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Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
Top Stories
Hands says he would re-bid for EMI if the price was right 
In The Pop Courts
Lars Ulrich sued by former PA 
Ne-Yo sued by former manager (again)
D'arcy Wretzky arrested over escaped horses
Awards & Contests
Stornoway win Xfm's new music prize
Muppets to join Cee-Lo at Grammys 
In The Studio
The-Dream says new album coming in August
Noel Gallagher not working on solo album
Release News
Jennifer Hudson to release second album
2562 announces new album 
Gigs & Tours News
The Mountain Goats announce tour and new album 
The Dears return with fifth studio album 
The Good Natured and Spark to co-headline UK tour 
Festival News
Festival line-up update 
Album review: DJ Seven – Dubstep Dubplates Vol 1 (Live Beyond)
The Music Business
Universal appoints new legal chief for North America 
The Media Business
Guardian revamps cultural editorial structure
And finally...
LCD Soundsystem pissed off with touts
Ronson engaged

Hello there. So yes, as promised, this week we revealed the first details about The Great Escape convention line up for 2011, and it's all looking very exciting. If you missed it, you can find out what we announced here, and I'll be going into more detail about some of the key sessions here at the top of the Friday edition of the Daily in the coming weeks. 

But for now, the most important thing to tell you is that the early bird delegates discount runs out on Tuesday. If you buy your pass before then you get it for a mere eighty quid. Now, I'm hugely biased I know, but given that gets you access to the whole convention – which is going to be extra special this year – as well as all the gigs and showcases in The Great Escape festival, I think that's a marvellously good deal. So much so, that when I was telling someone about it the other day, I started to doubt myself that that really was the price on offer and had to go and double check. So take note, to be part of the most exciting event for the new music business this year for just eighty of your earth pounds, get yourself over to escapegreat.com this weekend. 

And here ends the plugging. Now for some end of week news reviewing...

01: 'Guitar Hero' was axed. The boss of games giant Activision, Eric Hirshberg, told his investors in a call this week that no new 'Guitar Hero' games will be made and that the unit which oversees the franchise is being closed. After a peak eighteen months ago, sales of the 'Hero' games, and of their main competitor in the pretend-to-play market 'Rock Band', have slumped. Coupled with the high music licensing costs associated with the titles, Hirshberg said, making new versions of the games had just ceased to be commercially viable. CMU report | USA Today report

02: Live Nation took complete control of Front Line, the management firm founded by the live giant's Executive Chairman Irving Azoff. Although Ticketmaster took majority control of Front Line in 2008, before its merger with Live Nation in 2010, Azoff and the Madison Square Garden company both retained minority stakes. They have now been bought out. As part of the deal Azoff will also become Chairman of the Live Nation board proper, taking over from interim chair John Malone. CMU report | Bloomberg report

03: Warner boss said over half of their artist deals are now multi-stream. Edgar Bronfman Jr was this week trying to convince investors that, despite sliding revenues, including digital and publishing revenues, there was light at the end of the tunnel for the music major. He said he believed the growth of Spotify-style streaming services (though possibly only subscription-based ones) will result in a new era of digital growth, while adding that, long term, new revenue streams from 360 degree style artist contracts will mend his company's woes. He added that 55% of the company's current artist deals gave it a stake in revenue other than sound recordings. It's been known for a while that Warner is, in the main, only signing multi-stream deals these days. CMU report | Reuters report

04: Rumours circulated of an HMV takeover. This is all because of last week's news that Russian shareholder Alexander Mamut, who owns 6% of the entertainment and retail group, has asked bankers Credit Suisse to review the company's operations. This has led to speculation Mamut might try to takeover the whole of HMV, and then split it up and sell some of the recently diversified firm off. Some reckon Mamut is only really interested in the Waterstones bit. All idle speculation, but it resulted in HMV's share price going up for a change. CMU report | Telegraph report

05: We wondered whether the ACS case might impact on the Digital Economy Act. The judge hearing the disastrous anti-file-sharing lawsuits brought to court by the now defunct London law firm ACS:Law said that he was unconvinced that an ISP customer could be held liable for file-sharing done on their net connection by a third party. It provides anyone accused of file-sharing, based on activity via their IP address, a great way to avoid liability (assuming they are either innocent or willing to lie). With little legal precedent in the UK on this, some wonder what will happen if and when net users accused of file-sharing via the DEA's graduated response anti-piracy system use this excuse. The BPI insist the ACS case is not relevant to three-strikes, but others reckon Judge Birrs' comments pose even more problems to those trying to get the DEA's anti-piracy system up and running. CMU report | Telegraph report

And that's your lot. Though for more week in view chit chat, do check out the CMU Weekly podcast this afternoon. Sign up in iTunes here.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Muak presents Freerange Secret Valentines 
One a bit closer to CMU HQ this week. The Muak and Freerange Records guys combine for this pre-Valentines party. Topping the bill are two of Freerange's finest. Milton Jackson is class but Jamie Odell, aka Jimpster, is the bomb. In addition to the Freerange guys, you get Zaki & Manish from Muak plus room two is hosted by the Monophunk crew. 

