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The Coronation of Ted Cohen

24 Nov, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Go to any music or video industry conference and invariably Ted Cohen will be there as an expert panelist.

Outspoken, yet disarmingly witty, Cohen is SVP of digital development at EMI Group, the corporate home to acts such as Coldplay and The Rolling Stones. He's also been leading the bandwagon on portable digital entertainment since the advent of the Internet.

Ever the comic, eager to spit out one-liners about the craziest topic, Cohen could appear the clown at times to a music industry under siege from Napster and illegal file-sharing networks.

His advice to industry executives that it was probably wiser to negotiate with the copyright-infringing insurgents than fight them in the courts often seemed na?ve and at odds with the musical establishment he represented. Cohen didn't as much have an answer as he offered himself as a conciliator between an intractable music industry and indifferent consumer.

Now, with the proliferation of portable media gadgets, and record companies and movie studios eager to glean incremental revenues from the nascent formats, Cohen has become the go-to guy for explanation and vision.

The Los Angeles Times in a front-page story today heralded tech geek Cohen as “part ambassador and part evangelist.”

More than five years of watching Cohen in action at too many entertainment confabs, I'm reminded that above all, Cohen is a showman. What he says isn't as enduring as his mere presence. He's become a politician whose skills are as much about face time as shaking your hand.

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