Working With Lady Gaga to Bridge Music and Technology - Evelyn Rusli ⇢
Troy Carter is Lady Gaga’s business manager, and he is set to create a social ‘backplane’ for managing fans:
Despite Lady Gaga’s demanding world tour schedule that fall, Mr. Carter and Mr. Michelsen quietly founded a start-up, the Backplane, with a team of seven. The company, which has not yet been unveiled, is a platform meant to power online communities around specific interests, like musicians and sports teams, and to integrate feeds from Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
“Backplane will provide a platform and tools for communities to socialize and communicate on a more focused level,” Mr. Carter said, sounding less like a pop star’s manager and more like an entrepreneur delivering the typical elevator pitch. “We needed a more concentrated base.”
While Lady Gaga herself — née Stefani Joanne Germanotta — is the artist and creative mind behind Lady Gaga Inc., her lesser-known manager, Mr. Carter, is leading the enterprise’s digital strategy. Unlike other managers who focus on a handful of big platforms like YouTube, Mr. Carter is trying to tap into a broad range of online tools to keep the Gaga machine in overdrive.
Backplane — a blend of music, celebrity and technology — was a natural evolution, says Mr. Carter, who has worked with Lady Gaga for more than four years. As traditional sales have dwindled, the Internet has become increasingly important in music management.
“There was a time when radio stations wouldn’t play Gaga’s music, because it was considered dance,” Mr. Carter said. “Outside of live performances, the Internet became our primary tool to help people discover her music.”
Mr. Carter represents an emerging group of Hollywood managers, actors, musicians and other industry players who are spending more time in Silicon Valley, as technology upends the way people consume content.
I winced a dozen times at the media speak — ‘consume content’ indeed — but I bet that Carter is onto something, and I will watch with great interest.
There is no reason to assume that services that are geared to attracting millions of people to interact with each other in a prescribed way — like Facebook — will be designed in a way that is best for megastars like Gaga, or institutions like the NY Yankees.