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What Makes an Industry Plant

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Some of your favorite musical artists may be an industry plant but first, what even is that? You might have heard the term thrown around before on social media. Essentially, an industry plant is an artist with a major label backing them up but displays themselves as  “organic” and “home-grown.”

There isn’t necessarily anything negative about being an industry plant. However, it could be a problem for some fans if the artist is not honest. It also does leave out other amazing potential artists who do not have the money to be backed up by a label. 

There are many rumors about artists who could be industry plants considering their rise to fame. Here are a few current top artists who might fill this description:

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish began her career on Soundcloud when her song “Ocean Eyes” went viral. Her older brother, Finneas, at the time already had a manager who later worked with Billie. At the age of 14, she signed with a label, and her songs were released on Spotify. She began to grow a popular following and her songs were even part of the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack. While Billie Eilish’s rise to fame does seem a bit on the inorganic side, it is important to note she has had a big team on her side that has always helped with marketing. 

Olivia Rodrigo 

Olivia Rodrigo grew to popularity fairly quickly this past year with her album “Sour,” which dominated the billboards for weeks. Olivia started her music career with Disney as an actress in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Her song All I Want is what got her signed to a label. After a year, she released her album. Being a part of Disney may be why some could think Olivia Rodrigo is an industry plant. However, a lot of her success from the album happened on social media. The possible drama between her, Sabrina Carpenter, and Joshua Basset made Olivia’s song “Drivers License” blow up on Tiktok. Once the label noticed her popularity, they officially began to market her work. Despite that, it seems a large amount of her musical fame may have been a result of the publicity she gained from Tiktok. 

Madison Beer

Madison Beer’s career started a bit differently than the other two artists. Madison began in 2012 when Justin Bieber saw her Youtube cover. This led to her being in communication with Bieber’s manager. Madison Beer has been rumored to be originally an industry plant as her mother had contacts with music labels. However, after getting little popularity from her music, her record dropped. Years later, Madison Beer is back in the music industry as an independent artist which shut down the possible industry plant rumors. 

Whether or not any of these artists were industry plants or not is up for you to decide.  Either way, they’ve come a long way from how their careers began, and still have much potential in the music world. 

Hello! My name is Sabrina and I am a senior at San Jose State University. I'm a pre-law student majoring in political science with a minor in economics.