Pictured left to right: Kei, Shanti Das, Troy Carter, and Tunde Balogun speaking on how streaming is pivotal for artist development.

First and foremost, if you don’t know about the wizardry of Troy Carter, enjoy this listen of NPR’s How I Built This Podcast, where he shares his humble beginnings in Philly, managing Eve, finding Lady Gaga, launching the Atom Factory, investing in Spotify, Warby Parker + more. This episode is one of my favorites! Now for the gems…

Last week Spotify hosted an Open House and finished out the week with a fireside chat with legendary Troy Carter, Head of Global Creator Services at Spotify. The conversation was joined by Manager of 21 Savage, Kei and LVRN’s Tunde Balogun, moderated by Shanti Das. Spotify did their thing, and most importantly brought this conversation to Atlanta. Here are my favorite quotes from Friday’s conversation:

1. “I’ve probably failed 10,000 times throughout life, but hit it out of the ballpark 8 times.”

Troy Carter discussed his start in the music industry and explained how he kept going despite rough times. It’s not always going to be a home run the first time around. Sometimes you’re going to miss the ball, sometimes you’ll only make it to second base, but you can’t quit, you have to keep going.

2 . “It’s about knowing your audience, and understanding the Internet.”

Kei shares the genius of marketing behind 21 Savage’s latest project, Issa Album. Even though “issa” has been said in Atlanta for years, Kei talked about how studying social trends lead to capitalizing on a moment, and really turning that moment into a brand. The only way you can do that is by identifying your audience.

3. “Streaming is the new blog.” 

Tunde discussed Dram and 6lack’s success from Spotify, and how that has been pivotal in their development as artists. The panel collectively agreed that blogs are not where it’s at anymore to find artists. The new A&R’s are looking for talent on streaming services because the numbers speak for themselves. If you’re getting the plays, the people will come to you.

4. “Don’t f*ck it up.”

Carter discussed his early days in the industry and spoke on knowing when you’re presented with a great opportunity. He said simple and plain, “don’t fuck it up”.

5. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no such thing as overnight.”

A quote I’ve heard from my own OGs. Tunde and Kei reminded us that it’s definitely not a sprint outchea. You either moving at a steady pace, or going too fast to only burn out and not reach the finish line. Remember you’re running your own race.


I’m so glad I got to sit in on this discussion! Special thank you to Spotify for bringing the Open House, Fireside Chat, and the Rap Caviar Concert to Atlanta. It was a great week, to say the least!