TODAY'S TOP STORY: American streaming music firm Pandora is downsizing its workforce by about 5% in a bid to save $45 million annually. The staffing changes follow a rejig at the top of the struggling digital music business last year that saw a new CEO brought in after satellite broadcaster Sirius XM took a significant stake in the company... [READ MORE]
Available to premium subscribers, CMU Trends digs deeper into the inner workings of the music business, explaining how things work and reviewing all the recent trends.
It's four years now since CMU Trends last looked in on the sales v licence debate. But a new lawsuit filed by Enrique Iglesias against Universal Music is set to pose the question anew, this time very much from a streaming perspective. With that in mind, CMU Trends reviews the debate to date and what might happen next. [READ MORE]
The UK government has announced that it will add the so called 'agent of change' principle into the framework which local authorities must follow when considering planning applications by property developers. With that announcement made, CMU Trends reviews what agent of change is all about and how we got to this point. [READ MORE]
A year ago, CMU Trends identified five contenders for enemy number one of the music industry. This week we review what has happened in the subsequent twelve months, and ask whether relations between the music community and its potential enemies improved or worsened in 2017. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Pandora to lay off 5% of its workforce
LEGAL Music industry urges new EU presidency to support safe harbour reform
DEALS Tencent launches joint venture label with Sony Music
Sony/ATV signs Luke Laird
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal places Charlie Walk on leave, as more accusations of sexual harassment emerge
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES YouTube plays down talk of non-disparagement agreements
RELEASES Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss releases protest song against drilling in US national parks
GIGS & FESTIVALS Anna Burch announces UK tour dates
ONE LINERS Lovebox, Spotify, Chvrches, more
AND FINALLY... Left Shark speaks
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Finance Manager for a successful artist management company based in Parsons Green. Accounting for artists, in particular touring for multiple active acts. This is a part time role, three days a week, for a nine month maternity cover contract commencing April 2018.

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This is an exciting and broad in-house lawyer role within the music industry. Working within a team of four, you'll share responsibility for all legal areas of the [PIAS] business including: [PIAS]'s own Play It Again Sam and Different labels, [PIAS]'s roster of partner labels and its UK distribution business.

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The University of Manchester Students’ Union and Manchester Academy are looking for an experienced technical manager, with knowledge of everything important to make our events shine. You will be expected to have a keen eye for detail to enable first class delivery that involves working with a wide range of stakeholders.

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Fire Records is seeking an enthusiastic and hard-working entry level warehouse and sales assistant to maintain the smooth running of the warehouse, maintain and build relationships with distributers and customers, prepare stock for tours and events and assist in the increasing of sales.

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Here at BC HQ we are going through a period of growth and are looking to find a highly motivated and passionate person to join the team and to play a key role in our PR work.

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Busy London based artist and producer management company Solar requires an Accounts/Finance Manager.

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Kobalt has a unique opportunity to be an integral part of Kobalt’s quickly growing, London-based sync team, working with a diverse catalogue and a passionate team dedicated to our commitment to bring transparency and the highest possible level of service to our clients.

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Snapper Music is an Accounts Assistant. This role is an ideal position for a school leaver looking for a career in the music industry.

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Live Nation UK's Social and Content Manager is responsible for managing and building the LN UK social channels and LNTV publishing platform. You will also support the shared team goal to grow reach, engagement and first party data.

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To keep abreast with the current business and technological expansion, IDOL is creating this position. The main purpose of this role is to manage, co-ordinate and optimise IDOL’s core activity.

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The Association Of Independent Festivals is looking for a new Membership and Project Co-ordinator to assist the General Manager of AIF with the day-to-day organisation and administration of the association.

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Thrill Jockey Records is seeking an experienced person for Director of Marketing and Promotions for Europe to be based out of our East London office.

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Working as part of the overall Finance and Business Affairs team, reporting to the Head of Department, the successful candidate will oversee royalty processes and reporting for all group companies.

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Owned and managed by global DJ trio Above & Beyond and James Grant, Involved Group is looking for an experienced Royalty & Accounts Assistant Manager to join our busy and growing Finance Team.

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CMU Insights provides training and consultancy to music companies and companies working with music. Find out about our seminars, masterclasses and primers here...
Mondays 5, 12, 19 Feb 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide a user-friendly guide to how music copyright works and how music rights make money. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
Mondays 26 Feb, 5, 12 Mar 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide an overview of how to build a fanbase for new artists and new music. They also look at how artists can use these channels to build a direct-fo-fan business. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
These are courses we can run in-house at your company
As we head into 2018, CMU Insights is now offering music companies a special two-hour primer session reviewing five key areas of the music business, summarising important developments from the last twelve months and looking at the challenges that lie ahead in the next year. Including: the streaming business, piracy, safe harbour, ticketing and data. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.

