TUESDAY 11 AUGUST 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Following all the kerfuffle around Beatport royalty payments last week, it's parent company SFX Entertainment put out its latest financial update for investors yesterday. Interest in the company's affairs has heightened, of course, because of founder Robert Sillerman's grand plan to buy back all the shares he doesn't currently own in the firm and take it back into private ownership... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Each day over the next three weeks we will be looking at some of the shows, performers and events being championed at the Edinburgh Festival this year by our sister magazine ThreeWeeks. First up virtuoso pianist Will Pickvance, who dissected in detail his relationship with the piano in a much acclaimed show called 'Anatomy Of The Piano' at Edinburgh Festivals 2013 and... [READ MORE]
 
CMU PODCAST: CMU’s Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including facts, figures, rumours and deals at Apple Music, Universal’s new playlist marketing boss Jay Frank, the latest on Robert Sillerman’s attempts to buy back SFX Entertainment and the knock on effects for Beatport, plus the surprise new album from Dr Dre. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Latest SFX figures published as chatter about Sillerman's buy-back continues
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LEGAL US musicians union sues over digital royalties and pension payments
Plagiarism lawsuit that Shakira and Sony/ATV lost now thrown out by judge
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DEALS Wall Of Sound allies with Believe for up coming releases
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LIVE BUSINESS Creative United and Music Venue Trust ally to provide support and finance to grass roots venues
Fringe venue operator planning year round music venue for Edinburgh
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Google company rebrands as Alphabet Inc
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Bjork comments on show cancellations
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ONE LINERS Coda, Pandora, The Libertines, Tyler and more
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AND FINALLY... Record deals are slavery, says Prince
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MUSIC CONCIERGE - CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER (HERTFORD)
Music Concierge, the award-winning music consultancy for boutique hotels and luxury brands, is looking for a Client Services Manager to manage our expanding creative and account management teams and oversee the smooth day-to-day operations of the business, whilst liaising at senior level with world-class brands.

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THE ORCHARD - ACCOUNT CO-ORDINATOR, VIDEO SERVICES (LONDON)
As an Account Co-ordinator in the Video Services department, you are vital in helping to scale our fast growing Video Services business in Europe; executing on a value proposition that drives client satisfaction, engagement and revenue. You are a positive, smart, creative and analytical forward-thinker, and an Orchard evangelist in and outside of the company.

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AIR ARTIST AGENCY - PERSONAL ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Air Artist Agency is an innovative live music agency. The agency represents the cream of today's jazz musicians, cutting edge innovators and mainstream established artists. With an extensive worldwide network of contacts, we book for emerging talents as well as established artists. We are looking for a personal assistant to one of our directors.

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AUDIO NETWORK - PRODUCT AND A&R MANAGER (LONDON)
Working in our London office, we are looking for a music industry professional with passion and experience to join the Audio Network Music Team, primarily as cross discipline (B2B and B2C) Product Manager but also in support of all A&R functions.

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BIMM LONDON - EVENTS & GUESTS ASSISTANT (LONDON)
The post holder will have a supporting role to the Head of Events & Guests with specific responsibility for BIMM in house and external events, gigs, artist auditions, masterclasses and supplying the marketing department with information on events, guests and student success stories.

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BIMM MANCHESTER - HEAD OF HIGHER EDUCATION & COURSE LEADER (MANCHESTER)
The post holder will be a highly experienced, dynamic professional with a strong background in music and in education who will share responsibility for the leadership, creative development and delivery of all the academic activities of BIMM Manchester.

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BIMM MANCHESTER - COURSE LEADER BA PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANSHIP (MANCHESTER)
The role requires an inspirational course leader and teacher who can also bring a high level of music industry and academic experience and demonstrate an understanding of, and affinity with, the curriculum at BIMM Institute.

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BIMM MANCHESTER - STUDENT SUPPORT OFFICER X 2 (MANCHESTER)
We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic experienced, dynamic professional with a background which will enable them to take on a key role in upholding all Student Support systems to ensure all students complete their studies and achieve at the highest level.

