Troy Carter has revealed his next move after vacating the role of Spotify’s global head of creator services in September: He’s reuniting with former Atom Factory co-president J. Erving to form a new music and technology company called Q&A.
Also onboard for the new venture is co-founder Suzy Ryoo and Tim Luckow. The company will merge with Erving’s Human Re Sources digital distribution and label services company, which he launched early last year. According to a press release, the merger allows Q&A and Human Re Sources to develop an ecosystem based around the idea of the “artist as an entrepreneur.” That ethos will help drive a collaborative talent-driven approach to distribution, management, label services and data analytics, supporting the overarching mission of empower the next generation of artists through technology, tools and services.
The first release for the merged companies will be from Philadelphia singer and songwriter Pink Sweat$.
“My time spent at Spotify allowed me the opportunity to see gaps that still exists between the music business and technology,” said Carter in a statement. “Modern artists have to be more entrepreneurial than ever before. They’re looking for a lot more than music distribution, they want experienced teams that can help build long-lasting careers. We designed the company to allow artists of any size to have a shot at success. Whether you choose to stay independent or continue on to major label, our goal is to help creators through the process with a high level of service and intuitive software.”
Carter joined Spotify in 2016 after many years as an artist manager, most notably working with Lady Gaga from her early days until 2013. With Atom Factory, he also oversaw the careers of Meghan Trainor, Charlie Puth and Lindsey Stirling. In the tech space, he was an early investor in companies including Lyft, Uber, Dropbox, Slack and Warby Parker.
Carter and Erving’s working relationship dates back to 2000, when they co-founded Erving Wonder Management. Later, Erving joined Carter at Atom Factory as the firm’s co-president after serving as Sony Music Entertainment’s vp of artist relations and brand integration. In 2016, Erving left Atom Factory with his management clients Nelly, Jeremih and Nico & Vinz to join the Maverick management consortium as a partner.
At Human Re Sources, Erving placed an emphasis on building a company at the intersection of culture and technology and oversaw a roster of artists that recently crossed 1 billion streams in less than 12 months thanks to the success of artists including Peter Manos, Charlotte Lawrence, Brent Faiyaz, YBN Nahmir, YBN Cordae and the YBN collective.
“Troy is one of the smartest and forward-thinking people I know. This industry is ever-changing and creators are more proactive today than I’ve ever seen,” said Erving in a statement. “Troy and I have always taken an artist-forward approach to the music business and we believe that artists and their needs should always be put first.”
At Q&A, Ryoo will assume the role of co-founder, president and chief strategy officer. She joins the company from Atom Factory, where she was a venture partner and vp technology & innovation. She is also a partner at Cross Culture Ventures and has invested in more than 40 tech startups including Gimlet Media, Fair, Wonderschool, PlayVS and Thrive Market. She previously led innovations and emerging platforms for brands such as Warner Bros. Pictures at Omnicom Media Group’s OMD.
Luckow joins Q&A as chief operating officer, with previous experience as a co-founder of the Stem financial data platform, which simplifies payments for content creators, and GHouse record label and management company.