Pandora to lay off 5% of its workforce
American streaming music firm Pandora is downsizing its workforce by about 5% in a bid to save $45 million annually. The staffing changes follow a rejig at the top of the struggling digital music business last year that saw a new CEO brought in after satellite broadcaster Sirius XM took a significant stake in the company.

When Sirius bought into Pandora it bigged up the extensive reach of the personalised radio service's free-to-access platform, describing the loss-making streaming firm as "a leading player in the burgeoning digital audio advertising market".

That was despite Pandora's previous management focusing on diversifying the business so that it was less reliant on advertising income, partly through a short-lived dalliance in the ticketing sector, and partly by ramping up its subscription products.

Most agree that subscription streaming - while not yet a proven business model - has more potential for long-term profitability than ad-funded services, though by moving into that territory Pandora goes more directly up against competitors like Spotify and Apple Music.

Seeming to confirm that the new management are more focused on growing the core advertising side of the Pandora business, the company said that the latest restructure will also see an increased focus on advertising technology and audience development.

It's also hoped that further cost savings can me made by shifting more of its workforce to a base in Atlanta, where overheads are lower than at the company's headquarters in Oakland, California.

According to the Financial Times, Pandora's board approved the latest restructure on 11 Jan and affected employees were informed yesterday. The restructure should be pretty much completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.


Music industry urges new EU presidency to support safe harbour reform
A consortium of trade bodies representing the music, movie, TV, book and football industries has written to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria - so that'll be Boyko Borissov - to bring him up to speed on the everyone's favourite value gap campaign. Bulgaria has recently taken on the presidency of the European Union so will be leading the EU Council as the safe harbour reforming copyright directive goes through its final stages.

The music industry, which has generally been most proactive in pushing for safe harbour reform, is very well represented in the consortium of trade bodies, which includes a sufficient number of industry organisations that a whole extra page is required in the letter to accommodate all their logos. Among the music groups signed up are CIAM, CISAC, ECSA, GESAC, IAO, ICMP, IFPI, IMPALA and IMPF. There's a special prize for whoever knows what all those acronyms stand for.

The music industry - and other copyright owning sectors - all reckon that user-upload websites like (and principally) YouTube are exploiting the so called safe harbour in EU law in order to operate a streaming service that pays much lower royalties to rights owners. The hope is that the new copyright directive will increase the liabilities of big user-upload platforms, strengthening the negotiating hand of copyright owners looking to do licensing deals with such companies.

Article thirteen of the draft copyright directive has a good go at reforming the European copyright safe harbour, though opinion is divided as to quite how useful the initial draft would be for rights owners. Meanwhile lobbying has continued in Brussels to amend said article, with the music industry wanting it beefed up, and the tech sector pushing for an even more waffley approach so to render the reform useless.

With that game still in full swing, the music and other copyright industries want Borissov on side as a final draft of the directive is negotiated. Hence this week's letter, which declared that the so called value gap caused by the safe harbour is "a major problem which is holding back our sector and jeopardising future sustainability".

Referencing the initial draft of the copyright directive, the letter continued: "As an alliance we are convinced that the European Commission's proposal is a step in the right direction to provide for a balanced and effective solution that should clarify that ... [user-upload sites] who play an 'active role' (for instance by promotion or optimisation of content) cannot benefit from 'safe harbours'".

The letter adds: "It is important to recall that the underlying policy objective of this legislation is to address the current unfairness in the online market due to the misapplication of copyright liability rules by [user-upload services]. We would therefore like to stress that the focus should remain on finding effective solutions to tackle this issue".

Concluding, the alliance of trade groups said it looked forward "to working with your Presidency to achieve an effective solution to the value gap problem for the benefit of Europe". Yeah, let's make Europe great again.


Tencent launches joint venture label with Sony Music
The music division of Chinese web giant Tencent - which is both a music distributor and a streaming service operator - has announced a new alliance with Sony Music which will see the creation of a new dance music focused record label to be called Liquid State.

At launch, the new label's roster includes Chinese DJ Lizzy and Korean duo Junkilla, while Chinese American artist Zhu - who is signed to Sony's Columbia label - will also release music via the entity in China.

Tencent already has distribution partnerships in place with various Western record companies, including Sony Music, though this is the first time the firm has set up a joint venture label of this kind to sign new artists.

