows. When one group wins, I am overjoyed, but as the other loses, I’m devastated.

Plus, awards season is always a huge problem!

When stanning many popular groups, at least one or two of their comeback schedules are bound to overlap and this makes voting even more difficult.

I once tried voting for the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in 2015. I split my votes, one day per group, so that my support would be spread equally. After a while, it became too exhausting that I decided to support them silently instead.

In MAMA 2019, fans felt that TWICE’s ‘Fancy’ was robbed of Song Of The Year as BTS claimed the award with ‘Boy With Luv (feat. Halsey)’. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FANCYSANNA’S AND MANGONAT2’S TWITTER

I found myself scrolling through multiple threads on Twitter, reading enraged fan tweets claiming justice for TWICE’s ‘Fancy’ while ARMYs defended their boys.

When such fan wars happened, I tried to be a peacemaker by posting a tweet or leaving a comment between these fandoms. After all, maintaining the peace between fandoms is every multifandom’s biggest wish.

Despite these struggles, I still continue to be a multifandom within my means. Each group that I support is unique and appeals to me in a different way – one offers what another may not.

Ultimately, seeing my favourite groups succeed, fulfilling their aspirations and having pride in the music they produce is good enough for me.

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