There are also some secret special guests being promised, which I always find a bit annoying, but I suppose there is 'secret' in the title of this night. But whoever those guests may be, with the DJs already confirmed, this is going to be a good one. 

Saturday 12 Feb, 9pm - 6am, The Red Gallery, Rivington Street, EC2A, £8-15, info at www.muakparty.com

"The best music business training event I have attended; relevant and up to date, your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the industry is simply exceptional" from delegate feedback

We are currently taking bookings for the following CMU TRAINING courses:

A beginner's guide to music copyright - everything you need to know about copyright law, licensing, monetising copyright, the fight against piracy and the future of the music rights industry. Wed 23 Feb 2011

For more information or to book visit www.theCMUwebsite.com/training

Guy Hands is interested in buying back EMI, but only at the right price, or so say Bloomberg in a report about a speech the Terra Firma chief gave to business types in Guernsey earlier this week.

Hands' equity group lost control of EMI last week, of course, after the holding company through which it owned the music major was put into administration by bankers Citigroup for failing to meet the terms of the multi-billion pound loan Terra Firma took out to buy the music company back in 2007. The bank took ownership of the music firm and immediately restructured its debts. Although Citi insists it is in no major rush to sell off EMI, it is know that is the bank's ultimate intent.

Rumours that Hands might try to buy back his music company after its repossession by Citigroup began circulating at the start of the year, with other City-based gossipers insisting the bank, despite still being embroiled in a legal dispute with Terra Firma over the 2007 EMI deal, would consider an offer from the financier.

And this week Hands confirmed some of those rumours, saying he was considering making a bid to buy back EMI, even implying he'd already made an offer. But he cautioned that - having vastly over-paid for the music firm in 2007 - he'd be very conservative in his offer this time round, and possibly too conservative for Citigroup's liking. Both Hands and the US bank have lost billions from the 2007 acquisition.

According to Bloomberg, Hands said this week: "It's a question of price. Terra Firma and Citigroup agreed on what EMI was worth back in 2007. We clearly both got it wrong. Now, we disagree quite strongly about what it's worth. They are going to auction it, and we will see if they can get more for it than we offered".

Whether EMI's current management, put in place by Hands, but seemingly complicit in Citigroup's speedy repossession of the company last week, possibly without the equity group's knowledge, would be pleased to have Terra Firma back as owners isn't clear. There would be benefits, though. Other buyers might look to split EMI up, which runs contrary to top man Roger Faxon's belief that the only possible future for a music company as large as his is for previously autonomous record and music publishing divisions to be integrated into one music rights bonanza.

And Hands agrees. Possibly implying that, as was rumoured, at one point Terra Firma did consider splitting up EMI, the equity chief said this week: "We got convinced that if EMI is split up between publishing and recording, it will die as a company. You've really got to keep the two together so that you have the stability of publishing's earnings versus the volatility of the recorded music division".

It's not clear how Hands would finance even a conservatively priced takeover of EMI, though he is still sitting on significant funds to invest. But, presumably, many of his financial backers would be very nervous about throwing more money at the equity group's to date disastrous musical adventure, even if EMI is looking much more healthy now the shackles of a three billion debt have been removed.

In a seemingly candid speech, Hands also admitted that was initially shocked by the public interest in his takeover of EMI, and hadn't been prepared to be pushed quite so squarely into the limelight. He said he took the Chairman's role at the major reluctantly, mainly because having fired so many of the incumbent EMI management on his arrival there was no obvious other contender. He added: "It would take a lot to get me to do another deal which is as public as [the EMI one]. I had very little sympathy for rock stars before buying EMI. Now I have enormous sympathy for them and all those who find themselves in the public eye".

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Lars Ulrich is being sued by his former PA for breaches of state and federal labour laws and breach of oral contract in relation to unpaid overtime spread over several years. The suit names the Metallica drummer's company, Ulrich & Team Tours, as the defendant in the case, which was filed at Marin Superior Court this week.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, Steven Wiig claims that he worked for Ulrich from 2001 to 2009 in the drummer's home and studio, as well as accompanying him on worldwide tours. He says he worked up to 70 hours a week, and up to 80 hours while on tour, and is claiming damages for overtime he was not paid during this period.

