Troy Carter

Troy Carter88 posts

Troy Carter is an American businessman, born in Philadelphia in 1972. Originally a member of the short-lived rap group 2 Too Many, he worked for Puff Daddy before setting up his own artist management company. In 2007 he became Lady Gaga’s manager, helping her sell over 24 million albums and 90 million singles. He split with Gaga in 2013. He is an active investor in over 50 technology startups. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and five children.

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21 Jun, 2016

Launches Smashd Group


Carter and Havas launch Smashd Group, an extension of his online news vertical and business accelerator, at Cannes Lions. Carter’s team of 20 Smashd employees at Atom Factory will assist Havas’ global network of corporate clients on brand consultancy, technology strategy and other innovations. Carter, on the difference between large brands and artists social media presences.

We don’t touch our artists’ Twitter or Instagram accounts. [But] when you have multiple people running a digital department, it’s very difficult for that voice to translate throughout the organization into the community…If you’re Coca-Cola, General Mills, one of these big companies, they’re a big inspiration to most of these startups. So when you can marry that thirst for innovation within the biggest companies and the thirst for business development from these young entrepreneurs, we think it’s a perfect match, The idea of being able to do [Smashd] Labs on the tech side, and brand innovation, we can bring these two worlds together.

Carter also talks about the next area he sees that is set for disruption:

Banks are dead. I met with the founder two weeks ago who’s building a platform for music artists, from STEM, and basically they were gonna handle collections for music artists to collect royalties from YouTube and all these other platforms. After the founder showed me an artist’s PayPal account, which contained $250,000, she said, ‘None of the creators are gonna have bank accounts. For these kids, everything is happening on mobile.’ This group aren’t buying cars, so they’re not paying loans. They’re renting and not buying houses, they’re waiting to get married til their mid-to-late 30s. These kids aren’t going to college soon because they don’t want the student debt. So I think banks are ripe for disruption.

6 Jun, 2016

Joins Spotify


Carter is hired by Spotify to be the Global Head of Creative Services. As part of the transition, Carter will also step away from managing Meghan Trainor,

Through Atom Factory, my team will stay in place to run our tech, culture and hustle outlet as well as launch a brand innovation agency. And through Smashd Labs and Cross Culture VC, I’ll still continue investing in great founders that have the ability to deliver next wave disruption to culture.

8 Feb, 2016

Tech should train minority talent


In a panel on diversity at the Upfront Summit, Carter asks: What if we started treating computer science in the same way we treat athletics? Carter compares basketball’s feeder system to the hodge-podge landscape of tech recruiting. Despite the number of jobs available to skilled and talented programmers, there’s not a nationwide program to identify young talent, develop it, sponsor it with big names and scholarships, and lift kids out of unfortunate situations along the way.

In the NBA, there’s only room for 450 jobs. In tech, it’s exponential.

23 Nov, 2015

Re/code interview


In an interview with Re/code, Carter talks about SMASHDLabs.

On the artist side, we made a significant investment in very young artists from the very beginning of their careers and helped them become global superstars. So, on the entrepreneurs’ side, the idea of the labs was to be able to create this ecosystem to help them from the very beginning, to see them through from development and hopefully until they become large companies.

He also says that the accelerator companies had access to entrepreneurial advice from Marc Cuban, who gave the welcoming address, Sophia Amoruso of retail site Nasty Gal, Jason Calacanis, Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Upfront Ventures’ Mark Suster and MediaREDEF Chief Executive Jason Hirschhorn.

We had a wide array of incredible entrepreneurs and investors that came in to speak to the group. The head of growth for Snapchat, he probably spent five days with our companies. That’s significant.

18 Nov, 2015

THR Uber editorial

Writes Article

Carter writes a guest editorial for The Hollywood Reporter, about his investment in Uber.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Uber would now be worth close to $100 billion, but I believe it could become one of the most important companies in the world. As an investor, I initially had questions about Uber’s long-term potential given the pushback the company was getting from the San Francisco taxi industry, but CEO Travis Kalanick explained that someday Uber wouldn’t just move people, it would become a global log­is­tics platform with the ability to move things.