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BIMM DUBLIN - RECEPTIONIST (DUBLIN)
The successful candidate will be the first point of contact for all students, tutors and visitors to BIMM Dublin. Working within the reception team, the role will involve dealing with a high volume of calls and responding to all queries in a timely and informative manner.

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BIMM DUBLIN - RECEPTIONIST (TEMPORARY CONTRACT, 6.5 MONTHS) (DUBLIN)
The successful candidate will be the first point of contact for all students, tutors and visitors to BIMM Dublin. Working within the reception team, the role will involve dealing with a high volume of calls and responding to all queries in a timely and informative manner.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BIMM DUBLIN - TEMPORARY STUDENT SUPPORT OFFICER (DUBLIN)
The Student Support Officer will have a key role in supporting the QSS Manager in ensuring that all aspects of the School’s Student Support provision, including pastoral tutorials, counselling, learning support welfare awareness programmes and student representative programme are delivered in line with the requirements of our key educational partners and in order to support all students at BIMM Dublin.

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SOLD OUT - JUNIOR SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Sold Out is an independent full service advertising agency, specialising in arts and entertainment for 20 years. You will be supporting the business through effective implementation of social media campaigns for a variety of clients across the entertainment market. The role is ideal for a recent graduate or for a first full-time job.

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MUSIC GLUE - HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING (LONDON)
Music Glue, the world’s leading D2F e-commerce platform, is looking for a Head of Sales and Marketing to lead our sales team. You will be an experienced and well-organised sales professional with wide ranging contacts, an excellent network in the music industry and a keen desire to make a name for yourself in a fluid, exciting role.

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MUSIC GLUE - DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
Music Glue, the world’s leading D2F e-commerce platform, is looking for a Digital Communications Manager to join our team. We’re looking for an experienced communications professional who is searching for a job unlike any other in music or PR. Music Glue is a company at the forefront of the ongoing revolution in music and we want someone who is as comfortable evangelising our brilliant new features to our rapidly increasing user base as they are crafting the messaging and voice of the company as a whole.

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BLUES KITCHEN - PROMOTIONS & MARKETING ROLE (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is seeking a talented and enthusiastic individual to join the Blues Kitchen marketing and promotions team.

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WARWICK SU - PROGRAMMING AND PROMOTIONS MANAGER (COVENTRY)
We are looking for an exceptional Programming and Promotions Manager to deliver a diverse and cost effective social provision programme across Warwick SU operation’s and outlets, including both regular and one off events that exceed the expectations of the student population and other customers.

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IQ - ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
IQ, a leading trade publication operating in the international live music industry, is seeking a dynamic, bright advertising sales executive to become an integral part of its growing team. The ideal candidate will have solid sales experience across both digital and print media.

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UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA - VENUE MANAGER (NORWICH)
Are you looking for a change in your career? A unique opportunity to run a major venue on the live circuit. You will lead and develop enthusiasm in your management team and inspire them to make highly commercial decisions whilst also delivering an unforgettable experience to each and every customer.

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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
 

Latest SFX figures published as chatter about Sillerman's buy-back continues
Following all the kerfuffle around Beatport royalty payments last week, it's parent company SFX Entertainment put out its latest financial update for investors yesterday.

Interest in the company's affairs has heightened, of course, because of founder Robert Sillerman's grand plan to buy back all the shares he doesn't currently own in the firm and take it back into private ownership.

Some odd dealings with newly sold shares on the side, coupled with the since backtracked declaration by Beatport last week that it couldn't pay labels what they were due because of Sillerman's ongoing buy-back plan, have led to much speculation on Wall Street and in the music industry as to how the EDM powerhouse is performing.

The latest financials don't contain any real surprises, though. There is plenty of growth in terms of revenue, with ticket sales for the firm's festivals bringing in the lion's share of the $121 million made last quarter, $14.4 million being generated by the company's online ventures, like Beatport, and the all important – for the commercial end of the live space – brand partnerships unit.

Those revenues were slightly ahead of most analyst expectations, though most Wall Street types focused instead on the overall net loss of $48 million for the quarter. Which, given SFX is still in essence a start up which is still pursuing an aggressive growth strategy, isn't in itself much of a surprise, though adds to those concerned about the company's cash flow and/or strategy, which means shares in the company remain very wobbly indeed, currently pegged at $2.36 per share.

