Lady Gaga (A) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Background of the study

The case study discusses the dilemma faced by Troy Carter, manager of a nascent pop star Lady Gaga. The dilemma arose a week after the MTV Video Music Awards. Gaga had planned to co-perform at a high-profile arena tour with hip-hop artist Kanye West. But at the VMA, West crashed at the stage just when the first award of the VMAs was being presented for Best Female Video to Taylor Swift. West had cut-off Taylor Swift, grasping the microphone from her and remonstrating in support of the singer Beyonce, thereby shocking many music industry insiders and producing disappointment among the TV audiences worldwide. As the rapper was formerly known for many scandalous issues like such, the media then stormed over West to take a pause from the music industry and abandon the tour that had months of planning on the backhand.

Carter was now required to revise the touring plan and this was a very difficult task because continuing the tour alone; with the single singer Gaga was going to be a risky alternative. Artist at their beginning stages are not able to perform on these arena tours alone and make them successful. And if this tour fails it will seriously hurt Gaga’s image. Gaga had already spent $4 million and cancellation of the tour will waste all that money. Adjusting the tour also had issues such as it will threaten the promotion of her imminent second album “The fame Monster” and the group only had some weeks to revise their stage production.

Carter also had to consider the implications of revision of tour plans for Gaga’s partners in the arena tours, including the concert promoter Live Nation and the William Morris Endeavor agency.

Gaga’s career was on a beginner’s stage. Her first album was released recently named “The Fame” which yielded three hit songs. She was signed to famed producer Vincent Herbert’s Streamline Records, a subsidiary of leading record company Universal Music Group; and she had captured the imagination of fans. She was comparatively inexpert as she had only appeared on the music industry scene in October 2008 in an act for ‘New Kids On The Block” and had only featured on a tour of small clubs with a capacity of some few thousand persons at most, which was very different from the 20000 seat arenas intended for the tour with West.

Statement of the problem

Thus, the statement of the problem for the given case study is;

“Whether Lady Gaga should continue solo on the tour or she should cancel the tour as she is inexperienced and a nascent artist.”

Case study aims and objectives

The aims and objectives of the case study is to overview that how a manager like Carter can solve a dilemma of such nature as the one that has aroused in the given case study. How the manager assess the options available for him in such situations and how it approaches towards the solution of such dilemmas. Do managers place significance only on the cost and revenue aspect of any such problems or such manger also takes into consideration the long-term benefits that an alternative can offer.


Along with the presentation of the dilemma discussed above, the case also presents insights regarding the dynamics of the music industry, the role of the celebrity manager, Lady Gaga’s early life, her launch and her growth in the later stages.

Going back in 2009, the music business revenues and profits had only two basic sources (Refer to figure 1);

  1. Selling recorded music in the shape of solo songs or in the form of albums
  2. Selling live music in the shape of tickets for concert

Recorded music has two major elements;

Artists and Labels: The form of relationship or contract that an artist has with the label. This was mainly determined by the popularity of the artist and the label.

Labels’ Activities: Record labels are now pursuing relationships that encompass activities more than record music sales only. All fresh artists were contracted to “360 deals” that permitted labels to share in entire artist’s revenues, including recorded music sales, concert-tickets sale, merchandising, commercial licensing and sponsorships and endorsements. Gaga contracted to Streamline Records for....................

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In September 2009, Troy Carter, the manager of up-and-coming pop star Lady Gaga, must decide on a new course of action now that the planned joint headlining his artist arena tour with hip-hop superstar Kanye West has been canceled. Carter knows that continuing solo tour comes with a huge risk, but extending it back in small theaters or postponing the tour as a whole is flawed. Creation of more complex issues, Carter also consider the implications for partners Gaga, including concert promoter Live Nation and the William Morris Endeavor agency. What is the best strategy? This case is designed to help students understand the solutions that have helped to promote Lady Gaga in one of the biggest names in the world of entertainment. Written from the point of view of its manager, the case provides a rich look at the artist's performances, recorded music, and SocialMedia activities, and support of economic data. "Hide
by Anita Elberse, Michael Christensen Source: HBS 28 pages. Publication Date: July 22, 2011. Prod. #: 512016-PDF-ENG


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