29 Oct, 2015

Fast Company interview


Carter is interviewed by Fast Company. He talks about how to get investor approval:

Do the work. That’s as basic as you can possibly get. You can’t dream your way out of a problem. You can’t just dream your way into the business. You’ve got to actually put rubber on the road and do the work. If your job is to sweep floors, the only way those floors are going to get swept is if you put the broom on the ground. If your job is to code, you need fingers on the keys. So whatever it is you do, you actually have to do the work. You can’t just talk about it. You can’t be philosophical about it. You have to get the physical work in.

12 Oct, 2015

Ebony interview


Ebony interviews Carter on the status of Blacks in tech.

You know the Jay-Z saying, “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t (laughs)?” This is a key point of that. Numbers show that there are not that many brothers and sisters in this field, and it takes the brothers and sister that are in already to help open those doors. We need to have that real, honest conversation on why the numbers are so low…I can say I’ve never felt overtly discriminated against in tech, or that I’ve walked from a meeting saying that someone was undeniably racist. But when you have companies like Twitter where 25% or more of your users are African American, but your employee base is in the very low single digits, that speaks volumes of your hiring practices and your thoughts on our community. I don’t think it’s said that ‘we aren’t hiring Blacks,’ but people are known to hire in their networks. So if you didn’t go to Harvard, or weren’t in this social club, or aren’t a member of this fraternity or sorority, you won’t have the same access as someone who shares the same exact resume as you do. We just have to get plugged into the networks.

10 Oct, 2015

Business Insider interview


In an interview with Business Insider, Carter explained that his investing style is largely based around “feel.”

I’m a simple guy. I know a lot of investors use a lot of analytics in their diligence process, and for me it’s about feel. It’s how do I feel about the idea, how do I feel about the entrepreneur. It’s the same thing that gave me an advantage to being an artist manager. Because it’s all feel. You’re not operating with a lot of data, so you get to feel out people…I want to know your background; I want to know your dynamic; I want to know how long you guys have known each other. If you’re partners on the show, I want to know how long you guys have known each other. I want to know how you guys make decisions together — that tells me a lot about how the business is going to be run.

9 Oct, 2015

Shark Tank appearance


Foot Cardigan accepts an offer on Shark Tank from Cuban and Carter, who is appearing as a guest shark, to co-invest $250,000 for a 20% ownership stake in their $9-a-month sock subscription service. The company says it earned $1.36 million in the past three years ($900,000 in the past 12 months) and projects $1.5 million for 2015. It currently services 6,000 monthly customers with seasonal increases to approximately 12,000 subscribers.

Foot Cardigan – Shark Tank First Pitch

2 Oct, 2015

Leaves Atom Factory, launches Friends At Work


Stiklorius leaves Atom Factory to start Friends At Work, her own own management company, where she will work with Lindsey Stirling and John Legend. Carter:

The only thing that I love as much as artists are entrepreneurs, and Ty has the makings of a great one. Although I’m sad to see her leave, I’m grateful for our time together and extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last three years. She and John are going to build a great company that will help other artists and have an impact on the community. They’ll always be a part of our family here at Atom Factory.

23 Sep, 2015

TechCrunch Disrupt interview


Carter is interviewed by Lane at TechCrunch Disrupt. He says that artists’ complaints about streaming revenues are flawed, because the only alternative to streaming services is piracy or having someone listen to the song on YouTube for free. He says artists to be patient, and said that streaming is a numbers game.

Once everyone is converted to services like Spotify, the economics will make a lot more sense.

However, he says that labels are not paying artists Spotify royalties.

Spotify came in and did a presentation for us, maybe about a couple of months ago, and our clients made a significant amount of income from Spotify. Well, let’s rephrase that: the labels made a significant amount of money off of Spotify that didn’t match up to the artist royalty statements that the artists received. So, Spotify is paying out a lot of money, it’s just not finding its way into the hands of the artists.

He also says that while Silicon Valley’s ecosystem eventually needs to open up:

If you don’t open up the opportunities to the people who understand the industry, and understand the space, Silicon Valley is going to miss out.