Which, of course, makes Sillerman's proposal to buy those shares back at $5.25 a piece all the more generous. Though speculation still remains that he won't be able to secure enough financial backing to go through with that plan, either forcing new negotiations on price, or some kind of alternative strategy. The SFX chief now has until Thursday to update everyone on his progress. So, despite having a new set of numbers to crunch, investment types are really more interested in what Sillerman will say then.

US musicians union sues over digital royalties and pension payments
The American Federation Of Musicians has sued the major record companies in the New York courts over digital income, and while the case is very much centred on the union's pension fund, it contains some familiar gripes about unnecessary complications and lacking transparency when it comes to the revenues generated by digital music services.

The lawsuit relates to an agreement between the majors and the AFM pension fund, in which the American branches of the record companies promised to pay 0.5% of all receipts from non-domestic (mainly) digital transmissions of recordings into the fund. This agreement includes monies from streaming, non-permanent downloads and ringbacks, and dates back to the 1990s – when such income was very more periphery for the labels – though has been renewed more recently.

The union says that independent auditors identified missing payments last year, but attempts to settle the matter directly have been unsuccessful. AFM International President Ray Hair says: "The record companies should stop playing games about their streaming revenue and pay musicians and their pension fund every dime that is owed. Fairness and transparency are severely lacking in this business. We are changing that".

Yeah, good luck with that. Still, if it were to get to court, this legal battle could create another interesting spotlight on what exactly is happening to streaming income.

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Plagiarism lawsuit Shakira and Sony/ATV lost now thrown out by judge
In something of an about turn, a New York judge has thrown out a copyright infringement lawsuit against Shakira and her publisher Sony/ATV in relation to the 2010 track 'Loca'.

As previously reported, the Shakira song borrowed from an earlier work called 'Loca Con Su Tiguera' by Eduardo Edwin Bello Pou - aka El Cata - who harks from the Dominican Republic. But that was all above board, with Bello being co-credited on the song and also appearing on the track.

But then another Dominican Republic songwriter called Ramon 'Arias' Vasquez showed up on the scene claiming that Bello's song was a rip off of something he had written in the mid-1990s, and which, he said, he had shared with Bello when the two men met about nine years ago. Both men presented their respective arguments to the New York court a year ago, with the judge ultimately siding with Vasquez, partly because of inconsistencies in Bello's story, and especially because Vasquez had a 1998 cassette recording of his song.

Because the Shakira record had borrowed from Bello's song, which in turn ripped off Vasquez's song, she and her publisher were also liable for copyright infringement. But then yesterday, when he was expected to rule on the damages due in relation to last year's judgement, the judge overseeing the dispute changed his mind over the whole case, mainly because of that aforementioned cassette tape.

According to Reuters, judge Alvin K Hellerstein said that new evidence had been presented by Sony that provided "competent and substantial proof" that Vasquez's cassette was a fake, and did not, in fact, originate from 1998 but more recently. There had been a "basic issue of fraud in the trial", he added, before dismissing the case against Shakira and Sony/ATV.

"We're very pleased and gratified on behalf of Sony and the real writers, El Cata and Shakira", said legal reps for the publishing major.

Wall Of Sound allies with Believe for up coming releases
Mark Jones' legendary Wall Of Sound label – having previously allied with the likes of [PIAS] and Essential – has a new distribution partner in the form of Believe. It will support Jones on a number of upcoming new releases, handling distribution and promotions worldwide.

Confirming the deal, Believe's General Manager UK Lee Morrison told reporters: "Mark has had great success in finding some of the best new music of our generation and both I and my teams are very excited to be working with him on new Wall Of Sound projects. Using Believe's international infrastructure and localised knowledge I am looking forward to taking the label into its next 20 years of success".

Jones himself added: "Some very exciting new artists and albums on the way with some classic WoS-ers making it happen. Going back to the phuture and moving on... and on. I truly believe in Believe and Dig it All!"

