Here's Why TikTokers Think This Pop-Punk Band Are Industry Plants

"Teenage angst has paid off well," Kurt Cobain sang on the intro track to Nirvana's 1993 album In Utero, and jaded scenesters weren't the only ones to notice. A new pop-rock band called Tramp Stamps has faced a large amount of backlash on TikTok, as alternative music fans on the app accuse them of being industry plants.

The band's origins are difficult to track down, but the group's first posts on Instagram and TikTok were in November 2020. The band's Facebook page indicates that it was created in October 2020. Twitter indicates that the band's account was created in April 2020.

The band appears to be releasing music through its own record label, Make Tampons Free, as that's where it says the music is copyrighted on Apple Music. The band also includes the phrase in all of its social profiles. The description on one of its music videos on YouTube appears to indicate that a company called AWAL might be involved.

All members appeared to have music careers prior to forming the band. Singer Marisa Maino and guitarist Caroline Baker (under the name carobae) have released a handful of EPs. Drummer Paige Blue is a songwriter who is published by Downtown Music Publishing and Pray for My Haters.

Due to the members' neon-colored hair, shiny cartoonish aesthetics and clear pop-punk influences in their music, many TikTokers felt that they were being pandered to by record labels attempting to sell the group as successors to early-2000s pop-punk like Blink 182 but also riot grrrl groups due to the band's seemingly feminist lyrical subject matter.

A number of TikTokers have shared videos attempting to prove that the group is "industry plants" (i.e. a band inorganically formed by a record label). While there is no clear proof that a label is backing the band, TikTokers have cited the members' past work in the music industry or the fact that the band has a well-designed website and strong social media strategy that markets them toward people who may interested in alt-rock.

"What really baffles me about this entire phenomenon is the fact that industry figureheads thought that putting these—this group together would be what young people are interested in," a TikToker with the handle @seapunk historian said in a video.


Reply to @hard_cope #greenscreen @trampstamps Google is free yk...this y’all? Actual artists have dedicated their lives to real DIY communities. Corpo

♬ original sound - ☭ 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡 𝐒𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐨𝐧 ☭

While again it's not clear if the band actually has any corporate backing, a label trying to capitalize on a recent resurgence in pop-punk popularity on the heels of artists like Machine Gun Kelly pivoting towards making music with clear homages to bands like Paramore and Blink 182 on his latest album Tickets to My Downfall are unsurprising.

While any punk band that has signed a deal with major label could tell you that it's common for bands to face backlash and be called "sell-outs" (ask Green Day and Against Me!), this level of calling out poser-dom is somewhat uncommon for a band that has yet to release their debut EP. Still, plenty of people on TikTok have taken to roasting the band for seemingly a little too well-polished to be an organically started band.


#greenscreen like a worse version of the sex pistols kinda? #punk #fyp

♬ original sound - sigma they/he

Some other TikTokers have also taken to criticizing the group's lyrical subject matter in their most recent song "I'd Rather Die," which is an autotuned diatribe against "hook[ing] up with another straight white guy." The lyrics have pretty frank directives about wanting to avoid oral sex and also not receiving it in return. In a video that's received over 600,000 views, one person criticized a verse in the song saying that the lyrics "didn't sit right" with her, implying that the lyrics appeared to have sexual harassment undertones. "Assault is not punk," she said.

I didn't know this needed to be said but @trampstamps it's not a girl boss move or punk to sing about pressuring people to have sex with you when they don't want to or unable to properly consent due to alcohol. Taking the lyrics of genius isn't gonna hide this

— Pepper DeChenne (@DechennePepper) April 15, 2021

Despite criticisms leveled against the band, the accusations that they're industry plants have lead to larger discussions about what an industry plant is. One TikToker explained that while industry plants aren't inherently a bad thing, they don't tend to sit well with punk fans, "because they have a skeptical fanbase."

Newsweek reached out to Tramp Stamps via Facebook Message and Instagram DM and AWAL via email.

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A picture taken on January 21, 2021 in Nantes, western France shows a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok. LOIC VENANCE / AFP/Getty Images