Tencent Music boss Cussion Pang says: "With the formation of Liquid State, our goal is to create an unmatched culture exchange between the East and the West through the power of electronic dance music".

Later this year, Tencent is expected to spin off its music company into a separate business via an initial public offering.


Sony/ATV signs Luke Laird
Country songwriter Luke Laird has signed a new worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV. He will also continue to work with his own publishing company, Creative Nation.

"It's a rare occasion when a publisher is able to secure both the hit-driven catalogue and the futures of a writer the quality of Luke Laird", says Sony/ATV Nashville President/CEO Troy Tomlinson. "We are grateful that he is entrusting his body of work with us and look forward to continuing success".

Laird himself adds: "I'm looking forward to working with Troy, Josh Van Valkenburg and the entire Sony/ATV team. They have a great history of working with songwriters who are heroes of mine and they will be the perfect complement to my team at Creative Nation".

With 23 US number one singles to his name, Laird has written songs for artists including Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Eric Church.


Universal places Charlie Walk on leave, as more accusations of sexual harassment emerge
Republic Records President Charlie Walk has been placed on leave by Universal Music and will not appear on the finale of TV singing competition 'The Four', as a further accusation of sexual harassment comes to light.

The initial allegation against Walk was made by former Sony/Columbia marketing exec Tristan Coopersmith earlier this week, relating to incidents that allegedly occurred when Walk worked at Sony Music. Two more women then spoke to Bob Lefsetz, at least one of whom had worked for the exec more recently at Universal's Republic division. Now more women have come forward describing their experiences with him.

Walk initially issued a statement saying that Coopersmith's claims were "untrue". However, in an email to Deadline, the latest woman to come forward says: "I cannot believe Charlie's claims that this story is false, when I worked for him at Republic ... to many of the same patterns. I was not planning to share mine, but if it helps clear Tristan's name (who I've never met) then I'm in".

She goes on to say that Walk made inappropriate comments while she worked with him at Republic. After being made redundant, she says that he sent her explicit photos of himself on Snapchat and invited her to join him at a hotel.

"I didn't work there anymore, which doesn't make it OK", she says. "But it does corroborate [Coopersmith's] story. Yes, he is a person who does these things. At the same time I was so upset. Is this why I got laid off? Did I get laid off so you could ask me to sleep with you? That's how I felt. It's a very shitty feeling".

Meanwhile, a former Republic intern, Alexandra Valenti, has written on Facebook about the culture fostered by Walk at the company. She wrote that one of the executive's subordinates made working their unpleasant, at times threatening to stop her career from progressing. She felt unable to complain because she suspected his actions were sanctioned by Walk.

"I went to work every single morning sick to my stomach and terrified", she writes. "I listened to that corner of the office objectify and ridicule women on a daily basis. I left that internship wanting to give up on my dreams of working in the industry".

Universal previously said that it would "review" Coopersmith's accusations, despite the alleged incidents not having taken place while Walk worked at the company. Yesterday, the major label announced that Walk "has been placed on leave, and will remain on leave for the duration of the investigation".

The company has asked all Republic employees with information on harassment by Walk or any other member of staff to speak to the independent law firm conducting the investigation.

Walk is also a judge on US TV singing competition 'The Four', which is currently airing its first series on the Fox network. He will now not appear on the finale episode, due to be broadcast next week.

In a statement to Fader, Walk says: "I do not want my presence to be a distraction. Needless to say this is very upsetting. Although I continue to support the 'me too' movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case, which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened. I welcome any investigation so that in short order these unfounded and hurtful accusations can be put to rest".


YouTube plays down talk of non-disparagement agreements
YouTube has played down reports that it includes non-disparagement agreements in contracts with specific artists. These would prevent said musicians from criticising the Google platform. Although the company admits that a small number of deals tied to original content or promotional work may include "general language around conduct".

Bloomberg recently cited sources who said that non-disparagement agreements had been included in certain deals YouTube had struck up directly with artists where the Google company was investing in content or marketing. The newswire conceded that such terms are common in business agreements, but noted that they weren't generally used by other streaming services that enter into partnerships with specific acts.

Responding to those reports, American artist lobbying group the Content Creators Coalition earlier this week called on the judiciary committees in US Congress to investigate the use of such non-disparagement agreements by YouTube in the context of the US Copyright Office's investigation into safe harbour reform. It argued Google was using its market dominance to silence possible critics in the music community.

