With only three albums under her belt, Lady Gaga is already a household name. But unless you’re working in the businesses of music or social media, you might not be as familiar with Troy Carter, Gaga’s manager and the genius behind her media presence. V sat down to talk shop with the guy who helped Mother Monster get massive.
How did you originally meet and come to work with Lady Gaga?
Troy Carter We were introduced by Vincent Herbert, who was her executive producer at her record label. You saw the energy when she walked in the room. She was very specific about her vision, all of the music was there, and all she needed was someone to help her translate it to the rest of the world, which is where I came in.
When did you first realize the potential social media had to affect Gaga’s career?
TC I think it developed because we were forced into it. We couldn’t get her record played on the radio and we couldn’t get the video on TV. YouTube and blogs were our platforms in the very beginning because the Internet was the only platform!
Is it true that Lady Gaga’s next record, ArtPop, will be released as an app?
TC The album is going to be an app. It will also exist in CD and digital form, but the primary experience will be as an application. It will be built around the tablet, but will have a mobile version as well.
How do you think the business of pop music will evolve?
TC 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.
What is your most memorable experience of working with Gaga? Does anything particularly surreal stand out?
TC 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.
What is next for the Troy/Gaga think tank?
TC I have no idea! We could have never predicted we’d be where we are right now, so I have no clue what the next five years are going to look like, but I hope it gets even better.