WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: OK, let's see if I can do this without resorting to the gag about it being a great day for 'Gaye rights'. So, turns out, Pharrell Williams did rip off Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' when he penned his monstrosity of a pop hit 'Blurred Lines'. Because yesterday the jury tasked with considering the headline-grabbing dispute between pop maker old and pop maker new sided with the former... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Initially setting out her stall as a songwriter behind the scenes, Phoebe Ryan stepped out as an artist in her own right at the beginning of this year with a mash-up cover of R Kelly's 'Ignition' and Miguel's 'Do You' (though she did release a track with trance duo Tritonal in 2013 too). Smartly weaving the two tracks together and placing them in a style of her own... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Gaye family win Blurred Lines dispute
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DEALS Holly Herndon signs to 4AD
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Ministry chief lays into streaming and freemium at fiery Mobile World Congress debate
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LIVE BUSINESS SFX appoints committee to consider Robert FX Sillerman's proposals over ownership
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MEDIA Holy Moly and GigaOM close
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RELEASES Hudson Mohawke lights the way with new album
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Tyler, The Creator announces UK shows
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AWARDS Emmylou Harris and Evelyn Glennie named Polar Music Prize winners
Arthurs dished out at ILMC
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ONE LINERS Snoop Dogg speaks, Mumfords debut, Alexisonfire reunite, and other verbs
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AND FINALLY... McDonald's manages to scrape together some cash to pay artists at SXSW showcase
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JUNO RECORDS - MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Juno, the world's largest online dance music and DJ and studio equipment store, is looking for an enthusiastic marketing and social media assistant to help expand its fast-growing marketing and social media activity, on and offline.

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UNLIMITED I&C - FREELANCE EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
UnLimited I&C is looking for a freelance events coordinator. This person will help plan and deliver conference-style events, handling pre-event administration, including speaker and venue liaison. They will also need to be on site during the event to help with delivery.

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CREATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT NEW MUSIC COMPANY (LONDON)
A fantastic role within an innovative new music house has become available to the suitable candidate. The company is the new start up of two respected independent record labels.

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AEI MEDIA - ACCOUNTS ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
The main responsibilities of the role are to manage the day-to-day running of the finance department and assist with month-end tasks, working closely alongside the Finance Manager to ensure accurate and efficient processing and procedure compliance.

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BELIEVE RECORDINGS - UK LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Believe Recordings UK is recruiting a Label Manager who will be responsible for managing artist campaigns within the roster. They will be the primary liaison between all departments and teams involved in Believe Recordings artist campaigns.

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SOUNDREEF - CONTENT MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
A passionate and creative Content Marketing Assistant is required to join an innovative, fast-growing music business. The Content Marketing Assistant will be joining a VC funded company that has experienced substantial growth and success since its 2011 launch. The company administers royalties for a very large catalogue of musical works and licenses music in over 20 countries in the world.

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UNLIMITED I&C - WEBSITE EDITOR (LONDON)
UnLimited I&C is looking for a part-time Website Editor to edit and manage the website of Creative Skills For Life, a social venture and campaigning organisation which aims to enable people living with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions to come together and explore their creative potential as a catalyst for healing and personal development.

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SOLD OUT - SOCIAL MEDIA, JUNIOR EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Sold Out is an independent full service advertising agency, specialising in arts and entertainment for 20 years. Its looking for a Social Media, Junior Executive to support the business through effective implementation of social media campaigns for a variety of clients across the entertainment market.

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VMS LIVE - VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
VMS Live are looking for an experienced venues and live music professional to oversee their Northern venues management operation including Manchester Academy, Wrexham (William Aston Hall) among others.

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VMS LIVE - VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (NORWICH)
VMS Live are looking for an experienced venues and live music professional to oversee their venues management operation with thr University of East Anglia (LCR, Waterfront, The Studio).

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BIBLIOTHEQUE MUSIC - MUSIC SUPERVISOR (LONDON)
We are looking for an enthusiastic motivated Music Supervisor to help increase our capacity and develop new opportunities. The role will focus on marketing the catalogues to all relevant sectors of media and corporate industries, establishing and developing solid relationships, conducting searches, and taking the lead with all client-facing activity. The position has excellent career prospects going forward with scope for autonomy, innovation and growth.

