Founder/Chairman/CEO, Atom Factory
To Gaga And Beyond
To think of Troy Carter, 39, primarily as "Lady Gaga's manager" is to disregard the bold entrepreneurial moves the Philadelphia native has made in the digital space during the past decade. Carter started working with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince at Overbrook Entertainment, then with Sean "Diddy" Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment, before forming his own management company, Erving Wonder, in 1999.
While creating industry relationships managing artists like Philly rapper Eve, Carter met a then-unknown Lady Gaga in 2007 and focused on spreading online awareness even though radio PDs doubted her top 40 chops. As Gaga's star rose, Carter stayed behind the scenes, investing in companies like Turntable.fm and Bre.ad while forming partnerships with platforms like Zynga to accrue fan engagement and eventually help the pop superstar sell more than 1.1 million copies of her 2011 album, Born This Way, in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"The last four or five years have really been about watching the industry make drastic changes -- a lot of it due to what was happening to technology and consumer behavior," Carter says. His latest masterstroke is Backplane, a "social network built specifically for fans," with the Gaga-centric site LittleMonsters.com unveiled as its first official vertical earlier this year. As Gaga continues her Born This Way Ball world tour, Carter -- who formed Atom Factory in 2010 -- will roll out Backplane sites for other artists while readying new releases for clients like Mindless Behavior and Priyanka Chopra, as well as expanding his company's portfolio. "We're looking at companies that are gonna disrupt industries," he notes.