An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 24 March 2014

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The cost of MP3 downloads could rise by 16p next January following a dull looking but actually quite important statement published alongside George Osborne's budget speech last week regarding the way VAT is applied to online purchases. Before the rise of online shopping, the rules governing sales taxes like VAT assumed that in the vast majority of cases the seller and customer in any one... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The two faces in most of Dub Thompson's promo shots are those of lost California boys Matt Pulos and Evan Laffer, who've just signed to Dead Oceans in order to release an eight-track LP titled '9 Songs'. And who knows, it's possible one of the songs has two parts to it. The product of the band's working away with Jonathan Rado of Foxygen in - states its PR introduction - an "abandoned house", the... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES VAT rule overhaul could result in 16p increase in MP3 unit pricing
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LEGAL Rihanna's former accountant hits back, says singer's financial woes all her fault
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Twitter to shut its standalone music app
Apple considering on-demand streaming and iTunes app for Android
Rhapsody withdraws from The Echo Nest
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MEDIA Louis Theroux to present show for 6 Music
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ARTIST NEWS Azealia banks on her label believing she'll leak her LP
Robbie Williams given keys to Stoke
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RELEASES Antony Gormley and Paul Smith contribute to Secret 7" project
Mogwai to release scrapped album
Release Round-Up: The Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, Peace, Elliphant and Diarrhea Planet
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Roni Size to perform live and give masterclass at Metropolis Studios
Festival Line-Up Update: T In The Park, Sundown, Wickerman and more
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AND FINALLY... Arthur hits out at his Twitter rep, on Twitter
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HOUSE OF 27 - INTERNSHIP
House Of 27 is a UK digital PR company representing a balance of major and independent label, emerging and development artists. We currently have a place for an intern, to gain a first-hand experience in the world of promoting music online over the course of the placement.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - ASSISTANT GENERAL BUSINESS MANAGERS
MAMA & Company is looking for dynamic, experienced Assistant General Managers with a proven track record within a live music operation. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company at some of London's most established venues.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - HR MANAGER
We are looking for a fully qualified HR manager with circa three years experience to work with minimal supervision to manage a workforce of around 450 part time and full time staff. Working full time three days a week.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST/DIGITAL MARKETING ANALYST
We are looking for an experienced Social Media Manager to work across all MAMA brands to oversee their social media campaigns and strategies and measure the success of our online performance. The Social Media Strategist/Analyst will be responsible for proposing, managing and coordinating social media campaigns whilst working closely with our venues, festivals and marketing teams and fostering and building relationships within each of our social media channels.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNDER THE BRIDGE - EVENTS AND MARKETING ASSISTANT
Under The Bridge is seeking an Events And Marketing Assistant to assist in operational aspects of events at the venue including corporate events, private events, filming and public music events. Liaising with security, cleaners, in-house caterers and Chelsea FC venue sales team. Assist with all administration for sales, marketing and PR campaigns for music and private and corporate events.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ANDERSON & PENNINGTON - MUSIC ACCOUNTANT
We are seeking an accountant with music industry experience to join our expanding Music Division, where you will work with artists, producers and writers. The role requires solid experience of international touring, whilst a knowledge of recording and publishing contracts is desirable. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone who wants to gain a broad range of experience in order to provide business advice to a wide portfolio of music clients.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
WILDLIFE ENTERTAINMENT - OFFICE MANAGER/PA (MATERNITY COVER)
Contract for London based established artist management company. Suitable candidates must have a minimum of two years PA experience in the music entertainment Industry. Role will include providing support to CEO, MD and artist managers, ensuring the smooth day to day running of the office including all general administrative duties. Initial six month contract starting in April.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

VAT rule overhaul could result in 16p increase in MP3 unit pricing
The cost of MP3 downloads could rise by 16p next January following a dull looking but actually quite important statement published alongside George Osborne's budget speech last week regarding the way VAT is applied to online purchases.

Before the rise of online shopping, the rules governing sales taxes like VAT assumed that in the vast majority of cases the seller and customer in any one transaction would be based in the same tax jurisdiction, which sometimes left loopholes when that wasn't the case. As much previously reported, much attention initially fell on the fact that mail-order operations based on the Channel Islands could sell low-price products like CDs into the UK without charging any VAT at all, giving those operators a 20% advantage over mainland retailers.