Creative United and Music Venue Trust ally to provide support and finance to grass roots venues
Arts Council-supported creative finance agency Creative United is teaming up with the Music Venue Trust to launch a new programme that aims to support grassroots music venues, going by the name of The One Two Project.

The new venture will aim to provided £40,000 worth of consultancy, training and business planning expertise to smaller music venues, plus access to loan finance to enable such operations to invest in their buildings and businesses.

Confirming the new partnership, Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of the Trust, told reporters: "Through initiatives like The One, Two Project we aim to support grassroots music venues in assessing how they currently run and how they can operate more efficiently, so they can continue to offer the creative community a place to experiment, develop, train and grow and offer audiences a better quality experience".

Creative United's Head Of Business Lending Programmes, Sarah Thirtle, added: "Our small music venues are vital to the music industry's ecosystem, and play a crucial role providing platforms for new music, opportunities for talent development and hubs for the local community. They need to be supported, valued and championed. Our research from the Creative Industry Finance pilot programme showed that getting business advice plus access to finance can increase a company's turnover as well as provide a catalyst to lever further investment".

The new training and loans programme will formally kick off at the next Venues Day event due to take place in October.

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

Fringe venue operator planning year round music venue for Edinburgh
As the Edinburgh Festival swung into action last week, one of the Fringe's venue operators announced plans to open a new year-round music venue in the Scottish capital.

Like many of the big venue brands at the Edinburgh Fringe, Assembly traditionally rented other people's buildings for the month of August and set up pop up performance spaces, originally in the city's Assembly Rooms, from which it took its name. Though in more recent years Assembly operator William Burdett-Coutts actually bought two of the venues he uses each August, and it is one of those that could become a music space all year round.

For a time, the former church in question on the edge of the Edinburgh University city centre campus was home to the grass roots arts set up Forest Café, and now operates as Assembly Checkpoint during the Fringe.

On his year round plans for the building, Burdett-Coutts told the Edinburgh Evening News: "The shortage in Edinburgh at the moment really does seem to be space for music events. I keep getting approached by people who are looking for that kind of performance space [so] it just seems like the logical thing to do. I also feel that there is not enough live music during the Fringe, so if we could build up a year-round presence it would actually provide a good platform to showcase more music during the Festival".

CMU's sister magazine ThreeWeeks Edinburgh is covering the world's biggest cultural event as we speak at ThreeWeeks.co.uk.

Google company rebrands as Alphabet Inc
Having now successfully pursued every kind of known evil from A all the way through to Z, Google is (possibly) celebrating with a rebrand, becoming Alphabet. And if you don't believe me, just Alphabet it.

Though this is more of a corporate rejig than a rebrand, in that the core Google businesses will remain part of a company called Google, which will in turn be owned by a corporate vehicle called Alphabet Inc. Periphery Google ventures will then become standalone companies within the Alphabet group. Each will be given a letter and company bonuses will be paid out according to that week's 'Sesame Street'. Maybe.

Google co-founder Larry Page explained the rejig in a blog post which seems to have been well received by Wall Street. He said of the new entity: "Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead... Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren't very related".

Most of the top guard at what was Google Inc will become the top guard at Alphabet Inc, allowing key players in the next layer down of the firm's corporate hierarchy to get nice new job titles, them now being the top guard of the Google subsidiary. Meanwhile former Google Inc shareholders become Alphabet Inc shareholders.

Oh, and the choice of name? Page continues: "We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha?bet (alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!"

So now you know. Already standalone Google subsidiaries that are closely allied to the core Google business – so, YouTube for example – will remain part of the Google company within the Alphabet group. It's more periphery pursuits, like drone building and venture capital investments, that will now sit outside of Google.

Which is possibly good news for a company like Kobalt, which has backing from Google Ventures. Some in the music community criticised Kobalt – as a supposedly artist-friendly music rights firm – for taking investment from Google, which some music types see as the enemy. While it may be a structural technicality, the overhaul at Alphabet Inc means that that investment is all the more removed from the parts of Google which anger some in the music world.

  From The Fringe: Will Pickvance
Each day over the next three weeks we will be looking at some of the shows, performers and events being championed at the Edinburgh Festival this year by our sister magazine ThreeWeeks.

