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FAN BASE: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

IT could be one of his attention-seeking gimmicks or a genuine concern but regardless, Shatta Wale, arguably the most popular artiste in Ghana with one of the biggest fan bases – has touched on a matter that bedevils the industry in so many ways and needs addressing.

In a tweet, the artiste gave a directive to his fans to halt attacks on other artistes, especially Sarkodie and Stonebwoy. How it took Shatta Wale all these years to realize the rot that pervades the dynamics of fan bases and all is inexplicable.

He tweeted;

“Pls SM fans pls and pls no one should insult Sark and stone again, Let’s support them so we can all live like one people. These trolls won’t take us anywhere. #Ayoo If their fans want to do let them do but for us let’s focus on making our lives better.”

Most crucial element

The fan is the most important element in the career of the artiste. Without the fan, the artiste is nothing – has no grounding, no standing and no status. The musician sells a product – music and the ability of that product to do well in the market depends heavily on patronage.

Patronage is determined by the patron who is the fan! If the fan doesn’t patronize the product, it won’t sell for the artiste to generate revenue or be on the charts, which comes with a high level of mentions and popularity, which also translates into following, influence and clout.

That influence, clout and following opens other doors for the artiste including endorsement deals and business partnerships. All the good stuff that happen to the artiste starts with just one action from that important element – patronage!

Enormous gains

The fact is, having such a well-structured fan base bodes well for the artiste so the likes of Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy and Sarkodie are in such a good place to have these groups behind them.

If every artiste had such committed, dedicated and supportive fan bases like the popular acts, they would be very excited.

These fans, in an organized framework, offer enormous support to these artistes including succour for their music, their projects and every other venture that sees the artistes making gains.  Without that support, these artistes are simply nothing!

Whether the material is of good quality or not, these fans would offer their support, go out there and patronise.

To these guys, seeing the artiste succeed is their ultimate goal and nothing, absolutely nothing, beats having such over-zealous folks put all on the line for their artistes.

Attacks

The organization and proper structuring of fan bases like Shatta Movement, Bhim Nation and Sark Nation and others although having such a positive shift, also comes with its canker of abuse and attacks, a scourge that has brewed to such a nauseating level.

These fan bases have become notorious for offering nothing but insults whenever their artistes are reprimanded for varied reasons. As far as they (fans) are concerned, the artiste is infallible and should never be placed under any form of scrutiny and criticism.

To them, the artiste should always be projected in a positive light and anything contrary to that is foul!

In the name of protecting the image, standing and status of these artistes, fans would subject any person that speaks ill of the artistes and their actions to a barrage of invective, both printable and unprintable.

How it took Shatta Wale that long to realize that canker is unfathomable, especially when he knows that his fan base is one of the worst culprits when it comes to being architects of such a plague in the industry.

Retrogressive

These artistes are human; they get it wrong sometimes and when do, they surely need scolding and correction. They can never be perfect!

Just like any industry, when artistes excel and make gains, they get praises from the general populace, the media and industry stakeholders. When they err, it takes the same populace, same industry aficionados and the media to criticize them. That’s the beauty and essence of life.

If you have the temerity to accommodate the positives, one should also have the heart to accept the negatives too.

The blind support from these fan bases when it comes to the genuine reproach of the actions of these artistes is simply retrogressive; regressive to the careers of these artistes and the betterment of the industry.

Artistes’ Silence

Until Shatta Wale’s recent public appeal to his fans to ignore all insults from the camps of Stonebwoy and Sarkodie, no artiste had ever come out to speak on the unwholesome attitude of these fan bases.

These artistes are always privy to the shenanigans of their fans yet they turn a blind eye. Even when some of these fans cross the line, the artistes look away.

But how do you blame them? How would they look in the eyes of these fans when they intend to scold them for crossing the line, all in the name of defending them? To some of the artistes, rebuking the fans for any such actions could break their resolve in offering unflinching support.

Clearly, these artistes do not bring some of their erratic fans to book, even behind closed doors. If they do, some of these fans would be measured in how they react to any form of backlash against their artistes.

It has to get better

The eagerness of fans to attack anybody and anything with the mention of their artistes in a seemingly bad light ought to change.

When an artiste passes commentary that hinges on the dynamics of the industry and it gets repudiated, the alacrity with which the fans react only deprive the artiste of engaging in any form of intellectual debate that could possibly be a panacea to the industry’s problems.

The fans should come to the realization that nobody hates any artiste and nobody gets paid for hating on another artistes. No pundit, no journalist and no industry stakeholder would get up from their homes to attack an artiste just for the sake of it.

Commentaries directed at artistes by the industry and its players are always instigated by the artistes – from their endeavours to their sayings, and any form of analysis to reject such should be seen as part of industry engagements that are supposed to uplift the industry and not a recipe for abuse.

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