Veteran K-Pop fans and new K-Pop fans are all real fans, but they may experience different struggles. If you’re a new K-Pop fan, this list’s for you!
1. Trying to catch up on years of content like you’re cramming for exams
Music videos, live broadcasts, interviews, variety shows — the catch up is endless! Depending on when you join your fandom, you could have years of footage to watch. So much for having a social life!
2. Not experiencing your group’s growth in real-time
Some fans are lucky enough to discover their group at debut, or even pre-debut. From changing concepts to musical shifts to award wins, these fans are able to witness their group’s growth while growing alongside them.
New fans, unfortunately, miss out on the early days, but don’t worry. You’re here now, and there’s lots to look forward to!
3. Not understanding inside jokes
Have you ever heard another fan make a joke and wondered, “What are they talking about?”.
Within that endless stream of content you’re cramming there are inside jokes between members and between the members and their fandom. It might take some asking around, but sooner or later, you’ll get the inside scoop!
4. Getting super overwhelmed by fan theories
New fans might get overwhelmed by K-Pop’s complicated fan theories, but the truth is, fan theories give everyone headaches.
The thing about fan theories is that most are never confirmed. Just remember, the fun is in exploring your group’s fictional world and connecting your own dots.
5. The fandom’s nostalgic moments are all new to you
Some groups, like BTS, make connections to their past works that make veteran fans feel nostalgic. Since everything is new to new fans, you might not catch a reference or feel that warm fuzzy feeling even if you do, but that’s okay!
6. Learning the lingo
Like all subcultures, K-Pop has its own lexicon that includes slang and need-to-know terms. K-Pop comes with the added challenges of learning Korean words (for non-Korean speakers) and fandom-specific words. Every fandom within K-Pop has its own way of communicating, and it takes time to learn it.
7. Missing out on past comebacks
Teasers, concept photos, predictions, anticipation…comebacks are an experience. Missing out on past comebacks is a bummer, but there’s nothing like experiencing your first one!
8. Struggling to find local fans to hang out with
This isn’t necessarily just a “new fan” problem, but it can be difficult for new fans to find established fan groups (online and off).
9. Missing out on past concert experiences, fan signs, etc.
The more popular a group becomes, the more difficult it is to see them in person. Fans who stan at the beginning are more likely to be able to meet their group or attend a cheaper concert at a more intimate venue.
10. Secretly feeling like you’re not a “true fan”
When you’re surrounded by experienced fans who seem to know everything there is about your group, it’s hard not to feel like a noob.
Noob or not, a true fan isn’t defined by their knowledge or the length of time they’ve stanned a group. If you love your group and love their music, congrats! You’re a true fan.