First up virtuoso pianist Will Pickvance, who dissected in detail his relationship with the piano in a much acclaimed show called 'Anatomy Of The Piano' at Edinburgh Festivals 2013 and 2014, playing a fair few numbers along the way.

"If 'Anatomy Of The Piano' was about the relationship of piano and pianist, the new show is more about my relationship with music itself" he told ThreeWeeks earlier this month.

"Where might interpretation and improvisation come from? The piano is a machine for a very personal expression. This show is actually about how I decide what music to play. Or perhaps, how my subconscious decides for me, based on the clutter in my head. Melodies are mixed up with anxieties, moods and memories. I have chosen and written motifs which I will dissect musically".

Read more about the show in this ThreeWeeks interview here.
CLICK HERE for the ThreeWeeks website
 

Bjork comments on show cancellations
Bjork has issued a statement of sorts after cancelling a number of upcoming festival shows, which were canned because of "a scheduling conflict beyond our control", we were told last week. Though she did, in fact, perform her set at the Wilderness festival at the weekend. So hurrah for that.

Writing on the Facebooks, Bjork thanked the team who helped stage, and the audiences who enjoyed, her most recent shows, before adding: "Singing this album has been intense and the internal clock of it different to the other ones. It has sort of had to behave in its own little way. Both the urgency of the leak [of the record] and now this sudden closure for reasons beyond my control is characteristic of that".

Addressing fans disappointed at the show cancellations, before looking ahead to the rest of the year, she went on: "I hope through the years I have earned enough tour karma points to get your support for this. I have started writing new songs and feel the best most natural pathway to go is to let this beast flow its natural course and start anew".

Coda, Pandora, The Libertines, Tyler and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Agent Solomon Parker is shifting over from William Morris Endeavour to join the London office of Coda Music, bringing with him a roster of acts including the likes of Take That, The Prodigy and Cheryl Cole. Which would be an interesting co-headline tour.

• One of Pandora's top legal men, Chris Harrison, is leaving the company, seemingly heading to Sirius XM. As Pandora's VP Of Business Affairs he was very involved in managing the streaming service's somewhat strained relationships with the music industry.

• The Libertines are planning a "week of shenanigans" at Camden venue The Dublin Castle to celebrate the release of their new album next month. So, good news for fans of shenanigans. Personally I prefer high jinks.

• Timbaland has said he has some previously unreleased music from late R&B singer Aaliyah to share with the world, and that he may well be doing so very soon.

• Maximo Park's Paul Smith has confirmed the band are now busying themselves on a new album, and that six songs are already under way. The LP is now on "the distant horizon" he told Digital Spy. By which he means sometime next year.

• Tyler, The Creator wants to work with Zayn Malik, telling the former 1D boy on Twitter "I have beautiful instrumentals and you have a voice, let's figure this out my guy". Well, with Tyler tippexing Australian tour dates out of his diary, and Malik with no more wedding planning nonsense to deal with, they should both have some spare time to do this.

Record deals are slavery, says Prince
Always one to keep things in perspective, Prince has compared record deals to slavery. Though presumably his old label Warner is one of the better slave owners, given his big deal with the major last year relating to his catalogue.

Prince was chatting to NPR about his previously reported tie up with Abraham Lincoln's, sorry, I mean, Jay-Z's Tidal. Such alliances mean old school record deals are no longer necessary, he said. "Record contracts are just like - I'm gonna say the word – slavery" he mused. "I would tell any young artist ... don't sign".

Good advice. Who needs a record deal? We all know that any streaming service you happen to rock up to will now provide unknown talent with a cash advance, artistic development support, extensive industry contacts, studio time, marketing and PR strategy and resource, ad spend and whatever physical and digital distribution is required. All hail Tidal et al, the new record industry.

Still, "we have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves" Prince mused on, which is true. And "once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves", which is correct. Though most new artists don't have their own resources, and realistically, the most a streaming service is going to provide most new artists is a leg up. Which is not be sniffed at. But it provides nothing like the benefits of full on slavery. Sorry, I mean, a full on record deal.

 
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 | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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 3CM UnLimited 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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