Starfuckers, Inc.

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"Starfuckers, Inc."
NIN Starsuckers.jpg
Promotional single by Nine Inch Nails
from the album The Fragile
Released May 2, 2000 (2000-05-02)
Length 5:00
Label Nothing

"Starfuckers, Inc." (known as "Starsuckers, Inc." in its censored form) is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from the 1999 album The Fragile. Although the song does not have an official halo (the numbering system used by Nine Inch Nails for each release), an edited single was distributed with exclusive radio edits and a video for the song was produced.


Written by Trent Reznor and Charlie Clouser, "Starfuckers, Inc." is one of the heaviest songs on The Fragile. The chorus is built on heavy metal guitars and choruses shouted by a crowd. The verses feature breakbeats, deep bass hits, and glitchy vocals. The outro introduces more synthesizers, distortion, and sound effects.

"Starfuckers, Inc." deals with the self-involved vanity and shallow commercialization of fame.[1] The song directly references "You're So Vain", Carly Simon's ode to a self-absorbed lover, by quoting the chorus:

You're so vain
I bet you think this song is about you
Don't you?

These lyrics were changed for the video version of "Starsuckers, Inc." to:

And soon you'll make us forget about you
Won't you?

The lyrics are often speculated to be directed towards Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. In a 2017 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Manson openly claimed that Reznor wrote the song about him after a heated incident between the two, though they renewed their friendship in time for Manson to co-direct and appear in the music video. The word "Starfucker" may have been taken from The Rolling Stones' song "Star Star" (original title "Starfucker") which appeared on their 1973 album Goats Head Soup,[2] or more likely from the song "Professional Widow"—also rumoured to be about Love—by Tori Amos, to whom Reznor was close prior to what he refers to as "some malicious meddling on the part of [Love]".[3]

The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2000, but it lost to Black Sabbath's live rendition of "Iron Man".


"Starsuckers, Inc." was released as a promotional three-track CD in the United States. It contains the original track, a radio edit in which the word "starfuckers" is replaced by the less-profane "Starsuckers", and the audio of the "Starsuckers, Inc." video with additional changes in lyrics. Its Nothing Records catalog number is INTR-10079-2.

An extended version of "Starfuckers, Inc." was also included as a B-side to the first single from The Fragile, "The Day the World Went Away".

Music video

Reznor and Marilyn Manson in the "Starsuckers, Inc." music video

The music video for "Starfuckers, Inc." was directed by Robert Hales and Marilyn Manson,[4] and revolves around the same themes as the song, albeit in a darkly humorous manner. Under the cover of darkness, Reznor and an attractive blonde woman ride in a limousine to a deserted carnival. With the blonde videotaping his antics, Reznor throws baseballs at images of various musicians. The theme of "breaking images" recurs throughout the video.

Images of other musicians throughout the video refer, in part, to a well-known story about Reznor in Spin in 1997: "Unlike many musicians, Reznor is savagely aware of his place in the current strata of pop stars. He constantly compares himself to other musicians, saying that he 'can't write a thousand songs like Billy Corgan,' that he's 'not as careerist as [Marilyn] Manson,' that he 'can't sing about [his] big dick like David Lee Roth.'"[5] Images of Corgan, Manson, and Roth, among others, appear throughout the video. At the end of the video, the blonde woman pulls off her wig to reveal herself as Manson.

Viewers took Manson's appearance in the video as a sign that Reznor and Manson had renewed their friendship. Manson has sung "Starfuckers, Inc." live with the band once, with the video recording of this performance appearing as an easter egg on the And All that Could Have Been DVD.

Track listings

  • UK promotional 12" single[6]
A. "Starfuckers, Inc." – 5:00
B. "The Day the World Went Away" (Porter Ricks Remix) – 7:02
  • US promotional CD single[7]
  1. "Starsuckers, Inc." – 4:13
  2. "Starfuckers, Inc." – 4:06
  3. "Starsuckers, Inc." (video version) – 4:18
  • German promotional CD single[8]
  1. "Starsuckers" – 5:01


Chart (1999) Peak
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[9] 39


  1. ^ Marilyn Manson / Trent Reznor - The Starsuckers comment on YouTube
  2. ^ Weisbard, Eric (March 1996). "Sympathy for the Devil". Spin Magazine. Vol. 11 no. 11. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  3. ^ "TORI AMOS | HEREINMYHEAD.COM | musicians | trent reznor". Hereinmyhead.Com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  4. ^ "Nine Inch Nails - Starsuckers Inc. - Music Video Database - The Base Of Music Videos". Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  5. ^ "Trent Reznor - Most Vital Person". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Starfuckers, Inc." (UK promotional 12" single). Nine Inch Nails. Nothing Records/Island Records. 1999. 12 NIN 1.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ "Starsuckers, Inc." (US promotional CD single). Nine Inch Nails. Nothing Records. 2000. INTR-10079-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ "Starsuckers" (German promotional CD single). Nine Inch Nails. Motor Music. 2000. 9551038 224.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
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