At least once a week, my sister texts me her declarations of love for Frank Ocean and his music. This has been going on for the past few months.
A friend of mine streamed Bad Bunny’s single Ignorantes every hour of the day for weeks since its release, and then dreamed she married him.
I played Harry Styles’ Fine Line album while in the car with my mom during the entirety of winter break, despite her comments like “I’m tired of this” and “When do you go back to school again?”
Naturally, my sister got notified that she was in the top one percent of Frank Ocean fans worldwide.
And I got the same notification for Harry Styles.
I know how my sister and I achieved our top one percent status, but how did others receive their status from other artists?
To find out, I asked various college students on their devotion to their favorite artists, and what led them to their top fan status.
To some, the notification had been surprising.
UF marketing sophomore Ariane Cuvillon said that the band she was in the top one percent of listeners for — Chvrches — isn’t necessarily her favorite band.
She discovered them in eighth grade, but recently found herself turning to their songs again this past fall when she fell into a “musical hole” and didn’t know who else to listen to.
After playing their easy-going songs on replay as background music for a couple months, she made it into the top 75,000 of their 7.5 million listeners.
Sophomore Natalia Dubon was also surprised to learn that she was a top listener for a Latin duo called Mau y Ricky.
She realized after that she’s been streaming their music nonstop since December.
Her interest in the duo grew out of her love for other Latin artists like Maluma and Sebastian Yatra.
Today, she keeps up with Mau y Ricky and their whole family via YouTube and social media, as the duo increasingly intertwines their personal life in their musical careers.
A recent music video for the ballad “Que Dirías?” features Mau’s wedding videos.
“I shed a tear watching,” Dubon confessed.
More people, however, saw the Spotify notification as confirmation for what they already suspected.
Before Spotify told them they were Taylor Swift’s top fans, UF sophomores Ariana Lee and Racheal Jones were aware of their love for the pop artist.
Ariana discovered Swift when she was eight years old and has spent at least a decade listening to her albums, going to her concerts and watching documentaries.
Jones’ mom introduced her to Taylor Swift when she was in second grade and she has been a dedicated fan since, listening to all her songs and albums as they came out.
In 2013, she even ran a social media fan account dedicated to Taylor. Thus, the evidence was there before the Spotify algorithms confirmed it.
David Navarro, an engineering major at UCF, was deemed a top listener of Billy Joel, who he started listening to during his soft-rock phase in sixth grade.
After he exhausted The Piano Man, his love for the music expanded into Joel’s various albums and releases.
Now, even though his music taste ranges among many genres and artists, Navarro still finds time for old school soft-rock.
Canna Liu, a second-year student at UF, shared that she is in the top one percent of listeners for Halsey worldwide.
She’s been listening to her for four years now, and still listens to her music more than anyone else has.
She said she prefers Halsey’s first album over her second, but she still listens to the second one often.
As for her dedication, Liu has been to a Halsey concert already and plans to go to another one in the future.
When thinking about the different ways we absorb music — on repeat for weeks or months at a time, or song by song in sporadic bursts — it’s also worth thinking about the different ways we connect to our favorite artists.
Of the people who shared about being a top fan, most had found a way to get around the three-minute constraints of songs and embraced even more ways to experience their favorite artists.
From watching YouTube videos and documentaries to attending concerts, streaming an artist’s music seems to be only a part of the job of a fan.