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Gaye family win Blurred Lines dispute
OK, let's see if I can do this without resorting to the gag about it being a great day for 'Gaye rights'. So, turns out, Pharrell Williams did rip off Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' when he penned his monstrosity of a pop hit 'Blurred Lines'. Because yesterday the jury tasked with considering the headline-grabbing dispute between pop maker old and pop maker new sided with the former (well, his kids). New boy stole off old guy and is therefore liable for copyright infringement. To the tune of $7.3 million. Good times.

Now, I happen to think that 'Blurred Lines' was an irresponsible ode to the rape apologist, with lyrics that shocked not out of creative intent, but because of an ingrained misogyny and rape complacency that runs through the pop machine that created it. And I'm of the opinion that everyone involved in making, distributing and profiting from the record should be ashamed of themselves. So I'm glad that half of those profits are now being taken away from the perpetrators of the offence.

Though in mere copyright terms, this is a controversial decision. It sets a "horrible precedent", according to the lawyer representing Williams and Robin Thicke, and not just for those popstars out there who were planning on ripping off Marvin Gaye this week. The debate over when imitation becomes infringement has long been mused over by copyright lawyers, but it's rare that cases of this kind ever get to court, especially if, as here, the new track is clearly similar to the old track, but clearly not the same.

Of course, when disputes of this kind arise, there will always be a musicologist on hand to explain in scientific terms how one song is clearly just a rework of another. Though there'll usually be another musicologist waiting in the wings to say the opposite. And it's hard not to listen to such explanations without wondering, "What the fuck is a musicologist?"

For his part, Howard King, representing Williams and Thicke, had three core arguments, which actually seemed quite compelling from where I was sitting. First he honed in on what elements of the song 'Got To Give It Up' (because this case was about the song not the recording) were actually protected by copyright, which might seem like a lawyer resorting to one of those technicalities to further his case (it was), but the judge overseeing the dispute generally agreed with King's interpretation of American copyright law.

Next, King focused on the fact that - while 'Blurred Lines' and 'Got To Give It Up' are clearly similar - so are lots of pop songs. Every popstar, not least a certain Mr Gaye, is influenced by the oeuvre of other artists they rate. And to prove that fact, King had Thicke play a pop medley on the piano, something akin to Axis Of Awesome's 'Four Chords' routine (after we noted that fact, we were quickly informed by a reader that 'Four Chords' had basically been done years earlier by comedian Rob Paravonian, showing that, even in musical comedy, nothing is truly original).

And finally, King asked the courtroom why a pop producer as successful as Pharrell would decide, on a whim one day, to rip off Marvin Gaye. Which - while Williams was the man behind the 'Blurred Lines' lyrics, about which you already know my views - is a pretty fair point to make.

The Gaye family's attorney, Richard Busch, relied heavily on one of those musicologists, then cried foul at King's insistence that the tedious technicalities of American copyright law should be considered. King was just trying to confuse the jury, said Busch.

And finally the Gaye's legal man revelled in the fact that Robin Thicke's testimony required the singer to admit to lying in media interviews about his role in creating 'Blurred Lines' and the influence of Marvin Gaye on that process. By his own admission Thicke was a liar, so why trust his testimonies now? Except, as King pointed out, media interviews aren't conducted under oath. And whatever you think about Thicke (I think he's an odious dick), that doesn't mean he'd lie in court.

It was there that the legal arguments rested. And as I say, for my money - and despite my self-confessed bias against Pharrell and the Thickster - theirs was the stronger case. But not in the eyes of the jury who, while rejecting the unprecedented $25 million in damages the Gayes wanted (citing the impact 'Blurred Lines' had had on Thicke's concert trade as justification), ruled very much in the family's favour, with the $7.3 million damages figure still record breaking.

An appeal will almost certainly follow, so this matter is likely far from resolved. Though in the short term the ruling arguably extends the reach of American music copyright into realms it shouldn't really tread, in a way that, ironically, can only hinder the people copyright is meant to protect, the music makers of the future.

Speaking outside the court, King told reporters: "While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter".

Though on the upside, this turn of events might stop the ongoing distribution of 'Blurred Lines' itself, in the short term at least. Busch told Rolling Stone overnight: "We'll be asking the court to enter an injunction prohibiting the further sale and distribution of 'Blurred Lines' unless and until we can reach an agreement with those guys on the other side about how future monies that are received will be shared. We'll be doing that in about a week or so".

Blimey. What a good day for Gaye rights.

Holly Herndon signs to 4AD
4AD has announced that it has signed Holly Herndon and will release her second album, 'Platform', on 18 May.