Troy Carter discusses the state of entertainment and technology at Disrupt SF

10 Sep, 2015

Business Insider interview


Carter is interviewed by Business Insider. On why he originally turned down Shark Tank:

Originally I passed on doing it and I went home and I talked to my wife about it, and I ended up coming back around…What we thought about is that you can’t be it if you can’t see it. There’s not a lot of black entrepreneurs and I can’t sit there and bitch about diversity in tech and all of those things about access and pipeline if I’m not out there doing something about that…I’m watching the riots in Baltimore, I’m watching Ferguson, I’m watching Blacklivesmatter, I’m watching Jesse Jackson berate Silicon Valley. There’s just all these conversations around race, diversity, and tech. That’s what kind of gave me this shift where I said “It’s time that I do something and lend my voice.”

On working on the show:

You know what, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for the sharks. I don’t know how they do their day jobs and do what they do on Shark Tank. It was definitely competitive for sure, and you get into some really deep negotiations. Luckily once I realized, “Ok, this is what I do every day” I got into my comfort zone. The biggest surprise for me was the length of the negotiations. The producers and editors do a really good job of what can sometimes be an hour and a half-negotiation and edit it down to a seven-minute segment.

9 Sep, 2015

SMASHD Labs inductees announced


Carter announces the first inductees into the SMASHD Labs accelerator program.

We want to be able to open the door to companies to come into our network where we can actually invest money, put a network of investors around them, and put mentors in the room that can help them build a great company.

Inductees include WeTransfer, a file transfer service:

All of our clients on the music side use WeTransfer, so here we have this opportunity to reach 70 million people per month through advertising.

Trakfire, a Product Hunt for music:

Without giving too much away about what they’re working on, it’s the most well-thought out and efficient way of discovering new music I’ve seen so far.

Sidestep, which lets fans order fan gear directly to their concert seats or their house.

You go into the venues and there’s a huge drop-off rate in the merch lines. People don’t want to miss parts of the concert.

Throne, an Ebay for streetwear, which he had seen at a demo day:

The problem with when you look at eBay is that you can put a pair of Jordans next to a frying pan. It’s an altogether different experience compared to having some editorial around it and well-curated experience

Podium, which gives tablets to Uber and Lyft riders:

Having a captive audience in the back of Lyft or an Uber is a pretty great place.

Enrou, a marketplace where buyers can support both the individuals and communities that they buy from. Carter saw the founders on Forbes 30 under 30 list and wanted the company to apply for SMASHD.

This was a company that really checked a box that we were looking for in how can we combine social impact around global culture.

22 Jul, 2015

Billboard interview


Carter talks about why he started SMASHD Labs to Billboard.

There’s definitely a huge amount of accelerators out there, but there was a void for one that focused on brand, and that’s a space we have a lot of experience at and that makes this unique. Selfishly, it works for the Atom Factory — by being able to put 25 of the smartest entrepreneurs from around the world in your office. We get a lot of value out of that as well…[I want] A diverse team — the crux of my personal mission is to open up entrepreneurship to everybody, so Silicon Valley doesn’t have a patent on innovation. We want to open up the process to people outside of that network — the team would be diverse, hard-working entrepreneurs with technical expertise that are looking to gain traction on their product.

On the importance of data:

There’s always going to be a place for artists — but when you look at what humans have actually done to devalue music, from a pure monetary valuation standpoint, this is the part where our industry needs a lot of help. SoundCloud is worth its $1.5 billion valuation, but there’s no way in the world that SoundCloud should be worth more than The Beatles’ catalog. From a value proposition, we have a huge opportunity to re-value our business… I think the music is undervalued. I think up to this point we’ve done a poor job of valuing our content.


Announces SMASHD Labs tech accelerator


Carter announces SMASHD Labs, an LA-based accelerator. SMASHD Labs will take between five and seven young tech companies whose focus is entertainment and culture and house them for 10 weeks in Atom Factory’s office, providing them with $50,000 in funding for 3% of the company, as well as providing a weekly “curriculum” in order to focus and define their idea.


20 Jul, 2015

To appear as Guest Shark


Carter will appear as a Guest Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, taking the place of Kevin O’Leary on one show. The season, which premieres on September 25, will also have Chris Sacca and Ashton Kutcher as Guest Sharks. Carter says he is excited to join because of the show’s ability to reach Americans outside the Bay Area and New York hubs, “specifically kids that look like me” from less privileged or minority backgrounds.