The lawsuit, which says Wiig was paid a base salary of $45,000 while working for Ulrich, also claims he is owed unpaid but promised bonuses from 2006-2008. He is seeking unspecified damages and legal costs.

However, Ulrich's lawyer, Peter Paterno, told the MIJ that he had not seen the lawsuit, but that Wiig's claims were overstated, that the former PA had actually earned $110,000 a year as well as having free board and use of a car, and that in most cases he was certain bonuses had been paid.

Paterno: "Lars' accountant is checking on 2006, but Steve got bonuses in every other year of his employment, deserved or not. Specifically, in 2008, he received an extra $18,000. So it's not clear what's motivating this, but it really doesn't seem to be about his compensation, does it?"

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Ne-Yo is being sued by his former manager for the second time in five years over claims that the singer withheld royalties due to him. Munir Mahmud is suing again because, he claims, the R&B star has reneged on an agreement reached in relation to the original lawsuit.

According to RadarOnline, Mahmud's new lawsuit says: "This is a civil action for breach of settlement agreement which resolved prior action. This is the second time the plaintiff has been forced to file suit against the defendants for failing to pay monies expressly due to the plaintiff. [Ne-Yo is] in violation of the terms of the settlement agreement. Despite repeated inquiries from the plaintiff, defendants failed to submit to royalty settlements to the plaintiff identifying the amount of royalties paid to Smith [aka Ne-Yo] in connection with the publishing and performance income, as required".

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Former Smashing Pumpkins bassist D'arcy Wretzky has been arrested and jailed in Michigan after failing to pay a fine and missing four court dates in relation to a 2009 incident when several horses on her farm broke free over their enclosure and galloped into the nearby town.

According to TMZ, Wretzky was arrested on Tuesday, and is due to be released on Monday. And if you were wondering what she looks like now, well TMZ got hold of her mugshot, too.

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Stornoway have taken the 2011 Xfm New Music Award for their debut album 'Beachcomber's Windowsill', which is nice, for them.

The radio stations' Deputy PD and chief music man Mike Walsh told Radio Today: "This is an album of true warmth and sincerity. Our judges were impressed by the honesty and openness of the record and how well it worked as a whole album".

The 4AD-signed indie folky types fought off other shortlisted albums by Delphic, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Everything Everything, Fenech-Soler, Hurts, Kele, Marina And The Diamonds, Sound Of Guns and
Two Door Cinema Club to take the overall prize.

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It's the Grammys this weekend, oh joy, only 8417 awards to dish out. Though do look out for Cee-Lo Green's performance in the main awards show, because it sounds like it could be fun, given he's recruited a band of Muppets to join him on stage.

Muppets chief Brian Henson told MTV: "He'll be backed by puppets who will make up a very weird and cool band. We had never worked with him before, and he's just a fabulous guy. I think he's a lifelong fan of the Muppets, and he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted ... I think it will really be an unforgettable version of his song".

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The-Dream may currently be locked in a legal battle with ex-wife Christina Milian over royalties from 'Baby' by Justin Bieber, which they co-wrote, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have time to put a new album of his own together.

Speaking to Quddus at the Premiere of Bieber's 3D documentary 'Never Say Never', the producer said: "Everybody's calling for an album now, so I should have one out by August".

Not only that, but he revealed he's also working on Bieber's new album, too. Asked how it might sound, he said: "I can't give away that. Somewhere between like Fergie and Jesus, somewhere in between there. If I can get away with edgy, I would love it".

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Hey! It's time for our occasional 'not in the studio' news segment. Not in the studio this week is Noel Gallagher, who has been not working on a solo album since Oasis split up in 2009. This despite claims by Liam Gallagher that his brother had stolen a load of Oasis songs for said new album, which he is not working on.

Noel told TalkSport: "I am not recording new stuff, not just yet. It'll be out when it's finished I guess. Well, I've not even started it, so I don't know".

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Ballad-belting R&B lady Jennifer Hudson will return to the spotlight with new album 'I Remember Me' on 25 Apr, Sony Music have announced. For her sophomore release Hudson is flanked by an impressive-sounding supporting cast of producers and songwriters, including Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo and 'Bleeding Love' composer Ryan Tedder.

On exploring the record's theme of self-rediscovery, Hudson says: "I'm excited about this album because it's almost like a renewal for me, reflected through the chapters of my life. I've called it 'I Remember Me' because of the journey I've been on. I've learned that life constantly surprises you, no matter your plans. My fans have been so loyal, I feel like they have been on this journey with me and I can't wait for them to hear the new album".