Since Osborne closed that loophole, attention has shifted to the VAT arrangements of digital stores like iTunes and Amazon MP3. At the moment the default rule in Europe is that sales tax is applied in the country where the business is based, rather than where the customer lives. This means that digital content sellers can base themselves in countries with more favourable sales tax rates, which in the European Union often means Luxembourg.

Which again resulting in these big online operators having an unfair advantage over high street and small-scale retailers who are based within the UK and have to charge the higher British sales tax rates. It's also creates complications for British app-makers selling via the Apple store, and for business customers of iTunes seeking to claim the VAT back. And, of course, it means that the Luxembourg taxman gets all the sales tax generated by British download sales.

Work to close this particular sales tax loophole has been underway for a while now, but last week Osborne confirmed that his upcoming finance bill will seek to have the rules changed so that VAT is charged in the country where the customer rather than the seller is based. Which means more VAT income for the UK government, but also that the tax rates for services currently applying sales tax in Luxembourg will shoot up from the current 3% to 20%. Adding 16p per 99p download.

Osborne's budget document confirmed last week: "As announced at budget 2013, the government will legislate to change the rules for the taxation of intra-EU business to consumer supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services. From 1 January 2015 these services will be taxed in the member state in which the consumer is located, ensuring these are taxed fairly and helping to protect revenue".

Assuming neither content owner nor download platform will especially want to absorb the tax increase, it seems inevitable that download prices in Europe will rise in early 2015, so that the average price of 99p will become £1.15.

Of course download stores these days - unlike with the original iTunes set-up - offer content owners variable pricing, so that some tracks go for less than the 99p average and others are priced higher, which possibly means subtle price increases across he board won't be so noticeable. Indeed, since iTunes enabled variable pricing, the labels have quietly increased the average single track download price from 79p to 99p.

Though at a time when download stores are facing new competition from ad-funded and subscription-based streaming services, and with speculation that the European download market might follow its US counterpart and peak in the near future, a sudden price increase across the board might not be ideal. Though whether that will mean the labels - or even Apple, which does seem to be worrying about the iTunes Store losing its hold over the digital content market - are willing to absorb some of the tax increase remains to be seen.

Rihanna's former accountant hits back, says singer's financial woes all her fault
The ongoing legal squabble between Rihanna and her former bean counters continues, with accountant Peter Gounis filing a response to the singer's most recent lawsuit on the matter.

As previously reported, in 2012 Rihanna sued accountancy firm Berdon LLP and it's former employees Gounis and Michael Mitnick - who did accountancy stuff for the singer between 2005 and 2010 - claiming that they had mismanaged her financial affairs losing her millions. The accountants responded by saying that any losses during this period were solely due to Rihanna's "own financial action or inaction".

But that didn't stop the pop lady filing new legal proceedings last month, specifically claiming that bad advice from her former accountants in 2009 left her "effectively bankrupt", and saddled with a property that she then had to sell for $2 million less than she paid to acquire it in the first place. It's that latest litigation that, according to TMZ, Gounis has now responded to.

And the accounts man is pretty blunt in his call to have the case against him dismissed. He reportedly says that he was specifically hired to record and manage Rihanna's financial accounts, and not to give the singer day-to-day spending advice. And besides, he adds, "was it really necessary to tell her that if you spend money for things you will end up with the things, and not the money?"

Gounis says that Rihanna's fortune dropped dramatically towards the end of the last decade simply because she blew millions on pointless shopping sprees and extravagant parties. She also bailed on an important tour, he says, to take a role in the flop movie 'Battleship'. And as for the bad property investment, he never directed the singer to make such a purchase, he says.

The squabble continues.

Twitter to shut its standalone music app
Twitter has confirmed that it is axing its #Music app, the social media company's attempt at building a music discovery service, which tapped into the know-how of the short-lived We Are Hunted platform it acquired in 2012 and linked users off to music content on other third-party sites.

Despite some celebrity-backed hype when launched just under a year ago, the #Music app never really caught on, in many ways hindered by the fact it sat outside the main Twitter ecosystem. So much so, rumours circulated last October that the digital firm was considering dropping the music-themed service.

On Friday Twitter HQ announced it was pulling the app from Apple's app store, and would shut the service down completely on 18 Apr. While there is no news on any replacement music-specific service as yet, the company did say this weekend that it would "continue to experiment with new ways to bring you great content based on the music activity we see every day on Twitter".