Speaking about the signing, 4AD boss Simon Halliday told CMU: "We are always looking to partner with the most innovative and original artists possible and Holly's new music is diverse and magical and we were thrilled she chose to work with 4AD on the next chapter of her career".

The CMU approved (twice) Herndon describes the album, the follow-up to 2012's 'Movement', as "a rupture, a parasitic gesture". What might that sound like? Well, here's the first track from the record, 'Interference'.

Ministry chief lays into streaming and freemium at fiery Mobile World Congress debate
It's no secret that Ministry Of Sound more than most has been cautious - and at times outright critical - of the rise of the streaming services, and especially freemium platforms, questioning the motives of the streaming music companies and the rationale of their business models.

Of course, you might argue that that viewpoint is in no small part the result of Ministry's original label business being dominated by compilations, with the superclub's record company traditionally known more for curation than signing and nurturing new artists (though the latter element has grown over the years).

Digital has not been kind to the compilations business, and while some brands in the market did eventually find a way to make things work on iTunes, it's much harder for compilation makers - who are curating tracks owned by other labels - to generate revenues on the streaming platforms, where thousands of bedroom curators - not to mention labels and media looking for exposure - are making playlists that arguably render compilations redundant.

And when those bedroom curators rip off the tracklists of your carefully planned compilations you end up in a very grey area of copyright law. Ministry, of course, sued Spotify on that issue, though subsequently settled, meaning we never got any judicial guidance on whether curated lists of songs have copyright protection.

But it's interesting that, while Ministry boss Lohan Presencer has sometimes been out of kilter with other label bosses when dissing streaming services (and not just easy targets like Pandora and YouTube, all the streaming services), some of his opinions are now echoing around other record companies as concerns grow over the size of the freemium market, which generates a minority of streaming income.

And Presencer was back in diss mode at the recent Mobile World Congress in a fiery panel that partnered the Ministry boss with reps from Deezer and Rdio. As Music Ally reports, Presencer didn't hold back, saying of the streaming execs to his side: "Your objective is to grow your user base, to tell a story such that you can IPO or you can sell, and you can exit, and you can put money back in the pockets of your investors".

He went on: "You are not the ones who are investing in developing talent. You are not the ones who are signing artists. And our artists and investment - our creative community - is contracting daily, as a result of the free services that are out there and giving music away, with the objective of you achieving some sort of exit at the end".

Later laying into the freemium services in particular - the domain where record industry opinion may be swinging in his direction - Presencer questioned the argument, put forward by Spotify et al, that freemium drives premium subscriptions, where the real future revenues lie. He said: "My beef continually over the last few years has been with the free aspect, the freemium model. I just can't see how that is sustainable or supportable".

He continued: "The argument goes that by making a free ad-funded service available, you capture - you give - the pirates an alternative. I just don't buy it. I think what you do is you take casual consumers of music and you turn them from purchasers into noshers, into browsers, into snackers. They don't have to engage in the subscription model. The reality of some of the bigger streaming services is that 75% of their user base are free, which has a horrific impact on the music industry and its ability to invest in talent going forward".

Of course, while Presencer was keen to stress what a small role streaming revenues play in his label business, many other record companies now see the likes as Spotify as a key revenue generator, and might argue that it is because of Ministry's resistance to streaming that it is yet to see the benefits. Though when it comes to freemium, even those labels that are big fans of Spotify, Deezer and Rdio might nod when the Ministry boss speaks.

Music Ally has a detailed summary of the panel here.

SFX appoints committee to consider Robert FX Sillerman's proposals over ownership
EDM peddler SFX yesterday announced details of the special committee that is being established to evaluate the previously reported proposal from the firm's chief and founder Robert FX Sillerman that he take the company back into private ownership.

As previously reported, some key investors and analysts on Wall Street reacted negatively to Sillerman's recent proposal that he buy back all the shares he doesn't currently own in the EDM festival maker and Beatport owner, he having only floated SFX in 2013.

In a statement yesterday, SFX said that among the independent directors who will now consider the proposal are John Miller, Chief Investment Officer of WP Carey and Co; Michael Meyer, Partner and Head Of Sales And Trading at The Seaport Group; and D Geoffrey Armstrong, CEO of 310 Partners. Moelis & Company LLC will provide financial advice and Steptoe & Johnson legal counsel.

The statement confirmed that Sillerman is proposing to "acquire all of the outstanding shares of SFX that he does not already own, at a price of $4.75 per share in cash. Sillerman owns approximately 37.8% of the outstanding common stock of SFX Entertainment".