Addressing the Congressional committees, the Coalition wrote: "Simply put, Google has abused its monopoly power to give artists pennies on the dollar and appears to be further abusing that power to buy the silence of artists who might otherwise speak out and draw public scrutiny to these practices. With jurisdiction over copyright and antitrust laws, the judiciary committees are uniquely situated to get to the bottom of these apparent abuses. We ask that you do so swiftly".

However, YouTube argues that non-disparagement agreements are not a routine part of its deals with content creators, and that the clauses cited by Bloomberg's sources relate to very specific partnership agreements.

A spokesperson for the video site told CMU: "We do not have clauses in our standard partner agreements with creators, labels and artists referencing disparagement. In rare instances when we align our brand more closely to a specific creator tied to new original content or one-off promotional work, we may ask them to sign an agreement that includes general language around conduct. This type of clause is often used in the entertainment industry and is intended to protect companies, not so much from the words an individual may express, but more so their actions, especially in today's times".

Of course, the vast majority of creators who upload content to YouTube do so under a standard agreement that makes no mention of non-disparagement. It's the small number of bespoke deals that include content production or promotional support that may or may not include that "general language around conduct".

Insiders say that if you count every single content partner on the YouTube platform, those bespoke deals account for less than 0.01% of the firm's creator agreements. Which means there are an awful lot of people distributing content on YouTube who are more than able to go round concurrently dissing the website. Though the company's critics in the music community may still argue that in that small number of bespoke deals are some notable performers whose support for the music industry's 'value gap' campaign would be useful.


Approved: Elohim
With a bulging catalogue of singles, a mini-album and a rapidly growing following behind her, singer-producer Elohim is set to release her debut album proper later this year. Kicking off her attack on 2018 is new single, 'Fuck Your Money'.

"I grew up with very little money", she says. "My parents put all of their focus on our wellbeing; learning the joy of music, feeding us organic food, and living a life full of love. We didn't have the fancy cars, the nice houses or expensive possessions".

"When my mom could feel my sadness as I discovered we were 'different' from other families, she'd remind me, 'we are rich with love'", Elohim goes on. "I didn't fully grasp the incredible importance of those words until recently. Love has become my main focus in life and I now know how priceless it truly is".

She continues: "A couple of months ago I drove past my childhood home and started singing 'I got love, fuck your money' out loud. It all came to me. I began to form the verses, chorus and instrumental melodies in the car. I got home, showered and couldn't stop singing it".

"I jumped out in the middle of my shower to make a voice note still covered in soap", she adds. "When I finished my shower I drove straight to the studio to produce and finish the song. When your music and lyrics are coming from a deep genuine place they pour out of you like a faucet you can't stop".

Listen to 'Fuck Your Money' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss releases protest song against drilling in US national parks
Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss has released a solo single protesting US President Donald Trump's decision to reduce the size of two national parks - Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, both in Utah - in order to allow drilling for oil and gas on the land.

Released as Alexis Krauss And The Our Land Collective, the track 'Our Land' also features contributions from Karen O, Maggie Rogers, Edward Sharpe, Sunflower Bean, documentary maker Josh Fox, rock climber Renan Ozturk, and more.

"Inspired by my love of wild spaces and in response to President Trump's assault on our national monuments, I wrote 'Our Land' as a protest song", says Krauss. "The song led to a collaborative recording session and quickly developed into a film project, in partnership with professional photographer/producer Chris Vultaggio. Chris and I set out for Utah in efforts to expand the project and tell the story of Bears Ears and its people".

She continues: "From deep canyons to towering mesas we were captivated by the overwhelming beauty of these threatened lands. However, the struggle is about more than just protecting breathtaking views, it is about respecting and conserving thousands of years of Native American history and culture. These lands are sacred not just because they are rich in archaeological heritage, but because they are a living breathing landscape actively relied upon as a source for sustaining a way of life: food harvesting, medicine gathering, grazing, wood hauling, spiritual healing, and communing with ancestry".

Turning to the decision to reduce the areas of land protected, she concludes: "The current administration sees fit to trade these lands for resource extraction. Native communities are contending with yet another threat, not only to their lands but to their health, well-being, and way of life. This is but one more humiliation to bear by an already beleaguered people, sadly all too familiar with systemic abuse and institutionalised exploitation. We've joined this cause to support those on the front lines of this fight and to amplify the millions of dissenting voices that are already shouting to be heard".

Listen to 'Our Land' here.


Anna Burch announces UK tour dates
Anna Burch has announced UK tour dates for May, to follow the release of her debut album 'Quit The Curse' on 2 Mar.