I love Silicon Valley, but it doesn’t have a patent on innovation and entrepreneurship. These are legitimate business negotiations with entrepreneurs who are spending their own money.

As for dealing with the other sharks:

The daggers were out along with the checkbooks.

18 May, 2015

Southern Rites


Carter executive produces (along with John Legend and Mike Jackson) this 90-minute documentary film, directed by Gillian Laub for HBO. The film examines race relations, a segregated prom, politics, and the killing of an unarmed young black man that joins the residents of two Georgia towns.

Southern Rites (HBO Documentary Films)

11 Mar, 2015

USC interview


Carter shares his story and advice with University of Southern California students. He talks about his lowest point:

It was a really tough one and a half years of my life… I feel, as a human being, you can only hit so many lows before you are at your breaking point. I remember this one point when I was driving my car… and I had to pull over, and I just broke down and cried my face out. And after I did that, I said “OK, it’s time. Let me get back to work”. It was just one of those moments when I had to pull it out of myself… I’m a firm believer you got to work your way out of these problems and you always got to do the right thing.

Troy Carter | Atom Factory | 2015

9 Mar, 2015

Drexel University talk

Gives Talk

Troy Carter Drexel talk2015Carter talks at Westphal College’s URBN Annex in Philadelphia.

I grew up 10 minutes from here. West Philly, born and raised. Grew up right around the corner from Jazzy Jeff.

On tech/music convergence:

There [are] so many similarities to managing artists and also providing service for entrepreneurs. So my job over the years in managing artists has become chief strategist on their team, but also a mentor in their lives. Now, we’re starting to see this convergence. Is a company like Netflix a content company or a tech company? What’s going to happen with SoundCloud or Pandora? My dream in the music business is to see our ‘products’ scale in the same way we have seen Google and Twitter scale.

On finding talent:

I’ve gotten really lucky in my life because I follow my intuition on people. I didn’t have any sort of formal education or anything like that, but I think I’ve always been good at understanding people and staying next to really talented people. And it’s the same thing with entrepreneurs.

On work/life balance:

My son’s first soccer game, I missed a luncheon with President Obama. I thought, my son only gets one first soccer game, I could probably get to meet the president again. I hope! I do meditate. My hobby, I love backgammon. So I play backgammon… nobody knows that.

2 Mar, 2015

Launches Smashd


Carter launches Smashd, ( an online news site dedicated to uncovering the personalities and trends in “tech, culture and hustle”. Smashd is the result of a six-month plan hatched between Carter and Kozlowski, a former writer-editor at Forbes who focused on covering entrepreneurs and the L.A. startup scene. Carter:

It came from internal conversations we’d been having around the office about where we get our news and information from in the morning. You’d go through blog after blog, and for us — living between the tech, music and pop-culture worlds — it just didn’t feel like there was one place where we could call home or a hub, especially as told through a very original lens.

The initial content is a mix of stories and videos that meet what Carter calls a mix of “Forbes meets Fader”

It’s very rare when you can get a real glimpse inside the life of an entrepreneur. So for us, most of the stories we’re gonna be covering, like through a series called ‘In Residence,’ will give a glimpse inside their environment.

19 Jan, 2015

Moroder, Carter chat


Carter and Moroder chat about music and technology at the DLD conference in Munich, Germany. Moroder talks about his upcoming album., digital recording, and recording Scarface. Moroder on digital:

I love digital. I think I was one of the first, if not the first one, to recorded a whole album only on digital. The album was called E=mc², which I recorded in Los Angeles, with a guy from Salt Lake City who invented the stereo digital, called Dr Stockham. I recorded the whole album in two days live. I have to wait for weeks for the computer to generate edits and cuts.

DLD15 – 74 is the new 24 (Giorgio Moroder, Troy Carter)

12 Dec, 2014

Billboard Year in Music ‘upstart’

Makes Statement

Carter is quoted as an “upstart” in Billboard’s 2014 Year in Music, alongside Meghan Trainor and Nico and Vinz:

Last year, when people came to Atom Factory, a lot of it was on me to be able to deliver. I had to show up to every meeting; the focus was on me. And this year, I think the focus has been on us. We all understand that we’re only as good as the talent we represent.

