15 Events We Would Never Have Anticipated in 1997

the orchard 15 anniversaryWhen Richard Gottehrer and Scott Cohen first founded The Orchard back in 1997, they did it because they could see the potential of digital way before its prime — before iTunes, YouTube and Facebook had even launched.

In 15 years, the industry has certainly come a long way, and while we pride ourselves in continually staying on top of the fold and up-to-date on the most recent and budding trends, we thought it’d be fun to go back and see some of the things we didn’t see coming — back in 1997.

  1. Independent music taking up a collective share of 25.2% of the market in 2011 (and 32.6% in publishing)!
  2. Millions of songs at your fingertips wherever you are through paid (and free/freemium) streaming services
  3. Over 1 billion people around the world talking to each other through social media, proving that word of mouth is more powerful than ever
  4. Instant social sharing, where when you listen to music (or read an article, or attend a concert…), your friends can see what you are listening to and when through Facebook’s Open Graph
  5. Public Performance and Broadcasting revenue (also known as Master Rights and Neighboring Rights) getting its biggest boost when revenue from Physical started to decline, thus helping labels continue to survive during harder times in the industry
  6. Sync licensing no longer being considered selling out to big brands, but becoming a popular way to increase exposure (check out some of our placements here!)
  7. Netflix successfully converting their massive DVD-by-mail subscriber base into an internet streaming user base
  8. YouTube successfully converting wide-spread copyright infringement into one of the largest commercial revenue streams for rights owners
  9. Apple products opening their previously-closed retail environment to include competing streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Spotify
  10. The ability to communicate with multiple people around the world through a live video/audio stream 
  11. Seeing most music sales occurring through companies whose primary business is not music, such as Apple, Target, WalMart, Amazon, etc.
  12. The return of vinyl‘s popularity
  13. Today’s pop stars being picked by the audience (American Idol, X-Factor, etc.)
  14. That The Rolling Stones would STILL be touring and Keith Richards would be a New York Times best-selling author
  15. That a tech king like Steve Jobs could so greatly impact the music industry

Looking back at this list gets us pretty excited at how much the industry has evolved, and that we work in a field that is so versatile and innovative. So bring it on! We’re ready to roll for another 15 years!

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