POWER MOVE: As client Lady Gaga brings her tour stateside and gears up to dominate the fourth quarter with a multimedia release, Carter has quietly put together an investment portfolio in cutting-edge companies.
THE RUNDOWN: We all know how far Lady Gaga has come in the four years since “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” made her the biggest breakout female pop star since Madonna. But consider the mini-empire that her manager, Troy Carter, has been building with his company Atom Factory, quietly situated in a trendy warehouse space across the street from the Sony Pictures studio lot in Culver City, Calif.
Not only does Carter’s firm have investments in more than 40 companies (Rap Genius, Uber, Spotify, DJZ, Scan and TextNow to name a few), but it’s also preparing its first consumer product, Pop Water, for a Southern California launch this month. Gaga herself has almost nothing to do with the investments with few exceptions, such as her Little Monsters social network — evidence that Carter and Atom Factory have begun to carve out their own niche in the budding “Silicon Beach” tech scene in Los Angeles.
“I wouldn’t say I’m against the artists being the face of these companies, I’m just sensitive to what that means,” Carter says. “It’s more about, ‘How can we create a better fan experience?’” That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect more big things from Carter and Gaga — the Born This Way Ball tour grossed $168 million in its first 85 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore, and is just now hitting U.S. shores. Her third studio album, Artpop, is due in the fourth quarter, accompanied by an interactive app and a documentary helmed by controversial photographer Terry Richardson.
Troy Carter photo by Bryce Duffy