Published in The Music Network
Lady Gaga has done some phenomenal business. How do you manage an artist like Gaga?
She’s incredibly intuitive in regards to how things are supposed to roll out. She and I are partners. We talk a lot in terms of strategy and specifically the set-up around the Born This Way record. She’s really involved on a day-to-day basis. Gaga is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She pretty much keeps me busy.
You also run Atom Factory, and Coalition Media Group? How do they fit together?
Coalition is the parent company, and Atom Factory is the management division. We have Atom Digital, which is the digital marketing company; we work with everybody from Sony Pictures to Coty Fragrances, and a bunch of artists hire its services. We also have a music licensing division, a producer-and-DJ management division and a VC (venture capitalist) firm. We do angel investment in companies. We’re busy.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from managing someone of Gaga’s scale?
Don’t rest on your laurels. We don’t take anything for granted. We just get out there and work just as hard as we worked four years ago. We’re going to work more on Born This Way than we worked on the first album. You just can’t take the fans for granted and you can’t take the marketplace for granted.
You’re from an urban background. How did you bring that to the mix?
The fundaments of management are the same. Management has to really sincerely care about the artist, whether it’s R&B, hip hop, pop or folk music. We approached managing Gaga in the beginning like she was a hip hop act. We didn’t know a pop star wasn’t supposed to be doing two or three shows a day. We applied the same hustle that we put into managing a rap act. It’s something we’ve done since the beginning of time in hip hop. It worked well with pop music.
The lead single is reportedly the fastest to hit one million sales. Are record sales still something worth chasing?
Absolutely. Record sales are a great barometer to see how you’re doing in the commercial marketplace. We also look at web traffic, ticket sales, merchandise sales. All of those things are a factor. Are there any concepts Gaga has laid-out that you had to knock back? No. Creatively, I trust her instincts. We’re always looking for the biggest idea. We’re always working to try things that haven’t been done before. The crazier the idea, for me, the better. That’s what the world wants to see.
So what next with Gaga?
The Born This Way album. It’s about singular focus right now. All the energy over the next couple of years will be put into promoting this album around the world.
You’ve said in the past that Australia and Canada were the first places where Gaga broke. What happened there?
Australia has good taste. Aside from that, Australia and Canada don’t tend to just follow. Many markets simply follow what’s happening in America. When you look at band like Kings of Leon and the success Pink had, Australia just embraces things earlier. They’re two places that aren’t afraid to take chances.
Any visits to Australia on the cards?
Oh yeah, we’re coming to Australia. We’ll make a couple of trips. And we’re going to stay there for a while when we come. We were over there when Pink was playing and it was a great lesson for us to learn. When you invest in a country like [Pink did], a country will invest in you. It wasn’t about Pink going over there and piling everyone into a few stadiums for a few nights. She went over there and lived there and became part of the culture. We’ll be there in July to promote the album. Then we’re back out that way… well… it’ll be a surprise.
Carter is a speaker at the Musexpo summit in L.A this week (May 1-4).
Born This Way is out May 23 through Universal.