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Troy Carter, formerly Spotify’s global head of creator services and Lady Gaga’s manager for the first five years of her career, has teamed up with his longtime friend and business partner J. Erving to form a “new, modern music and technology company” called Q&A. The pair, who formerly worked together in Carter’s Atom Factory company, are joined by co-founder Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) and Tim Luckow (Stem, GHouse).

According to the announcement, the company seeks to “empower the next generation of artists through technology, tools and services.” In its first move toward expansion, Q&A will merge with Human Re Sources, the digital distribution and label services company launched by J. Erving in 2018. The merger allows Q&A and Human Re Sources to “build an integrated solution for artists via distribution, management, label services, and data analytics with a highly collaborative artist-driven approach,” with a stated goal of creating an ecosystem where entrepreneurial artists are supported throughout their entire career.

The first release for the merged companies is Philadelphia singer/songwriter Pink Sweat$, following on the success of Human Re Sources artists like Peter Manos, Charlotte Lawrence and Brent Faiyaz as well as the YBN collective.

Carter will continue in his role as entertainment advisor to the Prince estate. As Spotify’s head of global creative services — which he described to Variety as “a sort of conduit between the music business and Spotify, a bit of a translator and a bit of a diplomat” — Carter headed up a team of several dozen employees and instituted several artist-development programs, including ones for emerging artists as well as a program to promote songwriters called Secret Genius (along with an awards show) and a songwriters’ camp. Yet perhaps more significantly he has acted as a strong and vocal liaison to the artist and industry communities.

“My time spent at Spotify allowed me the opportunity to see gaps that still exists between the music business and technology,” says Carter. “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.”

“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,” says Erving. “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.”