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Apple considering on-demand streaming and iTunes app for Android
Apple is considering a number of new options to keep hold of its dominance in the digital music space after the download market went into decline in the US last year. According to Billboard, music download sales on the iTunes platform saw a double-digit percentage fall in America in 2013.

The launch of the iTunes Radio service in the US last year - a streaming set-up of the Pandora model - was seen as an initial attempt to deal with the slowdown of download sales in America. The fact that other new spin-offs are now being considered possibly shows that that service hasn't had the impact Apple wanted, or that the drop off of download sales in the US is more significant that the tech giant expected, or that possibly iTunes Radio was always about testing the water for more radical new music services.

According to Billboard, proposals now being put forward by Apple execs to the music companies include launching a fully on-demand streaming service of the Spotify model, launching an iTunes app for Android-powered devices, and trying to persuade more labels to give iTunes album release exclusives, so big new records are made available to download on the Apple platform before physical release and streaming service delivery, Beyonce style.

Of course Apple has generally been nervous about putting too much of its own money on the table to get new music services off the ground, whereas the streaming start-ups have handed over hundreds of millions to the labels and music publishers while getting things going. It remains to be seen if the tech firm cares enough about music to take a hit this time round. And if it does, if it will rely on its ad-selling abilities to recoup its costs, or whether Apple plans to push into the subscription-based content service domain.

Insiders say that all such future development discussions between Apple and the music companies have been so far pretty speculative. Though such talk implies a willingness at Apple to make some radical changes in its music offering in a bid to fight off new competitors in the space.

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Rhapsody withdraws from The Echo Nest
US-based streaming business Rhapsody, which operates the Napster service over here in Europe, has also announced it will "wind down" its partnership with music data miner The Echo Nest, following Spotify's acquisition of the analytics firm.

The unsurprising move follows a similar announcement from Rdio, the CEO of which previously stated his company would move away from providing data to and buying music discovery intelligence from the stats firm. Which increasingly makes The Echo Nest look like the stats and music discovery department of Spotify, rather than a platform agnostic data services provider.

The Napster owner, which also claims to have seen a 40% growth in paid subscribers over the last six months, said that it would rather future development of its music recommendation services be based on data gathered within the Rhapsody family.

Louis Theroux to present show for 6 Music
In a one-off show for BBC 6 Music next week, Louis Theroux will present a music journey around LA, where he now lives.

Amongst the artists he'll play on the show, some of whom have tenuous links to the city at best, are NWA, War, The Beach Boys, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, The Stranglers, Elliot Smith and The Carpenters.

The show is designed to complement Theroux's BBC Two series 'Louis Theroux's LA Stories', and will go out from midnight to 2am on 31 Mar.

  Approved: Dub Thompson
The two faces in most of Dub Thompson's promo shots are those of lost California boys Matt Pulos and Evan Laffer, who've just signed to Dead Oceans in order to release an eight-track LP titled '9 Songs'. And who knows, it's possible one of the songs has two parts to it.

The product of the band's working away with Jonathan Rado of Foxygen in - states its PR introduction - an "abandoned house", the new record is coming out on 10 Jun. And speeding it on its way is lead single 'Dograces', in which the group mount a house party bandstand built from clanking, cantankerous chunks of falling scrap-punk and a taut garage-rock backboard.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Azealia banks on her label believing she'll leak her LP
Oh, for god's sake. In a move mirroring similar ones made by impatient, label-hating rap stars like MIA, Angel Haze and Death Grips, Azealia Banks has threatened to leak her so-long-awaited-that-no-one's-awaiting-it-any-more first LP, 'Broke With Expensive Taste'.

The MC tweeted last Friday (via a Twitter feed that's seemingly been emptied bar several recent entries) that she'll make 'BWET' available for free in mid-April, writing: "Album leaks starting 15 Apr".

And there it is, clear as day. Banks, if you'd care to cast your mind back to January, pleaded via a series of tweets with Universal to break its contract with her, saying at the time: "I'm tired of having to consult a group of old white guys about my black girl craft. They don't even know what they're listening for or to. Universal needs to just hand me over to another label who knows what to do with me".

Presumably her hope is that leaks, real or merely threatened, will convince Universal to drop her once and for all. Then she can go and find another label that'll want to work with her. Good luck with that.

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Robbie Williams given keys to Stoke
Robbie Williams is to be given the Freedom Of Stoke-on-Trent, and about time too.