It went on: "The special committee will also consider alternatives to the proposed transaction that enhance shareholder value, including any other offers to acquire the company. The committee is charged with, among other things, maximising shareholder value in any proposed transaction".

Holy Moly and GigaOM close
Celebrity gossip website Holy Moly has announced that it is closing after thirteen years of being unnecessarily rude for larks. I feel I should balance this out by calling Olly Murs a cunt.

Announcing the news, staffer Tim Chipping wrote in a statement: "Holy Moly managed to keep doing pretty much exactly the same thing every day for thirteen years, which is just one year less than Westlife. But there is no key change for Holy Moly. No encore. And no awkward televised reunion that starts off emotional but ends with us shouting the words 'mouthbreathing shit-eagle' across a car park. For some reason a website dedicated to being needlessly unpleasant about Olly Murs is no longer financially viable. Go figure".

Oh, well that's particularly upsetting news. Now I'm conflicted. Maybe I should say that Olly Murs is lovely. Oh god, I'm so conflicted. "To all the celebs we've slagged off over the years, please take it personally", added Chipping. "You are awful".

Right, I think it's best if I just don't mention Olly Murs anymore. Let's just move on to a farewell from founder Jamie East, who departed the website in 2013.

"It did some stupid things (as my lawyer's bills testified) but also achieved things I will always be proud of", East wrote on Medium. "Two Amazon #1 best-selling books, selling about 20,000 t-shirts saying 'Jack Bauer wouldn't stand for this shit', having to explain Cunt's Corner to the Leveson Enquiry, going on Richard & Judy wearing a balaclava, having Sinitta pour me a glass of wine whilst Simon Cowell slipped into the biggest bubble bath I've ever seen, winding up my tabloid counterparts on a weekly basis by catching them off guard with this new fangled ideal of not giving a shit about legals, making a shitload of incredible friends and, importantly, being a brilliant first place of employment for many, many incredibly talented people".

Elsewhere in 'online media operation operations suddenly closing' news, tech site GigaOM promptly shut up shop on Monday, due to financial problems.

In a statement it admitted that the company "recently became unable to pay its creditors in full". It continued: "As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company's assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy".

One of the site's final articles was about the "broken" music business. So you should probably all take note.

  Approved: Phoebe Ryan
Initially setting out her stall as a songwriter behind the scenes, Phoebe Ryan stepped out as an artist in her own right at the beginning of this year with a mash-up cover of R Kelly's 'Ignition' and Miguel's 'Do You' (though she did release a track with trance duo Tritonal in 2013 too). Smartly weaving the two tracks together and placing them in a style of her own, the track gained her plenty of attention, which she capitalised on quickly with her first original track 'Mine'.

Now she's back with her third track in as many months, another original called 'Dead', which further cements her position as a new voice to keep an ear on. The track sees her slope back into her already relaxed vocal style, comfortable in an atmosphere she seems to be developing across each track. It's early days, but so far she's pretty compelling.

Listen to 'Dead' here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 
 

Hudson Mohawke lights the way with new album
Hudson Mohawke has announced that he will release a new album, titled 'Lantern', on 15 Jun. So stick that in your diary, do.

Speaking about the record, the producer said: "This album is everything I've been working towards. I wanted to make a classic - at least for me and my friends. I never wanted to be any genre. I wanted to be my own thing. Everything".

Bold words. Here's a trailer.

Tyler, The Creator announces UK shows
Tyler, The Creator has announced UK shows as part of a world tour later this year. The Odd Future rapper will be on these shores for four shows in May.

"I don't know when I'm doing this again", he said in an Instagram post announcing initial dates. "Come fuck".

So, um, those are some words. Here are the dates:

12 May: Glasgow, Barrowlands
13 May: Manchester, Academy
14 May: London, The Roundhouse
15 May: Bristol, Academy

Emmylou Harris and Evelyn Glennie named Polar Music prize winners
Country musician Emmylou Harris and percussionist Evelyn Glennie have been announced as the winners of Sweden's Polar Music Prize this year, because, well, I'm not sure either of them can ever have enough awards.

Announcing the winners, the award's MD Marie Ledin said: "In Evelyn Glennie and Emmylou Harris, the [Stig Anderson Music Award] Foundation has chosen two exceptional Laureates for this year's Polar Music Prize, as both represent the spirit of the award that my father envisaged when he founded the prize. We look forward to honouring Evelyn and Emmylou and paying tribute to their exceptional music careers".

