Tech talk: The Orchard's Chris Manning on the future of distribution

Tech talk: The Orchard's Chris Manning on the future of distribution

The biz is gearing up for the Music Week Tech Summit together with O2 on Tuesday (October 8). The second edition of the event at The O2 in London features a host of top names, including execs from Amazon Music, Facebook, Live Nation and UTA.

The Orchard is a gold sponsor this year and the company’s GM for the UK & Europe, Chris Manning, will be providing key insights during the Next Generation Music Distribution: What does the future hold? panel. Here, Manning shares his vision for the sector…

“The labels and artists we work with are central to everything we do as a distributor and they will always be the core of our work, as music is what drives our business. Distribution is taking many forms of business models, which I believe to be a good thing in a competitive marketplace as it allows companies to look to innovation to stay ahead of the curve. The routes to market have never been so plentiful within our industry. Distribution needs to continue to be agile, innovative and at the forefront of everything it supports. 

“Data is a given factor in the future of distribution. We’ll look to artificial intelligence, how it can help us to interpret data, as well as forecast business models, create marketing plans and make strategic decisions. The Orchard already works with vast amounts of data both internally and with our artists and labels. From sales analytics, streaming information to accounting, we package up significant data points through our toolset so our partners can access data whenever and wherever they need to have a better understanding of their release performance, audience listening habits and more.

Data is a given factor in the future of distribution

Chris Manning

“Easy access to this information will become more and more commonplace. For us, it’s through the Orchard Workstation and our native mobile app, OrchardGo. The Workstation allows our labels and artists to create new digital and physical releases, music videos, advertising campaigns, monitor analytics, handle accounting and more. OrchardGo is a bit more straightforward and mobile-friendly, with real-time playlisting information among other streaming data. Easy access to customisable tools are the key to the future of distribution.

“Not only accessing, but cognitively managing data in a way that makes the information we see on a daily basis actionable, is key. Just because we have an influx of data, doesn’t mean we have to follow it. Data is important in supporting business decisions; however, we need to hold onto creative leadership. That difference is important for any music company, working alongside creators. As the leading distributor of independent music, we need to ensure we’re providing our artists and labels the tools and services they need to get the music they make out to fans and into the world, allowing them to do what they do best: create.”

To relive the highlights of last year’s inaugural Tech Summit, click here. To find out everything you need to know about this year’s edition, click here.

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