Councillors in Stoke, Williams' hometown, voted unanimously to grant him the honour, an acknowledgement of the 'civic contributions' Rob has made to the city over the years.

The official motion for giving Williams the title reads (via the BBC): "The council recognises and acknowledges the contribution made by Robert Peter Williams for his role as ambassador for the city. By granting this award the council shows its overwhelming appreciation for his outstanding contribution to music and for his local and international fundraising activities, specifically supporting children in the area".

Council chair Mohammed Pervez, meanwhile, was heard to say: "Robbie Williams is a true international superstar, he is one of our city's most famous sons. He has raised the city's profile and he's proud of being a 'Stokie'".

A ceremony to mark Williams' being made a Freeman will take place at a time that's still to be agreed, and marks the pinnacle in a series of events celebrating the ex-Take That man's 40th birthday. Which include the blue plaque that was put up close to his childhood home last month, though unfortunately proud and now LA-based Stokie Robbo didn't show up for that one. Shame.

Antony Gormley and Paul Smith contribute to Secret 7" project
Now we've got to the point where labels are releasing over 600 'exclusive' records for Record Store Day, the shine's kind of gone off it a bit. Not to mention the problems block booking of vinyl pressing plants by bigger players causes smaller companies hoping to get involved, or anyone who just wants to put out a non-RSD vinyl release in the few months surrounding the day itself - concerns which distributor Kudos went public with earlier this month.

One thing that does still have a bit of a special feel about it though is the Secret 7" project, which since 2012 has taken white label seven-inch singles from seven musical acts and placed them randomly inside almost 700 one-off record sleeves from a range of artists and designers.

Amongst the artists involved this year are Jake and Dinos Chapman, Antony Gormley, Paul Smith, Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja, Stanley Donwood, Alex Chinneck, Fred Butler and Pete Fowler. The full list of contributors, is available here, and you can view all of the designs here.

The songs on offer are:

Black Sabbath - Age Of Reason
Elbow - Grounds For Divorce
Jake Bugg - Strange Creatures
Lorde - Team
Massive Attack - Karmacoma
Roxy Music - Virginia Plain
T-Rex - Get It On

Bad luck anyone who ends up with one of the Jake Bugg ones. Still, all profits go to Warchild, so at least there's that. And you'll have some nice artwork.

Here's an interview with Alex Chinneck, Stanley Donwood, Fred Butler and Pete Fowler about their work for this year's Secret 7" project.

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Mogwai to release scrapped album
Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite has revealed that the band will release an entire scrapped album as a bonus disc on the upcoming fifteenth anniversary re-release of their second album, 'Come On Die Young'.

Braithwaite told Clash: "We'd recorded a whole record before we went to America [to record 'CODY' [with producer Dave Fridmann], at the time, and then scrapped it. So we've remixed those songs. We're happy with it. It's out in the summer, I think".

As well as that, the band will release an EP of songs recorded at the same time as most recent album 'Rave Tapes', and have been signed up to recorded the soundtrack to the second series of French zombie drama 'Les Revenants'. Which is good, because we liked their first very much.

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Release Round-Up: The Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, Peace, Elliphant and Diarrhea Planet
The Black Keys released a new single today, titled 'Fever'. It's kind a big deal, seeing that the band haven't released anything 'new' since their 2011 LP 'El Camino', and also because The Black Keys generally are a big deal. Revolt, who heard the track last Friday, think it's "amazing". But what do you think?

In semi-exciting Ed Sheeran news, the Brit singer last week tweeted a mystery date, "7/4/14", on which it seems likely he'll either release a track, and/or details of a track, and/or the LP he's been working on with Rudimental and, apparently, Pharrell. Ed, of course, announced an autumn tour of the UK that's due to start in October, so that may give some idea as to when he'll release whatever 'thing' he plans to release. Or it might not. Who knows? So the basic gist of this is; if you like Ed Sheeran, stay locked in to his Twitter account on Monday 7 Apr for some kind of pay-off. Alternatively, if you don't like him, stay away.

Now, why not give Peace a chance? The Birmingham band, that is, not the ideal. Leave the latter be. Anyway, so Peace have given fans a shot of their new single 'World Pleasure', the first window into their forthcoming LP, the TBA follow-on to 2013's 'In Love'. A fairly daring switch in style for Peace, the track features a "big grooving" bassline, 'rapping' of a kind by lead singer Harry Koisser, and a (not-at-all-bombastic) brass and strings outro that'd make the Stone Roses spin in their graves, were they not still alive. And here it is!