Alongside the tour dates, Burch has also released the album's title track, telling Noisey: "I don't usually share personal anecdotes when it comes to lyrics because I don't just want to be the girl who's talking about the boy".

She goes on: "When I say, 'you think I'm cursed', it was because I got a text one time from a person I was seeing that said, 'I was hanging out with this girl and she read my love horoscope and apparently two Cancers are cursed'. People fucking love astrology. I sort of flirt with that stuff but very casually. I guess Cancers are notorious whiners too".

Listen to 'Quit The Curse' here.

Here are those tour dates:

6 May: Manchester, Sounds From The Other City
7 May: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
8 May: Glasgow, Hug & Pint
9 May: London, Old Blue Last
20 May: Leeds, Gold Sounds Festival
21 May: Bristol, Crofters Rights


Lovebox, Spotify, Chvrches, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• London's Lovebox and Citadel festivals - which were set to relocate from Victoria Park to Brockwell Park this summer - seemingly got on the wrong tube line and will now take place in West London at Gunnersbury Park. Objections had been raised by some local residents about the increase of big events in Brockwell Park, hence the change. On the upside, the leader of Ealing Council is "delighted" about Lovebox heading west instead.

• Talking of the increase of big events in Brockwell Park, having got itself on the right tube line, the Field Day festival has confirmed that it will definitely move to the South London site this summer. Rumours of its move from Victoria Park first emerged last year. The event will take place on 1-2 Jun.

• Spotify is testing out a new standalone personalised radio app, called Stations. It is currently only available for Android devices in Australia though.

• Chvrches have released new single 'Get Out'. The track was produced by Greg Kurstin, of whom the band say: "Working with Greg was so different to what we'd done before, but it also felt so comfortable and like he'd been in our band forever".

• Mike Skinner has released another new Streets track, 'If You Ever Need To Talk, I'm Here'.

• Fugazi rhythm section Brendan Canty and Joe Lally have announced the debut album by their new band with guitarist Anthony Pirog, The Messthetics. The eponymous record will be out on 23 Mar. From it, this is 'Serpent Tongue'.

• Tokimonsta has released the video for 'I Wish I Could' from her 2017 album 'Lune Rouge'. It was "the very first song I was able to complete" following brain surgery in 2015, she says.

• Ahead of the release of new album 'Microshift' this Friday, Hookworms have released the video for one of its tracks, 'Each Time We Pass'.

• Wye Oak have announced that they will release new album 'The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs', on 6 Apr. They'll also be playing three UK shows in May. Here's the album's title track.

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Left Shark speaks
With Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl halftime show fast approaching, it's time to take a look back at past disasters during American football's big bash. Yeah, you'd think I was talking about the last time Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl. But no, I'm talking about that time they let Katy Perry do it and she failed to control her shark.

Three years ago, Perry performed on stage with two dancers dressed as sharks. One of them, dubbed Left Shark, seemed to go rogue. Many went so far as to suggest he didn't know his dance moves at all. Not so, says the dancer behind the phenomenon.

Despite being previously identified as the man in the costume, Bryan Gaw avoided requests to speak publicly at the time about his defining moment in entertainment. Three years later, and now no longer a professional dancer, he's ready to talk. It's probably the first time he's been asked about it in a while too.

Speaking to NPR, he denied that he failed to remember what he was supposed to be doing back during that Perry set, saying: "[While] there's a set choreography, there's also what's called freestyle choreography, or, like, you get to move around or play your character as a dancer ... I'm in a seven-foot blue shark costume. There's no cool in that. So what's the other option? Well, I'm gonna play a different character".

In developing this new shark character, Gaw says he rehearsed his moves thinking of Left Shark as an underdog just trying his best. However, what seemed slightly silly in a small rehearsal studio, was then magnified once placed on a brightly coloured stage in the middle of an American football field. Left Shark became King Underdog.

Concerned that his antics were drawing attention away from Perry and her big moment, he says he chose not to speak publicly about what had happened at the time. But that doesn't mean he was shying away from the moment, which - he adds - has only been a positive thing for him. "I don't get any negative feedback from it", he says. "If anything, people are, like, 'Whoa, that's so cool!'"

Despite Gaw's three year silence, Left Shark did pretty much draw all the attention away from Perry's show at the time. I mean, what else do you remember about that performance? Nothing. Actually, I remember Perry's dress and the desert island stage set. But only because I have seen them in pictures of Left Shark.

Realising that something bigger than her was growing after the Super Bowl show, Perry attempted to claim ownership of Left Shark, which led to one of the finest exchanges of pedantic legal letters ever recorded.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email (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 (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, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email 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.
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