3 Dec, 2014

The Influencer Economy interview


Carter is interviewed by Williams on The Influencer Economy. He talks about about hip-hop, entrepreneurship, life, failure, success and finding passion around your work.

In life in general, there are no guarantees. Failures are a part of life. As cliché as it may sound, the way I look at it is that there are no rewards without taking risks. We take a risk every time we step out the door, you know, every single day. Life is full of risks and failures, but at the same time life is full of triumphs and happiness.

I relate to entrepreneurs on a soulful level. I know what keeps them up at night. I know how those victories feel. .. And when you can’t make payroll, and you’ve got knots in your stomach, I know what that feels like too.

21 Oct, 2014

Forbes Under 30 Summit judge

Cameo/Guest Appearance

Carter appears as one of three judges of the $400,000 Pressure Cooker Contest during Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia. The winners are a team called Enrou, with “an online conscious marketplace for the conscious consumer to find products created in developing countries all around the world”.

Forbes, Steve Case And Troy Carter Give Away 0K

22 Sep, 2014

Platform Summit 2013 interview


Carter is interviewed by at the Platform Summit 2103’s session on Failure: The Surprising Critical Ingredient of Success. (Meet the Risk Takers.)

For a startup , in order to win big you have to swing big.

Troy Carter interviewed by David Sutphen at Platform Summit 2013

21 Sep, 2014

Social Good Summit

Gives Talk

Carter speaks at the Social Good Summit in New York City. The Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. This year’s theme #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?”

There’s a social call built into a lot of the businesses we are seeing. The partnership between entrepreneurs and the UN…there’s a lot we can do together. We’re probably at step one of many steps but it’s a great start for the UN.

Troy Carter: Social Good Summit 2014

11 Sep, 2014

NBC News interview


Carter is interviewed by Shriver for NBC News.

I know how to pick really good people. From great artists to great partners. I call it my ‘West Philly Spidey Senses’.

On women:

I attract really strong women! My wife is CFO of the company and the CFO of the house…and mother of five. My COO is a woman. The president of my company is a woman. I surround myself with really, really strong women.

21 Aug, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge: Troy Carter


Carter takes the Ice Bucket Challenge in aid of ALS research. He nominates Daniel Ek of Spotify and John Legend. He says because of the drought that he will only douse himself with a glass of water. However, he is surprised by Stirling, who throws water on him from the roof of the building.

I was just gonna donate but now I feel the peer pressure.

Troy Carter Ice Bucket Challenge

13 Jun, 2014

Tips to Succeed as a Manager


Carter gives some tips to Rennie about how to succeed in the music business as a manager:

One I would say is you gotta have a real passion for it. It’s not an easy business, so that when times get hard you really stick with it. The other thing is that I have a real personal relationship with all of the clients i work with. It’s more than just a transaction and it’s more than just business  I’m actually in their fight, and they are people I love and people I really respect. And when you have those things you don’t mind taking the late night phone calls or sacrificing time away from the family, because it’s bigger than just a commission check.

Tips to Succeed as a Manager with Troy Carter

22 Apr, 2014

Credit Suisse Entrepreneur’s Summit interview


Carter shares his insights on the effects technology has on business and what he looks for when investing in startup companies.

Technology has always affected business. Always some kind of disruption… (need to) have that ability to live around the corner. And pay attention to emerging technologies…We do more investing in entrepreneurs than we invest in startups. It always starts with “who are we investing in?”… and whether this entrepreneur has the wherewithal to go the distance.

Troy Carter, Atom Factory – Building a Brand: From Music to Technology

5 Mar, 2014

Named co-presidents


Erving and Stiklorius are named co-presidents of Atom Factory by Carter. Carter:

J and I have a long history, dating back to 2000 when we co-founded Erving Wonder Management. He has proven to be an exceptional deal maker and music manager. Ty has been an incredible addition to the team.  Her strategic thinking and creativity has given the company and our clients a tremendous amount of added value.  I’m looking forward to having the two of them help grow and scale our management business.


