Scott Cohen is the Chief Innovation Officer at the New York, NY-headquartered Warner Music Group. He joined WMG in 2019.
Cohen was one of the founders of Cyborg Nest which creates human sensory enhancement devices.
Scott Cohen: Career History
Scott Cohen began his career in the late ‘80s in the artist management business. Wanting to expand beyond managerial duties, Cohen teamed up with Richard Gottehrer in 1997 to found The Orchard, a music distribution company. The pair launched The Orchard in New York, focusing on distributing independent music to the mainstream public.
In 2003, The Orchard expanded into the European market alongside the release of iTunes. Cohen’s distribution company shortly became the largest distributor of independent music on Apple’s platform.
By 2008, The Orchard extended their focus into content management, marketing, licensing, and analytics tracking programs. Cohen also led the company’s re-entry into the physical distribution business, allowing their ever-expanding artist roster to benefit from the added reach of record stores.
From 2008 to 2014, Cohen and The Orchard continued their expansion into neighboring rights and public performance royalty collection. The company additionally expanded beyond music, launching an action sports catalog company called The Orchard Sports and a film business whose first theatrical release won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. They have since rebranded The Orchard Sports as Echoboom Sports and sold their film division to 1091 Media.
In 2012, The Orchard announced they had reached a merger agreement with IODA, another global distribution business. Because of Sony’s previous 51% stake in IODA, it was reported that Sony would gain ownership of at least 50% of the merged company.
In 2015, The Orchard sold all of its remaining shares to Sony Music Entertainment for over $200 million, making The Orchard a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.
The Orchard continues to conduct business independently from Sony. The company now offers added services including master rights management, sync licensing, video services, and advertising.
The Orchard has worked with clients including Heineken, Target, and Mondelez International. Over the company’s history, it has brought a number of labels in-house, including TVT Records, Frenchkiss Records, Xanadu, Discos Joey, and Shrapnel Records. The Orchard also acquired Blind Pig Records and entered into a strategic partnership with Membran Entertainment Group during Cohen’s tenure. Cohen remained with The Orchard until January 2019.
In February 2019, it was announced that Cohen would be joining Warner Music group as Chief Innovation Officer, Recorded Music. In his new role, Cohen is responsible for developing the long-term course of WMG’s coupling of music and new technologies.
At the time of his hiring, it was cited that Cohen was most interested in AR, VR, blockchain, and AI. As such, he co-founded the company Cyborg Nest, which is exploring the interface of humans and digital intelligence, in 2016. The company is currently beta testing its Sentero device, intended to enhance and intensify the human sensory system.
The technologies Cohen is focusing on at WMG have since radically grown in popularity and usage. As music industry insiders continue to roll out music features fused with technologies including NFTs and different blockchains, it will be interesting to see what Cohen and WMG have up their sleeve. Cohen remains in his role at WMG. Music Business Worldwide