What’s Really Behind Lady Gaga’s Split From Her Manager Troy Carter?
Lady Gaga and Troy Carter (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
According to Showbiz 411, which first reported the news based on a short item on the music industry website HitsDailyDouble.com, the two parted over "creative differences." This reason, of course, is industry talk for "there was major drama behind-the-scenes, and we're not going to talk about it." Yahoo has reached out to Gaga's personal rep, her label reps, and Carter's office at Atom Factory (previously the Coalition Media Group), the management company where he also guides the careers of John Legend and Mindless Behavior (among others), and no one would issue comment, on the record or off. As of Tuesday morning, Gaga was still listed as a client on Atom Factory's website.
Carter is a business and tech visionary, who back in 2011 during the lead-up to Gaga's Born This Way release was heralded as the messiah who had led Gaga out of the wilderness. He was widely credited with taking Gaga's considerable talent and packaging it with her social message of self-acceptance — and then mass-marketing it digitally to the Little Monsters who would come to make up the majority of her underdog fanbase. He is credited with having lifted her from being just another struggling artist at the bottom of Interscope's farm roster, and elevating her to label superstar.
To understand more about Gaga's relationship with Carter, it's important to look back to 2007, when their relationship began. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carter said of his first meeting with Gaga back then: "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." The trade magazine writes that Carter described their relationship as: "She makes 95 percent of the creative calls, while he handles five percent; he makes 95 percent of the business decisions, and she five."
The focus on their relationship reached a crescendo in 2011 when their plans for a pop-culture digital takeover of massive proportions was highlighted by the New York Times. The Times described Carter as being "more comfortable out of the limelight, quietly brokering deals for his larger-than-life clients." The article traced his history of having worked previously "for Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the late Notorious B.I.G., and Will Smith, whom he met in his hometown, West Philadelphia, in the late 1980s." They explained how he got his start "lugg[ing] crates of records for D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Mr. Smith, then known as the Fresh Prince."
Back then, Gaga and Carter were working together on an ambitious new project called the Backplane, which was set to be "a platform for entertainers that could help them manage their fanbase across all major social networks." Backplane's first project was none other than Gaga's own website, LittleMonsters.com, a confusing Pinterest-like community site mostly consisting of posts by fans in homage to their Mother Monster. The company's founders claim the site has more than 1 million registered users — strong numbers, but hardly staggering. TechCrunch reported in February that the site was averaging around 2.3 million unique users a month.