Scott Cohen, co-founder of distribution company The Orchard, has joined Warner Music Group (WMG) in the newly created role of chief innovation officer, recorded music. The company announced the news on Wednesday (March 6), stating he will report to WMG CEO, recorded music Max Lousada and work closely with senior management to “help chart the long-term course of the company at the intersection of music, technology, and culture.”
“Scott spots and champions emerging technology with the same level of passion, creativity and ambition that our A&Rs bring to artist development,” said Lousada in a statement. “A valuable addition to our senior team, he’ll be an amazing brand ambassador and thought-leader, who joins a great lineage of maverick entrepreneurs at the independent major.”
Added Cohen, “It’s no longer enough for entertainment companies to merely embrace change, they need to create the future themselves. What attracted me to Warner was the sense that Max and his team are building an environment where truly original, disruptive ideas can flourish. Warner is uniquely positioned to take an agile but principled approach to growing the universe of opportunity for music.”
Cohen announced his retirement from The Orchard last month, following 22 years at the distribution company he formed in 1997 with Richard Gottehrer, a former Brill Building songwriter and co-founder of WMG’s Sire Records label. After launching as a means to support independent musicians selling their music to a mainstream audience, The Orchard grew with the digital era and delivered the largest catalog of independent music to iTunes when it launched in 2003. A year later, it became the first indie digital distributor to hit 1 million paid downloads.
In 2003, Cohen and Gottehrer sold The Orchard to Dimensional Associates and over the years the company expanded expanded into video, music licensing, marketing & analytics, royalty collections, sports media and other arenas. In March 2015, Sony purchased The Orchard from Dimensional and in 2017 merged it with RED into one global company operating under the Orchard brand, making it the world’s largest indie distributor. In January, the announced it was selling off its film and television business.
Recently, Cohen has also been an active public speaker and lecturer, promoting new business models for the digital era and encouraging development in augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence. He is also the co-founder of the company CyborgNest, which exploring the interface of biological and digital intelligence.