Troy and I both grew up in Philly and have been friends since early on in our careers. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he has accomplished, and I am looking forward to adding value to the Atom Factory platform; whether it is in branding, technology, or management.


Atom Factory provides an innovative and creative platform for artists to thrive in, and I am pleased to partner with Troy and J to help lead the company in continuing to push the boundaries of what a forward-thinking artist management company can be.

Feb 2014

Fast Company interview


Carter is interviewed by Fast Company. He talk about his split with Gaga:

I’m human. I went through every emotion. You go from fear to sadness…It’s like you wake up and you work with somebody every day, and then all of a sudden they’re not there anymore. I don’t think you’re ever prepared to sever that deep of a relationship.


Money doesn’t make me tick. This definition of success doesn’t make me tick. Managing some of the biggest stars in the world doesn’t make me tick. Making my family proud makes me tick…Will [Smith] was talking about how he still worries about being broke. And I laughed because I’m like, ‘Me too.’ It’s a thing from where we come from. A lot had to do with going broke as an adult too. So when you come from nothing and you work your way up and you make something of yourself, there’s always that sense that all of this could go away tomorrow

On investing with other artist managesr:

When you look at how technology companies are funded, it’s not a zero-sum game. It could be 20 investors in one company, and everybody has to work together for the benefit of that company. As we invested, we realized we need each other on these deals because my network is better when you’re in it.

13 Jan, 2014

The Guardian interview


Carter is interviewed in The Guardian. On the split with Gaga:

I’ve been in the music industry for 24 years and with God’s grace I’ll be in it until I take my last breath. And I don’t think a speed bump in the road will stop me from doing what I love.It’s not cancer. When you look at the big scheme of things, it’s not cancer.

On technology changes in the music industry he sees: albums released solely as apps; unprecedented data harvesting; more African Americans in Silicon Valley; concert holograms; massively bigger audiences; and the perpetually online, engaged digital star.

Everybody should be nervous. With the music industry we’ve always had technological change, whether it was disruption from eight-track to cassette, or cassette to CD, CD to download, download to streaming. The difference now is how fast it’s happening. We’re seeing new technology pop up every few months like this [snaps fingers]. I sit on the edge of my seat. I try to live around the corner just to get a sneak peak, to have some sense of what’s happening. The industry [needs] to be very aware, concerned and curious about everything on the way.

Gaga has done a phenomenal job building this huge digital fanbase – fans who became activists for her and will fight battles on her behalf. At the height of rock’n’roll it was about mailing lists. One of the early jobs I did was opening Will [Smith]’s fan mail. Now all that’s been replaced by tweets and social media. So you’ve always had that connection. But now you can reach people in real time…I’m very bullish about this new generation of artists. They’re digital natives. They’re starting their careers online.

Carter says he has a tiny digital footprint. For work he uses Path, which limits contacts to 150, and uses Facebook just for family. He doesn’t tweet.

Twitter is much more public and I don’t have that many clever things to say.

10 Jan, 2014

Hires Carter as manager


Mayer hires Carter as his manager, the first time Carter’s will work with a major rock artist. A source says they met through mutual friends:

It’s just getting started but great new things will be announced as the year progresses.

2 Jan, 2014

‘Betrayed and gravely mismanaged’

Writes Article

Gaga writes a message on her site, apologizing for the delayed Do What U Want video, saying she has been betrayed by management.

It is late because, just like with the Applause video unfortunately, I was given a week to plan and execute it. It is very devastating for someone like me, I devote every moment of my life to creating fantasies for you. All my my most successful videos were planned over a period of time when I was rested and my creativity was honored. Those who have betrayed me gravely mismanaged my time and health and left me on my own to damage control any problems that ensued as a result. Millions of dollars are not enough for some people. They want billions. Then they need trillions. I was not enough for some people. They wanted more.