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Dutch producer Dave Huismans, aka 2562, know for his mix of dubstep and minimal techno, has announced that he will release his third album, 'Fever', on 4 Apr, this time leaving Tectonic for his own When In Doubt label.

Asked about the making of his new album, and how it compared to his previous long players, Huismans told Fact: "I think the self-imposed restriction of using disco records and basic sample manipulation as my only resources pushed me both musically and in terms of sound design, but most importantly it helped keeping me focused. Both my previous two albums were the result of a long and painstaking process where I puzzled together a sequence out of twenty-something tracks written over a bigger time span. 'Fever' came fast, out of nowhere: I wrote the LP in only a couple of months last summer".

He continued: "I set out to write a few simple grooves based on sampling the disco records I had been listening to as a much needed escape from electronic music, and before I knew it, it became an album. Just the eleven tracks and that was it. Even the order in which I wrote them largely remained the same on the album, it just worked. As a result the album to me feels like a soundtrack to my personal life during the summer in which I made it. I didn't perform or travel much that time, so it was a very simple life: sampling records, making music, going for a run, watching the World Cup. Enjoying small things. In fact it was the first time writing an album was simply fun".

The album's tracklisting is as follows:

Winamp Melodrama
Aquatic Family Affair
Flavour Park Jam
This Is Hardcore
Brasil Deadwalker
Final Frenzy

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American indie types The Mountain Goats are to tour the UK in May, playing material from new album 'All Eternals Deck', which is due for release on 4 Apr via Tomlab.

Frontman John Darnielle says of the record: "The songs cluster around themes of hidden things and the dread that hidden things inspire, but also the excitement, the attraction, the magnetic draw that scary unknown hidden things exert".

Not at all hidden, though, is the album's opening track, which you can go listen to on Stereogum.

Meanwhile, the band will emerge from hiding for the following tour dates:

22 May: Dublin, Whelans
24 May: Brighton, Coalition
25 May: London, Koko
27 May: Manchester, Academy 3
28 May: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
29 May: Glasgow, King Tut's
30 May: Newcastle, Cluny

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The Dears, those Canadian purveyors of indie gloom and grandeur, will return with a new album, 'Degeneration Street', on 14 Mar through V2/Dangerbird Record.

Following the release, they will play a rather meagre handful of UK tour dates:

19 Apr: London, Borderline
20 Apr: Manchester, Ruby Lounge
21 Apr: Glasgow, King Tuts

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Marked for success in CMU Approved last year, The Good Natured have since gone on to great things, having just appeared as the support act for Ke$ha at the London leg of her world tour.

But wait, come back! The electro trio have now teamed up with a far more respectable touring partner in the form of smart synth-popster Spark. The two acts will co-headline a series of live dates, in libraries of all places, as part of the 'Get It Loud In Libraries' programme.

Tour Dates:

4 Mar: Edinburgh Library
5 Mar: Lancaster Library
6 Mar: Worksop Library
7 Mar: Wooton Fields Library, Northampton
8 Mar: Rugby Library
10 Mar: Bodmin Library

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BLOODSTOCK, Catton Hall, Derbyshire, 12-14 Aug: German thrash metal types Kreator are to make their only UK appearance this year at the open-air Bloodstock headbangers' ball. Also joining existing acts such as Napalm Death, Immortal, Morbid Angel, Coroner, Exodus and At The Gates will be newly-announced Scandinavian rockers Wolf and 1349. www.bloodstock.uk.com

THE GREAT ESCAPE, Various Venues, 12-14 May: The latest names added to the bill of this year's big Brighton bash are The Joy Formidable, Marnie Stern, Trophy Wife, Smoke Fairies, Max Richter, Ben Howard, Matthew & The Atlas, Hauschka and Alex Daine. They join a stellar line-up that includes Friendly Fires, Katy B, Warpaint and Villagers. www.escapegreat.com

LOUNGE ON THE FARM, Merton Farm, Canterbury, Kent, 8-10 Jul: This year's edition of the farm fest will see its most high profile line-up yet, with The Streets, Ellie Goulding and Echo & The Bunnymen booked to headline the all-new outdoor main stage. The very Kentish-sounding Sheep Dip Stage will host showcase sets by labels Transgressive, Chess Club and Moshi Moshi. www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk

ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 30 Jun - 3 Jul: Kasabian, Grinderman and Warpaint lead the recent line-up announcements for Belgium's biggest and best rock event, which was already playing host to a raft of huge names including Coldplay, Iron Maiden, Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon and The Chemical Brothers. www.rockwerchter.be

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ALBUM REVIEW: DJ Seven - Dubstep Dubplates Vol 1 (Live Beyond)
The term 'dupstep' can mean a number of things these days. As the one time underground genre started to garner more mainstream appeal it was, predictably, moulded and pulled and tugged in many ways, and into many different things. Traditionalists often come to loggerheads with newer fans who, wrongly, believe dubstep means the crunchiest, deepest, wobbliest, almost heavy metal style bass and such like. So what, in a time when Britney Spears is reportedly making 'Britstep' and the UK scenes dilution becomes ever more apparent, should a new dubstep compilation be like?

