Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny that SB19 are the pioneers of P-Pop as we know it today.

The five-piece group debuted in 2018 with their single, “Tilaluha” (Tears). Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin wouldn’t hit their big break until their practice video of “Go Up!” went viral in 2019. Since then, the boys have released viral songs like “GENTO,” secured a spot to be considered for a GRAMMY nomination, a nomination for the Top Social Artist at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, and more.

But this isn’t a story about SB19.

This is the story of A’TIN — SB19’s behemoth of a fanbase that dominate every poll, trend, post, magazine, poster, or album that features the quintet. It’s not just local publications that they flock to. In 2023, A’TIN emerged victorious on Billboard’s Fan Army Face-Off, besting other global fandoms like SEVENTEEN’s CARATs, Cardi B, EXO, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, SB19, SEVENTEEN, Shakira, and TWICE, among others. This was an international fan war, where A’TIN didn’t have as much international clout compared to the other artists. But at the end of the voting, A’TIN ended up winning 51% of the vote against CARATs in the finals. Now that’s power.

While many are quick to dismiss fandoms, they are among those who hold the most power on social media. Before social media became an inherent part of our lives, fans already knew how hashtags worked and how to trend them, they made content immediately after songs and music videos were released, figured out how streaming platforms worked and how to “properly” stream songs, and many more.

In the Philippines and the world of P-Pop, A’TIN are arguably the forebearers of this culture, where fan projects and actions are purposefully coordinated and executed. Behind the number of likes, comments, shares, and pageviews that A’TIN bring is an intricately built structure and process for how these things happen.

A’TIN Philippines (originally Aurum PH, named before SB19 announced the official name of their fans) is the pioneering fanbase of SB19. First established in August of 2018, A’TIN Philippines has been a prominent force in the fandom even as more and more people become fans of the P-Pop group.

Marvie, an admin of A’TIN Philippines, shared to Billboard Philippines that the fanbase is currently composed of a group of admins, who oversee the pioneer fanbases of each SB19 member — Pablo’s Echoes, Josh’s Cullenels, Stell’s Stellars, Ken’s Sunnies, and Justin’s JLeague. Marvie herself was an admin for Echoes before she was invited to become an admin of A’TIN Philippines.

However, there are other fanbases that operate independently within the fandom, such as SB19 Trends (who cascade hashtags and taglines to other A’TIN in order to make them trend on X), region-based fanbases (like US A’TIN), and fanbases centered on instructions for streaming on platforms, like their Spotify and Apple Music stream teams.

Even though A’TIN Philippines was the first fanbase, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the “top” fanbase. Marvie shares that A’TIN fanbases don’t have a hierarchy because they don’t have an official fanbase. Official fanbases are those created by the entertainment company for the group.

“Even before, I think they tried to request from ShowBT, like ‘can we have an official fanbase?’ I think they didn’t agree to have an official fanbase,” Marvie continues. However, even if they didn’t get one, there’s still a bright side to it. “It helps because pantay-pantay lahat (we’re all equal)…[it’s] more on consensus.”

This doesn’t mean that there’s no coordination with the SB19 team. A’TIN Philippines has direct contact with different points of contact within the SB19 team, and they coordinate with them in the event that they want to integrated surprises into one of their shows. 1Z Entertainment also has a group chat with different fanbases, where they can cascade information or raise up concerns.

However, when it comes to execution, A’TIN Philippines, along with other prominent fanbases, have a core group that acts a decision-making body for fan projects, events, and the like. Decisions are made within this core group before it’s cascaded publicly to fans.

Yung core group ang nag-oorganize ng fan projects (The core groups organize fan projects). What we usually do is that we open an invite to all fanbases to join the meeting [and then we] brainstorm [ideas],” she says. Given that their fan culture puts a premium on building consensus, they vote on different ideas to execute. Fanbases may also opt to have their own fan projects, but many of the large-scale ones, like for pre-concerts or concert events, are organized together.

The same attitude of rejecting a hierarchy of fanbases shines in how they coordinate these meetings. The lead facilitators will differ per project, and different fanbases can tap on or nominate another fanbase to host meetings. After they decide on what to do, the results become the events that A’TIN are best known for: pre-concert events held at Gateway’s Activity Center, where they can connect with other fans; surprise videos during the boys’ concerts; merchandise; and more.

But why would fans put in all this effort for a boy group?

At the heart of everything, an A’TIN is a fan because of a special connection and love for SB19. That’s the case for Marvie. Even as she juggles her day job as an Operations Manager and being a fanbase admin, she’s willing to go through it because SB19’s music holds a special, personal place in her life.

She started to become a stan just right before “MAPA” (Map) was released. However, tragedy struck and her lola (grandmother) unfortunately passed away. “When my Lola died…’MAPA’ came out, and it was very relatable.”

“We have different ways of grieving, and when my Lola died, I pushed people [away],” she recounts. “During the time of grief, I listened to [Pablo’s] unreleased song ‘Kumunoy’ (Quicksand). [While the original version was very negative and depressing], and during my healing era, I heard the complete version, and the bridge was very positive. Through his songs, I healed…he helped me confront my feelings. [I wanted to be an admin] to try to give back.”

At the end of the day, that’s the power of music. Beyond just sound, we’re all fans of our favorite artists because of their music touched our lives in one way or another. It’s not just A’TIN — you see this love in every fandom, whether you’re a BLOOM, Magiliw, and everyone in between. As the A’TIN fans gear up for the PATATAG! concert finale this May — the specific projects I can’t reveal yet because they’re still being voted on — Marvie hopes that SB19 can feel the love that the A’TIN have for the boys.

“I just want to let them know that even if there will be a lot of new [fans] that come in, the old fans will still stay and support them in any way that we can.” she says, to close the interview. “There’s a lot that’s happened [over the years], and we will always be rooting for them. We will always push for SB19’s success.”