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TRAMP STAMPS & “Industry Plants”: Behind The Music Biz

Tendered to growth and creative accomplishment: that’s the expectancy of every new artist when putting down their roots in the musical industry. However, the girl band TRAMP STAMPS was showered with criticism as accused of being “industry plants” and inauthentically punk last April.

Behind The Biz: What Are Industry Plants?

When I hear the word ‘industry plant’, I feel like people have so many different definitions of it that it’s become this big conglomerate”, states artist and music-slash-culture critic Pablo The Don. Spanning interpretations from artists who come out of nowhere, to those who benefit from money and status or are plucked out of anonymity to be manufactured by recording labels, the term has been spun out of control so that its meaning, to the critic, tends to that of “if a person doesn’t know the artist before they achieve mainstream popularity, people call them industry plants.”

Nonetheless, the idea of an industry plant is entrenched in the nepotism dynamic, in which individuals with power and influence — translated into connections, for instance — are viewed favorably, and thus benefit from favoritism when considered for occupations. But, as TikTok content creator WillTalksMusic states in a video, “if the qualifications for an industry plant are having a parent that has industry ties and getting pushed by a major label, I’m sorry but that’s, like, most major artists.” 

To Pablo, though, while such nepotism does impact the music biz, so does it affect every other sphere of life. “I think people like to assume that in celebrity culture and the entertainment world, it’s more prevalent than in other industries, which is just not true. Nepotism is a facet of capitalism”, they explain.

People need to understand that everything in music and entertainment is manufactured at some level, to some extent, and they should really take that into consideration before just labeling someone something, because, at the end of the day, people still have to work hard to make these things happen, and discreting them, or calling them an industry plant, doesn’t mean their music is bad”, Pablo affirms. According to them, if going by a lot of people’s definitions, “some of the best talents that were ever seen were industry plants”, like Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton

person making a heart with their hands at a concert
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX from Unsplash

“Plant” Stamps & Punk “Decamp”

I think with the TRAMP STAMPS, there’s a lot of different facets of why they got popular, and why people latched onto them as industry plants”, they continue. “Number one: they seem to have gained this popularity out of nowhere. But it was only on TikTok, which is very common. Like, kids make one video and they get a hundred thousand followers”. Meanwhile, under the trio’s TikTok sound “I’d Rather Die”, which includes a snippet of their music, trends like “things more punk than TRAMP STAMPS” and “stop the video when they say your dad’s name” began to sprout as a form of critique, and hashtag “#trampstampsindustryplant” began to amass views on the millions.  

Number two: I think that they went viral because of that and because of the music they were making, which was very in your face and very pro-women”, says Pablo

I know everybody’s already s!@#$*!@ on them, but what in the white feminism is this song?” said one TikTok user, while another argued that “it sounds like they were trying so hard to make a TikTok trend”, both referencing the song “I’d Rather Die”. The alternative and punk community especially embodied the backlash, for TRAMP STAMPS was seen as a synthetic, commercial appropriation of punk culture and aesthetic. The members’ past was also a source of accusation, for, as individual artists, Marisa, Caroline, and Paige, seemed distant from the image TRAMP STAMPS presented to their audience. 

On top of that, people saw how to put together they were and they didn’t seem like a group who was just starting, but they haven’t made music before and that made them latched onto them as well”, concludes Pablo The Don

“We’ve been quiet for a few days. But not anymore”

Hi, f!@#$%&. TRAMP STAMPS here”, opens the band’s statement on the controversy. “The misinformation and lies that feed this cancel culture are so f!@#$%& toxic. We are 3 women who have been writing and producing for many years, busting our asses in the music business while building our personal careers […]. ‘Industry plant’?  — the irony is f!@#$%& astounding.

Explaining their trajectory through an inflammatory — judged even “fake punk” — discourse, the trio tried to debunk the industry plant conspiracies, while also commenting on the “sexism” and “ageism” linked to their backlash. Rather than being picked by major labels as the rumors went, TRAMP STAMPS claims they met in February 2020 and didn’t sign with a recording label to keep their creative control. They also state that the group made their own label, “Make Tampons Free”, distributed through Artists Without A Label. 

Lastly, the girl band asserted that, although Carolina and Marisa are signed to Rx Songs and Paige to Downtown Music Publishing and Pray For My Haters Publishing, the songs are 100% theirs: “f!@# you if you are so f!@#$%& sexist that you cannot believe this band was created and built from the ground up by 3 women.

You have gone to the ends of the f!@#\$%& earth to shit on us, have told us to kill ourselves, and have used conspiracies on tik tok as a trend to get more views on your own videos. F!@# you. You don’t like our music? Don’t f!@#$%& listen to it […]. Have fun and don’t forget to water your plants”, the band wraps up.


This article was edited by Amanda Oestreich.

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Isabella Gemignani

Casper Libero '23

Hi! I'm Isabella, a junior majoring in Journalism at Cásper Líbero. Currently a National Writer for Her Campus & Campus Correspondent at Cásper Líbero!
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