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The Orchard Co-Founder Scott Cohen Exits, What's Next?

Orchard LogoScott Cohen,  co-founder of Sony-owned independent music and media distributor The Orchard, says that he is exiting after more than two decades. He's also promising an interesting Act II.

“22 years ago I founded the Orchard with Richard Gottehrer,” Cohen wrote. “Today is my last day. Watch this space to know what direction I am heading next."

What's Next For Scott Cohen?

A recent keynote at European music conference Eurosonic Nooderslag may hint at what Cohen has planned.  He's concerned with what's next for a music industry that's been reshaped dramatically by streaming. 

Many of the most dramatic shifts in music discovery and consumption are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to Cohen:  "AI is something that our business relies on today for organization, recommendation and search. There are 20,000 new tracks uploaded to Spotify every day, do you seriously think that humans are listening to every track and categorizing them?"

That's led to the death of music genre as unifying concept.  "Searching by genre doesn't exist anymore. New Music Friday or your Daily Mix on Spotify are not genres. Tracks get into your AI-driven playlists because they are good," said Cohen. "The biggest iTunes track of 2017 was Despacito, one of 2018's biggest acts was BTS from South Korea, they had two albums debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. In the genre-driven world, these would have just been labeled World Music.”

Blockchain, VR and AR are all also underrated game changers for the music industry, Cohen believes.