Next, it's inexplicable Swedish reggaetrix Elliphant and her equally tricky-to-explain new single 'Revolusion', the similarly mind-boggling video for which premiered recently. It's crazy in the best way, as you can see here. And PS, the track is available as a free download at this link, if you want it.

And finally, it's over to your granny's favourite American rock deadbeats, Diarrhea Planet, and their new 'Babyhead' video. Backing a track that features on DP's latest LP, 'I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams', the 'Babyhead' clip features the band's heads photoshopped onto the bodies of various babies, animals and such, in a 'You've Been Framed'-style home movie reel. And the song's quite catchy, and all.

Roni Size to perform live and give masterclass at Metropolis Studios
Roni Size will perform live at Metropolis Studios in June, followed by two masterclass production sessions.

Size and his band Reprazent will perform to an audience of 125 people on 13 Jun in Metropolis Studio A, which will also be recorded for future release. Then the following day, he'll offer a Q&A and masterclass in music production over two sessions, all rounded off with an afterparty that night.

Tickets for the show will set you back between £99 and £149, while a masterclass slot will be an extra £99. If those numbers don't make you want to cry, you'll find more information here.

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Festival Line-Up Update: T In The Park, Sundown, Wickerman and more
In today's FLUU newsflash, the latest artist additions to line-ups at Somerset booze N music fest Outcider, pop-party-in-a-field Sundown, cult Scottish fling Wickerman, Kinross-shire picnic T In The Parl, and that's your lot.

OUTCIDER FESTIVAL, Fern Hill Farm, Compton Martin, Somerset, 1-3 Aug: Sonic Boom Six, Mad Dog McRae, Will Varley, Neck, Shoot The Moon, Gaz Brookfield, Kunt and the Gang, Disco's Out (Murder's In), Fish Hook, Gorgeous George, John D Revelator, King Tuts Revenge, Laurie Wright, Commander McNeil, Malarkey, Dana Immanuel, Oscar Everard, Paul McCoch, Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons, QELD, Smokey Bastard, The Devils Rejects, Inbredz, The Haywains, The Hellfire Orchestra, The Hi Class Joes, The Paper Trains, The Skimmity Hitchers, The White City Shakers, Willowen, Yan Yates & The State Union Radio. www.outciderfestival.co.uk

SUNDOWN, Norfolk Showground, Norwich, 29-31 Aug: Ella Eyre, Foxes. www.sundownfestival.co.uk

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland, 11-13 Jul: The Human League. www.tinthepark.com

WICKERMAN, Kircarswell Farm, Galloway, Scotland, 25-26 Jul: Del Amitri, Alabama 3. www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk

Arthur hits out at his Twitter rep, on Twitter
Let's all imagine providing social media services for James Arthur for a few seconds. Yeah, makes that shitty project you've been lumbered with this month seem less of a challenge, right?

Arthur took to Twitter this weekend to diss the people who are, erm, managing his Twitter account, after the JA HQ tweeter posted an admittedly quite cheesy sequence of tweets suggesting people buy Arthur's eponymous debut album as a Mother's Day present.

Arthur's 'people' tweeted: "Well it's next Sunday peeps - and we think your mum would #LOVE a copy of #JamesArthurTheAlbum. Don't you? JA HQ", to which the man himself responded: "HQ please stop writing things like 'we think you would #LOVE this and that' or 'everybody #GETDOWN and buy this...' It's embarrassing", and "Stick to promoting Paul Potts please. Thanks. #LOVE".

He then suggested that he was going to fire the current JA HQ tweeterer-in-chief, and give the job to a superfan. Who will presumably get to manage the competition to find a fan to create a whale-based cover for Arthur's upcoming "hip hop mixtape". Said Arthur in announcing that competition: "I would like the front cover to be a drawing of the killer whale/Orca from sea world who features in the documentary 'Blackfish' TILIKUM". Popjustice's entry gets our vote.

So that's all fun isn't it? Arthur's people got more involved in running the former 'X-Factor' champ's social media, of course, after all those homophobia allegations last year.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
ALY BARCHI | Staff Writer
Aly reports on artist news, coordinates the festival, gig and release round up columns, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also writes for CMU's sister title ThisWeek London.
Email aly@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of UnLimited Media she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.

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