Glennie added: "I was hugely humbled and inspired when I learned that I was to be awarded with the prestigious Polar Music Prize. To be chosen from so many deserving people, from all genres of music, only makes me want to work harder, to make a difference and to rise to the occasion. Accepting the Polar Music Prize is a great honour, for which I am extremely grateful".

While Harris said: "I was both surprised and honoured at the news of this most prestigious award, and am now looking forward to once again returning to your beautiful country where I was first so warmly welcomed those many years ago. Thank you Polar Music Prize!"

The two artists will receive their trophies and one million Swedish krona (just shy of £80,000) at a ceremony in Stockholm on 9 Jun.

--------------------------------------------------

Arthurs dished out at ILMC
Oh yes, the Arthurs, don't forget the Arthurs. The live music industry's annual awards bash, which occurs during the International Live Music Conference each year, took place last weekend. And what a night! Probably. I wasn't there. I was busy. Being busy. But don't worry, I had a spy in the room. Ironically called Arthur. And he texted me the winners. As follows, LOL...

First Venue To Come Into Your Head: Royal Albert Hall
The Promoters' Promoter: Phil Bowdery, Live Nation UK
Liggers' Favourite Festival: Rock Werchter, Belgium
Second Least Offensive Agent: Geoff Meall, The Agency Group
Services Above and Beyond: EPS
Most Professional Professional: Martin Goebbels, Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach
The People's Assistant: Samantha Henfrey, The Agency Group
The Golden Ticket: CTS Eventim
Tomorrow's New Boss: Maarten Van Vugt, Greenhouse Talent
The Bottle Award: Marcel Avram

Snoop Dogg speaks, Mumfords debut, Alexisonfire reunite, and other verbs

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Peter Rhodes, the London MD of Reed Midem, the makers of MIDEM (amongst other things), has stepped down after 32 years with the company. He will remain on hand as an advisor for a time after he leaves, chief exec Paul Zilk told Music Week.

• Snoop Dogg has been announced as the keynote speaker at this year's Snoop By Snoop West festival.

• Mark Mumford and his so called 'Sons' have debuted their new electric sound. Bit boring.

• Stop everything! There is another new Mew song.

• Ane Brun has a new single out called 'Directions'. But from whence has it arrived? From a new album due out in the autumn, my child.

Approved last year, Zella Day has released a video for her track 'Hypnotic'.

• Tink has released a new Timbaland-produced single called 'Ratchet Commandments'.

• Pop innovator Thomas Truax has announced his eighth album, 'Jetstream Sunset', will be released on 20 Apr. Here's a song from it, 'Pancakes'.

• The artist whose name I am still most likely to pronounce incorrectly, Taragana Pyjarama, has announced a new EP on True Panther Sound. Titled 'Ariel' it'll be out on 4 May. Here's the title track.

• Alexisonfire are reuniting to play a number of festival dates this summer, including Reading and Leeds.

McDonald's manages to scrape together some cash to pay artists at SXSW showcase
McDonald's has backtracked somewhat and announced that it will now pay artists to play at its SXSW showcase later this month, rather than just asking bands to do it for the "exposure". Or McSposure, perhaps.

As previously reported, alt-rock duo Ex Cops recently published an 'open letter' on their Facebook page calling out the fast food chain for refusing to pay for the one thing absolutely necessary for its SXSW showcase event to exist. The band's Brian Harding said that he was told there was "no budget" to cover artists' costs.

In an initial statement, McDonald's put the mounting interest in this story down to a "#SlowNewsDay", and said that it was just following "the same standard protocol as other brands and sponsors" at SXSW. Standard protocols that, Harding told Rolling Stone, were news to him, given that some other brands had offered to pay the band to play.

In a statement yesterday, McDonald's said it was now also ditching these imagined standard practices, telling Billboard: "SXSW started as a conference and festival for the music industry, related press and up-and-coming musicians bringing the community together to showcase their talents. We are excited to expand our support of music at our SXSW activation where the line-up features a great assortment of more than 20 bands, honouring the spirit of the festival. To further support these artists, all bands performing at our showcase will be compensated".

Ex Cops will not be one of those bands raking in the Maccy D's dollar, but said via Facebook: "We are thrilled that our letter made a difference ... Artists should be paid for their work".

 
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)
   
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.
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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.

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