Please forgive me that I did not foresee this coming, I never thought after all the years of hard work that those I called friends and partners would ever care so little at a time I needed them the most. Give me a chance to show you the meaning of seeing art all around you. There are always ups and downs. my heart breaks from the people i have trusted and loved who i’ve worked so closely with, who have used me, lied to me, worked me into the ground for the personal gain. When i woke up in the hospital after my surgery there were many people that were not there. my health did not matter. I did not matter unless i could perform. This is a very hard lesson. I have lost love ones to the greed of money. It is not Interscope. They in fact love me very much and will see ARTPOP to the end.

4 Nov, 2013

Gaga, Carter split

Business split

After Gaga’s YouTube Music Awards Dope performance, Gaga and Carter split over “creative differences.” Sources say Carter has been cut out of the ARTPop album campaign, and Gaga has been refusing his advice:

She doesn’t take direction anymore.

The two had been having rifts in recent months – including a reported fight around August’s MTV Video Music Awards that one source describes as a “blow out,” but was later resolved. Another insider says that Carter, while sad, feels “liberated” to be relieved from duty.

23 Oct, 2013

Announces $75M+ tech fund


Carter, through AF Square, announces the formation of a new fund of between $75 million and $100 million, which will invest mostly in seed and Series A stages. He doesn’t say where the money is coming from, but that he’ll be taking the same approach with his investments as he takes with the musicians he brings in under his management. He describes his investment strategy as:


30 Apr, 2013

TC Disrupt interview


In an on-stage interview at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference, Carter says terrestrial radio is due for disruption:

I think the opening right now is really figuring out terrestrial radio, specifically in America..People still get in the car, for the most part, and they turn on the radio [to] the local station. I think it’s going to be interesting when you can get in your car, turn on the radio turn on the station and you’re listening to a 17 year-old kid in Russia or you’re listening to a 22 year-old kid in his dorm room in Germany. But I think radio’s going to be a real disruption.

He also says the music industry must adapt to change:

I don’t think tech has screwed the music industry, the music industry has to adjust to change. When people in remote villages throughout the world can access music, it’s a good thing.

Atom Factory's Troy Carter on Music Technology | Disrupt NY 2013

22 Apr, 2013

Billboard cover

Magazine Cover

billboard_cover_scooter_braun_guy_oseary_troy_carterCarter appears on the cover of Billboard with Guy Oseary and Scooter Braun. He talks about the intersection of analytics and music:

The next phase of data is going to be transparency and also a deep dive into analytics—is it being used in a way that doesn’t violate the trust between the artist and the fans and the consumer and the brands? We wanted to see which songs [fans are] listening to from start to finish, which songs they’re skipping and which are the best playlists in which those songs could existThat’s helping us realize what sorts of music are going to work at which format, and whether this song should follow the other on a particular release. It’s an ongoing education and we’re learning a lot.

He says Little Monsters is selling upwards of 6,000-7,000 presale tickets per show.

[In each city] we were doubling and even tripling what sponsor presales were and what other artists’ fan sites have done.


Signs Carter as manager


Stirling signs Carter as her manager. Carter first discovers Stirling through Atom Factory’s Stiklorius, who encourages her boss to check out Stirling’s YouTube channel. He flies to Orlando, FL., to check out one of her gigs, and is impressed by her ability to sell out a 1,200-seat venue without any mainstream radio support. Stirling has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, a sold-out European tour and has sold 108,000 copies of her self-titled, self-released album. Carter:

By looking at the numbers, automatically you could see this girl knew how to move the needle and understood YouTube was a venue to engage fans both online and offline.

Several companies had approached Stirling about representation:

After every other meeting I remember feeling so confused. But with Atom Factory, they were up to date on current things and trying new stuff all the time, and I felt so creatively alive when I met with them.

Mar 2013

V magazine cover


LadyGagaTroyVCoverCarter is interviewed by V magazine. On how he sees pop music evolving:

This is the best time to be in the music industry. As sub-Saharan Africa and China go completely mobile, you have people who’ve never had access to the music we offer all of a sudden able to access it. I think we can reach a lot more people now. You’re going to see a lot more friction points for independent artists disappear, but there will be more artists than ever. You’ll have to look at making money through a different lens. Artists are going to be giving away music in exchange for different things, like data or purchasing a ticket or a piece of merchandise. There will be new ways to monetize music, but it may not be the music itself.

