Industry plant: An industry plant is an artist who has Major/Indie Label backing their movement but presents themselves as a “home grown start up” label to create a pseudo organic following.
– NicholasCageStressesMeOut via Urban Dictionary
Clairo, aka Claire Cottrill, is a 20-year-old bedroom pop artist. She’s been producing
musical content on YouTube and BandCamp since she was a young teen, but it wasn’t until 2017 when she finally went viral through her webcam music video for “Pretty Girl.” It was very sudden. I don’t believe anyone really knows how she “popped off.” Some give credit to Youtube’s random algorithm or just call it a fluke, but many have said it’s because she’s an industry plant.
Clairo’s father is Geoff Cottrill, a known marketer with connections to companies like Converse, Coca-Cola, and the popular music platform, The Fader. Many have speculated that Clairo’s father is the mastermind behind her success. I mean, she IS signed to Fader Label.
When I was first exposed to this “industry plant theory,” I believed it right away. The facts just seemed all there. And it was just a little too coincidental for me. I felt betrayed, as any fan would if they felt they were being lied to. I started to stray away from Clairo. Especially after watching videos from her performance at The Observatory (spoiler alert: it was terrible.) To me, Clairo was just a mediorce artist who only got to perform with the big guys (Tyler the Creator, Brockhampton, etc.) because of her dad’s connections.
I never changed my opinion that she made good music though, she didn’t have the best stage presence, but I couldn’t deny that she had some catchy songs. Since I continued to follow her on Instagram, I watched as she grew as an artist. She got more comfortable on stage and improved her songwriting quality. I slowly became a fan again. I even saw her perform at Lollapalooza. I actually really enjoyed it too. One day, I ended up running into her walking in Wicker Park. It felt very organic and she was so nice and inviting. So that got me wondering…how can such a humble artist, such as Clairo, be deemed the negatively connoted word of industry plant? And, if she is an industry plant, is that such a bad thing?
Anthony Fantano, a popular youtuber who makes music reviews, talked about industry plants in one of his more recent “LET’S ARGUE” videos. He said,
“…what I have an issue with, what I think a lot of other people have an issue with, is when despite the obvious connections, you come into the industry pretending to be something that you’re not. Like you’re just some totally organic, DIY, grassroots artist without anybody platforming you or helping you etc. Because that’s just a lie. That’s just bullshit. That’s just dishonesty. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not and just ride on this gigantic wave of privilege. I don’t really have an issue with artists who put out records that have connections in the industry or have rich parents. Having rich parents doesn’t mean you can’t make good music.”
Basically what I want you to take from this is that whether or not Clairo is an industry plant shouldn’t matter. Yes, I agree with Fantano that pretending you did it all on your own is just BS. You can correct me if I’m wrong but, though she never talked about the fact that her father has ties to the industry, I don’t recall her ever claiming that she didn’t have any help at all. Perhaps we, the public, just labeled her as an indie artist based on how DIY her songs sound and how low-cost her videos appear. We just assume she had that “home grown start up.” Or, maybe she did do it all herself. Yes, she has a father who has the power to push her career further, but that doesn’t mean she took advantage of it. You can’t just dismiss the hard work she puts into her art. Keep in mind, these are all just speculations. All I know is that as long as she keeps producing good music and continues to evolve as an artist is really what one should take into consideration when deciding whether or not to support her. As of right now, I like her music. So, I’m gonna keep listening to her music. Simple as that. But, if anything else surfaces that ends up altering my opinion on Clairo, I’ll make sure to share my thoughts with you guys in another post. Until then, bye 🙂
© 2018 Wisner