The term “industry plant” is spoken in a light of purely rumors and speculation. Merely questioning the possibility of it can paint the musician in a negative light. An ‘industry plant’ is an artist who has label(s) backing their movement but present themselves as an organic presence in the entertainment world. This term especially is sought out if upon major success the artist is granted a plethora of opportunities at their doors such as interviews by big music corporations and media coverage that a contemporary artist would probably not receive by a long shot. The conversation is ignored by most artists, if not all. In this article I will elaborate on the few of many artists who’ve been speculated to have a leg up in the music industry.
Chance The Rapper
The Chicagoan rapper and independent artist Chance The Rapper is familiar with the industry plant discussion. Critiques of Chance’s rise to stardom arise by diving into his background, linking it to his family. If you’re unaware, his parents both had worked for the government. His father, Ken-Williams Bennett worked alongside the mayor of Chicago and even Barack Obama at one point. Even his mother worked for an attorney general. Ultimately, people connect his rise to fame to his family’s political ties. Many find it bizarre that an artist like Chance who claims independence from any labels is able to rise to fame as extraordinary as he has. In a 2017 interview with Pitchfork the rapper reaffirms his independence in a collection of tweets due. In the heat of the moment, Chance stepped in to address the false claims that were being made.
Although in this case, it was to address his 2016 project Coloring Book, he stresses his independence heavily to his core audience and those who doubted his refrain from a label.
Another would be New Jersey-native Russel Diemon, also known as Russ. The industry plant discussion didn’t pertain to him till last year when it was widely believed that his success was rumored to have been due to his father Jim Vitale, who just so happens to be the president of a marketing and advertising agency. This had many connecting the dots. Unironically, Russ is signed to the label Columbia Records, a partner of his father’s company. The problem that lies with people is Russ, throughout many interviews boasts he is self-made and his come up was organic. With information like his father being the center of a marketing agency around, it’s not too far-fetched to think so. However, it’s not like he’s hiding it.
Uploaded in 2017, the video provides critiques the confirmation on who his father is but leaves the rumor whether his father is involved with the success of his son’s music career. None of which is mentioned by artist or his circle
Claire Cottrill, otherwise known as Clairo is a bedroom pop artist who, from the age of 14 uploaded to Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and YouTube, occasional covers, as well as music she’s written herself. Her rise to came from her music video for her hit song “Pretty Girl,” which currently sits at 20.5 million views on the platform. This occurrence is due to the algorithm of YouTube. What followed is what led people to believe she is was industry plant. Similarly to Russ it was speculated she utilized her father’s place in the music entertainment industry to startup her music career. Soon after the success of ‘Pretty Girl’, she surprisingly landed an interview with the FADER in October of 2017. This was the start of mystery surrounding her image. People came across her father, Geoff Cottrill a marketing executive who has worked for Converse, Coca-Cola and YouTube. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Claire was frustrated with the thought many didn’t believe her success wasn’t organic. She notes, “The fact that there has to be a man[her father] behind my success when I genuinely have worked so hard is frustrating,” she said. “At the end of the day, when people say, ‘Oh, she’s an industry plant,’ I’m like, ‘No, I just have representation, like every single other artist you listen to.’ I’m not the first person to get a manager.” Unfavorably, she doesn’t enjoy her hard work being credited to someone in the shadows.
In defense of the artists, some are born into it by pure luck. One of the reasons some conclude an artist can have connections to the industry is due to their family background. All it would take is one relative, a friend, etc to be associated with the medium and they are significantly one step ahead. So realistically, an occurrence like this is totally out of their control from the jump. Discussions like these are people looking to find illegitimacy to the point of widespread controversy. Essentially there’s nothing to gain from it other than pointing them out. However, the one thing they all share is their triumphing talent which got them to where they are now.
Featured Image via NewYorkTimes