The Music Man: Troy Carter

Lady Gaga's business manager and cofounder of Backplane builds powerful tight-knit music communities online.

Home Base: Los Angeles

Year Started: 2007

Power Stat: His client Lady Gaga has the most followers of anyone on Twitter and has 47 million Facebook likes—only 13.6 million fewer than the social-networking company itself.

As Troy Carter sees things, technology has never been the enemy—an unusual stance for a man in the piracy-obsessed music industry. Back in 2007, he was trying to make Lady Gaga happen and the music biz just wasn't working for him. The Internet was. "When Top 40 radio initially rejected the music, calling it dance instead of pop, we found out just how important those [social-media] platforms ended up being and doubled down," he says. Team Gaga won big, with 47 million Facebook fans, 19 million Twitter followers, digital partnerships with the likes of Amazon and Polaroid, and GagaVille—a riff on FarmVille that allowed players to unlock Born This Way songs prerelease. They got billions of impressions, says Carter. The main thing he's learned during his years as a digital hype man, though, is that numbers aren't everything: You need to get to the hard-core fans—the hyperconsumers—and that led him to create the Backplane, a not-yet-launched celebrity social network bringing superfans together. His backers? Gaga, of course, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt among others.

2011 Getty Images

On the difference between Facebook and Twitter: "I think most artists love Twitter because there is that direct contact between the artist and fans. I think artists and brands and corporations still have yet to figure out how to use Facebook for engagement. The Like button is a bit too passive for me."

The music service he can get behind: "I have been on Spotify for about a year and a half now, and I think that once people experience playlists, they never go back to purchasing music à la carte."

Why he thinks the world really does need another social network: "We've been trying to figure out how to solve the problem of passive social communities—because with Gaga having the large social-media footprint that she has, we were still having problems connecting to the audience directly. With Backplane, what we wanted to do was get into small communities. So instead of having 45 million brief engagements, what about that concentrated group of 5 million who want every bit of information out there?"

His media-consumption trifecta: "I wake up in the morning and read TechCrunch, I read the Huffington Post, and I read AllHipHop. Between those three things, I cover pretty much everything that I need to hear about throughout the day."

The public figure who uses social media best: "Newark's Mayor Cory Booker. No one talks to their constituents the way Cory does. You don't even have to live in Newark to appreciate it. But if you live in Newark, you know what your mayor is doing because he's using social media for what it was built for. He is using it like rock star." Considering the source, that's a compliment of the highest order.

.@Details unveiled its 12 social mavericks of 2012 ( who do you think is the ultimate #SocialMaverick?

— DETAILS (@DETAILS) February 16, 2012

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