Troy Carter’s Atom Factory has signed John Mayer and Miguel as management clients, Billboard has learned, finalizing deals that began in late 2013 with each artist. Miguel has been part of the roster since mid-November, having split with previous firm Red Light, while talks with Mayer began shortly after the singer parted ways with longtime manager Michael McDonald in early December.
Both follow the news from early November that Carter and top client Lady Gaga split after more than five years together.
Carter, reached by Billboard, confirmed the news but declined to comment on the signings, as did reps for Miguel and Mayer.
It might be premature to call Carter’s high-profile signings of Mayer and Miguel a “comeback” in the wake of the Gaga separation, but it certainly helps deflect much of the criticism and it also redirects the career arcs of these high-profile pop artists.
Mayer needed to make a big statement with his next manager, following the departure of McDonald, who oversaw his career even before his 2002 breakout. Miguel went through two other management changes in 2013 with TPF Management and Red Light, and a booking switch from ICM to William Morris Endeavor, even as his star rapidly ascended throughout the year with his breakout performances at the Grammys and Billboard Music Awards and guest features on hits from Mariah Carey, J. Cole and Janelle Monae.
And Carter, who has yet to discuss the Gaga split publicly, has been mentioned in numerous press reports this past week in reference to Gaga’s post on her LittleMosnters web site about the “betrayal” she experienced last year. “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,” the singer wrote. “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.”
Gaga also clarified an Examiner.com report from November, which has since been removed, claiming that her album “Artpop” was under-performing and would cost the label some $25 million in damages. She wrote there was “no truth” to the Examiner claims and she has “lost love [sic] ones to the greed of money. It is not Interscope. They in fact love me very much and will see ‘ARTPOP’ to the end.”
In addition to Mayer and Miguel, Atom Factory has a management roster that includes John Legend, Priyanka Chopra, K’Naan and Lindsey Stirling. It also has an investment arm, AFSquare Ventures, that includes over 50 companies including Backplane, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Songza, Rap Genius and Summly — with a new fund valued by PandoDaily at $75 million to $100 million to back future investments. Carter is also over-seeing a joint venture with Capitol Music Group, Atom Factory Music, led by indie-rock signings Basic Vacation and The Ceremonies.
While both Grammy winners, Carter's new signees are at very different stages in their careers: the more veteran Mayer began his recording career in 2001 and has since released some seven studio albums selling an impressive 14,691,000 albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan. He's also just wrapped his headlining arena tour in the States, which resumes in April with legs in Australia and Japan. The more recent pop phenom Miguel has two albums to his name and has sold 966,000 units, also according to Nielsen-Soundscan. He spent a good chunk of 2013 on the road as the opening act on Alicia Keys' Set The World On Fire arena tour, as well as memorable stops at festivals like Budweiser Made In America, the BET Experience and IHeartRadio. He'll tour Australia this February as the opener on Bruno Mars' Moonshine Jungle Tour.