After an understated announcement at MIDEM, Troy Carter’s Q&A is formally splashing a deal with Warner Music Group to ‘upstream’ artists.

Last month, Carter criticized the presumption that every artist wants to remain independent.  “It’s a false narrative,” Carter explained at MIDEM last month, while touting the benefits of his ‘upstreaming’ deal with Warner Music Group.  The MIDEM disclosure was reported by Music Ally.

Carter noted that the WMG pact was created after multiple Q&A artists asked to be signed with WMG-division Atlantic Records.  Now, that deal is being formally announced, though the partnership appears well underway.

Q&A, which bills itself as both a music and technology company, was founded this past April by Troy Carter, who is both a former Spotify executive and Lady Gaga’s ex-manager.  Carter started Q&A with J. Erving and Suzy Ryoo.  Also on the ground floor is Tim Luckow, who is the company’s chief product officer.

Though Q&A has only been in business a short period of time, this is their second deal with a music giant.  In May, the duo signed a contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.  They have also made several important hirings, including Marc Hemeon and Phillip Eubanks, who were previously executives at Facebook and Spotify, respectively.

Carter noted that the company has taken a “diversified approach” to building the careers of their music artists and that they have created a model that scales to each artist’s individual needs. He went on to say that the deal with Warner Music gives them the ability to upstream their artists’ music through a major record company.

That harkens back to Carter’s premise that artists frequently want the support of a big label.

“There’s still business with major labels because of the support system they have around them, and the global infrastructure,” Carter further noted at MIDEM. “So if distributors can add similar value, and have experience, services and capital, that’s where they can become very competitive.”

Accordingly, Q&A’s upstreaming deal means that Carter-curated acts can now benefit from a significant label infrastructure.  Of course, Warner will be taking its piece of the action, which means both Q&A and the artist get a smaller portion of the resulting revenues.

If all goes according to plan, Q&A’s artist gets a smaller percentage of a bigger pie — or at least that’s the idea.  Just be careful about who owns those masters ten years down the line.

Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music at Warner, green-lighted the deal.

Shortly after Q&A launched, it merged with Human Re Sources, which was digital distribution and label services firm that Erving began in 2018. The merged company has released music for several major artists, including:

  • Philadelphia singer/songwriter Pink Sweat$
  • Peter Manos
  • Charlotte Lawrence
  • Brent Faiyaz
  • The YBN collective