Thankfully, DJ Seven keeps it real. The record begins strongly with 'The Prophet' by Lurka, a chilly and clever track with great drums and an always present clicking-crickets natural sound. From there the mixing is very well executed, each track seamlessly blending into the next, almost confusingly at times. The music stays consistent, and the choosing of it was obviously a very careful affair. It rounds off vibrantly with 501's 'White Lies' and Benny Pages 'Liar Liar', both brilliantly danceable.

The quality is consistently high through out, you'll find yourself grooving at different levels of intensity from start to finish, and that is what makes a great mix. JJB

Physical release: 14 Feb

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Universal Music in the US has appointed a new General Counsel and Exec VP of Business & Legal Affairs for the whole of North America, in the form of Jeffrey Harleston. It's an internal promotion, Harleston having previous had the titled Senior VP of Business & Legal Affairs for the US. In his new job he takes over responsibilities from Michael Ostroff, who retired from the music major last year.

Universal Music COO Zach Horowitz told CMU: "Having the opportunity to work with Jeff over the last seventeen years in a variety of capacities, I know that he will bring tremendous value to this critical role. His proven leadership skills, excellent judgment and broad range of experience, which includes litigation, intellectual property, artist relations, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and government affairs, make him the perfect choice to lead our North American legal activities".

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The Guardian yesterday announced a revamp of its arts and culture team, which is interesting in that the newly appointed cultural editors will have cross-platform roles, overseeing coverage in The Guardian, The Observer and on guardian.co.uk.

Or, if you'd prefer it in press release speak: "The move is designed to fully integrate print and web and create the right structures to deliver mutualisation of Guardian News & Media content by increasing collaboration with our readers and communities".

The new appointments see Claire Armistead become Books Editor, Catherine Shoard take on films, Kate Abbott is Commissioning Editor Arts, and in our domain, Mr Caspar Llewellyn Smith, formerly editor of the always popular and missed by many Observer Music Monthly, will become Music Editor.

Commenting on the changes, Georgina Henry, GNM's Head of Culture, told CMU: "Guardian and Observer arts journalism is something we're extremely proud of, and these changes will help give our coverage even more digital impact. The next few months will see a series of changes to the culture sites online to extend and enhance engagement with our readers".

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James Murphy's not happy that tickets for the previously reported LCD Soundsystem finale gig are selling on eBay and other such sites for mega-bucks. Well, whoever tweets via the unverified @lcdsoundsystem twitter feed is pretty pissed off anyway, and everyone seems to think that's Murphy.

It seems tickets for the exclusive gig are being touted for well over a grand (one pair is reportedly being offered for seventeen thousand dollars). On hearing this, Murphy (we assume) tweeted: "$1500 for a single ticket. Fuck you scalpers. You are parasites. I HATE you. I will try to figure a way out to fuck these fuckers. NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, IT IS NOT WORTH THAT KIND OF MONEY TO SEE US!"

Although he came back later: "Looking into the legality, but I might be shit out of luck. Honestly, I mean, it's not murder, but still... parasites">

The rage then turned specifically to eBay-owned ticket resales site StubHub, with the tweets continuing: "Reading your responses. I know people are pissed - I am too. [It would] be sweet if I owned StubHub, though. Shitbags. I mean, charge DOUBLE or something..."

Noting that StubHub says it "give fans the freedom to price tickets however they want", he added: "Eat shit StubHub. I pretty much guarantee 'fans' aren't pricing these tickets. You're barely legal and you know it".

Noting the Twitter rage was out of character, the LCD Soundsystem tweeter concluded with the hashtag #feelinglikekanye.

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Mark Ronson got engaged to his girlfriend of two years, French model Josephine De La Baume, on Wednesday, his publicist confirmed to Us Weekly yesterday.

Hmm, probably need to say a bit more here don't I?

Erm, well, that's nice, isn't it? Congratulations to them. There's no word on when they'll actually get married yet, though commentators yesterday speculated that it could be at some point "in the future" and that some sort of ceremony may be involved. Guests are likely to include Bernard Cribbins, Edd The Duck (though not Andi Peters) and Peter Shilton.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Anthony Costa
Hygiene Manager

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