His most memorable experience working with Gaga:

I think—and I can say this because it just happened recently—it was seeing her have a casual conversation with the President about gay rights issues. When you think back to six years ago, this girl from New York walking in with ripped-up stockings, and now she’s having conversations with the President about serious issues—it’s a bit surreal.

13 Feb, 2013

UN Global Entrepreneurs Council

Carter joins the Global Entrepreneurs Council, a group of leading innovators helping the United Nations Foundation helping the United Nations identify opportunities in the UN’s key areas of women and girls, global health, energy and climate, and population. Other inductees in the two-year program include Neil Blumenthal, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Warby Parker, and Barbara Pierce Bush, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Health Corps.

30 Nov, 2012

Financial Times interview


Carter is interviewed by The Financial Times. He talks about the launch of and how data from the many South American fans led to the expansion of a tour there.

Our bet is on the future of micronetworks. Facebook wasn’t wired to build a relationship between fans and artists. It’s more about communicating with family and friends and old girlfriends or your classmates; 51m likes doesn’t mean we’re going to sell 51m albums or concert tickets. [It’s a] misconception when people talk about a direct relationship between artists and their fans or brands and consumers through social media. The reality is that these platforms own the relationship. So as much as you can talk directly to a customer or a fan, you still have this intermediary . . . that controls the data. And at any given time, if they turn it off or they change an algorithm, like Facebook did with its newsfeed algorithm last year, it changes the way you’re able to communicate with that fan or customer

About his abilities as an artist:

I stay away from the arts . . . writing songs, being creative – those are downloads from god. You can’t do data analytics on art.

The importance of hiring outsiders:

My COO didn’t come from the music industry, my vice-president of creative was actually a schoolteacher. It was important we had people who came from an outside perspective, who didn’t come from selling CDs.

29 Oct, 2012

Announces PoP Water


Carter and photographer Richardson announce PopWater, a drink that will be marketed as a healthier alternative to sugary soft drinks – an 11.2 oz can will contain 30 calories and 7 grams of sugar. Initial flavors will include apple, orange, pineapple and grape. Richardson will be the brand’s creative director. The product will launch early 2103 in California. Carter says the idea for Pop Water resulted from the various conversations with the big cola producers’ music initiatives.

We noticed none of the brands had music in their DNA. We felt we could build something with relevance to music and pop culture if we built something from scratch. Whether it’s flying to Kentucky with food scientists or flying around the world sourcing the packaging, the last two years has been an education for us in the beverage space…We’re talking to a bunch of music and pop culture icons who’ve tasted the beverage. We’re gonna have a lot of support behind this…The idea is not to be just an endorsement but to be a part of people’s lives. Endorsements, where they’re just one-offs feels like the artists just got a check for it. For us, we set out to make something that’s a lot healthier than what’s in the market. It’s really hard to get 30 calories to taste good.

26 Oct, 2012

Wired 2012 talk


At Wired 2012, Carter says that despite Little Monsters allowing Gaga to connect with her fans in an unprecedented way, the music industry doen’t care:

They’re not using the data. I can sit down with the guy from Spotify, and he shows me this spike on Fridays as people listen to Gaga before going to the clubs. When I go to South Africa I know to include this song in this set, because I know that’s a fan favourite, and also to take this song out. We’ve never had a direct relationship with an audience. When someone buys a CD we used to count them as a fan, but we never knew if they hated the CD and threw it out the window.

He says that Gaga used social media early because her music would not get played on the radio:

She didn’t look like a typical pop star, and the music was more four to the floor dance music, so radio wouldn’t play it. She’s at 30-something-million Twitter followers now because she had a headstart over everybody. The types of messages she sends are very authentic, so when she sends messages her fans engage. We started buying fan artworks, and including that in our actual merch line in the tour, because we found fans like art from other fans. They know what they want more than we know what they want.

However the media doesn’t define the message:

It’s like a download from God. We were in a meeting with Google, with Gaga and Larry Page, and Larry said to Gaga, ‘Do you ever a/b test your music?’ She replied, ‘Did Picasso ever a/b test painting?

Troy Carter: Full talk from Wired 2012

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