In Defence of Industry Plants
Clairo, who has been accused of being an industry plant, performing.

If you keep up with current pop culture, you may have heard the term ‘industry plant’ before. For those of you who haven’t, it describes musicians who emerge seemingly out of nowhere and reach success quickly. It also entails artists giving the impression of being an independent artist whilst actually having a production label behind them. 

The term originates from the hip-hop world, where personal background is an important element of someone’s work. So, it’s clear to see why many people are against them. 

While many artists do reach their positions due to nepotism, it shouldn’t override all of their hard work. Nobody wants to admit they’ve had a lot of help to reach their success, but the lack of openness about it creates a music industry filled with people from wealthy backgrounds who live under the pretense that it is their talent alone to got them there. 

Artists such as Clairo, Billie Eilish, and most recently Tyla, have all been met with industry plant allegations. Additionally, singers who got their start as Disney actors are also believed to be industry plants. 


Clairo, in fact, did have a helping hand breaking into the music industry. Her father has been a Chief Marketing Executive for some of the top companies in the world – from Coca-Cola to Converse. 

To an extent you can’t blame her to using all assets available to help her career. The problem lies in her transparency about it. Whilst it is publicly available information who her father is, it still doesn’t seem to be widely known because she brands herself as a home-grown, bedroom pop artist. 

Her debut single ‘Pretty Girl’ was recorded in her bedroom, giving the illusion that she is an indie artist who got popular on her own. 

While she is an extremely talented singer and songwriter, the branding of being ‘self-made’ is problematic. 

This is especially relevant in the Indie genre. The word itself is derived from ‘independent’, so being an ‘indie’ artist with connections to big record labels is a bit redundant.


Tyla is a relatively new artist who has reached insane levels of fame. Following the release of her single ‘Water’ which blew up on TikTok, the South-African star has received countless accolades. This includes a Grammy win and a Met Gala invite in less than a year after the song’s release.

Hence, many people think that she’s an industry plant because it’s a common misconception that ‘Water’ is her debut single.

Her first single was released in 2021. It gained popularity on TikTok amongst ‘ampiano’ listeners – a South African genre inspired by the house genre.

Ice Spice

Ice Spice has also been accused of being an industry plant due to her sudden skyrocket to fame.

Her debut single ‘Munch’ was released in 2022, and she has already been featured on the soundtrack of the top movie of 2023.

She also won the ‘Best New Artist’ Award at the 2023 VMA’s.

However, this popularity and success soon led to criticism. Suspicions surrounding her being an industry plant proliferated when the internet discovered her father is a rapper.

The 23-year-old has since hit back at the accusations:

“I just let people believe whatever they want to believe, to be honest. I don’t really mind all the rumours. At first I did, but now I’m at a point where I understand that just comes with this lifestyle.”

Interview from variety

In the Defence of Industry Plants

Any artist that seemingly ‘blew up from nowhere’ is believed to be an industry plant on the internet, but the rise of TikTok and Spotify’s autoplay features, it is entirely plausible for an artist to blow up overnight.

Both platforms use AI algorithms to promote content they think users will like, which can cause music to reach large audiences very quickly.

Moreover, the term ‘industry plant’ is most definitely overused to describe any artist who quickly gained popularity rather than actual instances of deception by labels.

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Written by: Charleigh Sharp