TODAY'S TOP STORY: After years of planning and months of careful negotiations in Congress, America's Music Modernization Act yesterday landed on the desk of President Donald Trump to be signed into law. With his ink now very much on the page, this major round of copyright reform Stateside can actually begin... [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.
This five part guide provides an overview of how new artists go about building a fanbase and the basics of label-led album marketing campaigns. Part One - online now - runs through what's in the music marketing toolkit. [READ MORE]
This three part CMU Trends guide provides a beginner's guide to music copyright and the music rights business. In it, we cover ownership, controls and licensing, and review key trends in streaming, physical, sync and public performance. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES MMA signed into law, and then Kanye West waffled
LEGAL Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland sentenced to six years in prison
DEALS Du Blonde signs to Moshi Moshi
EDUCATION & EVENTS Music journalist survey results to be shared at CMU Insights music PR seminar
RELEASES Gold Panda and Simian Mobile Disco collaborate on Selling
Sasami announces first single for Domino
ONE LINERS Kobalt, Leonard Cohen, Adam Lambert, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #425: Taylor Swift v Politics
CMU Insights is our training and consultancy business providing training courses, conference sessions and research reports for music companies.
Part of the 'Building A Fanbase & Fan Business' seminar series
This two hour seminar on Monday 15 Oct puts the focus on music media and music PR, plus the results of the most recent CMU Insights journalist survey. Tickets are just £49.99. [READ MORE]
A new five part seminar series starting Tuesday 2 Oct
The Music Managers Forum has teamed up with CMU Insights to present a new five part training programme exploring best practice and current trends in artist management. [READ MORE]
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MMA signed into law, and then Kanye West waffled
After years of planning and months of careful negotiations in Congress, America's Music Modernization Act yesterday landed on the desk of President Donald Trump to be signed into law. With his ink now very much on the page, this major round of copyright reform Stateside can actually begin.

As the final stage of making the MMA law took place, several of the people who played a key role in campaigning for the legislation, and in bringing all the different stakeholders on board, weren't in attendance, seemingly because they weren't invited or - in some cases - had had their invites withdrawn at the last minute. But two of the key players, David Israelite from the National Music Publishers Association and Chris Harrison from the Digital Media Association, were there to see the act over its final hurdle.

A bunch of artists were also invited for the big MMA signing, some friends of the Trump, others long-time advocates of copyright reform. Having reps from the artist community present seemed important, given that artists and songwriters should be key beneficiaries of the MMA if it is implemented correctly, it seeking to ensure that they get paid more (or at all) by various regular users of their music. The fact that the artists present yesterday were mainly old white men was disappointing but unsurprising given the current administration in Washington.

It had been thought that your old mate Kanye West would also be in attendance, him also being scheduled in for a more general chinwag with the Trump yesterday. In the end West didn't make the MMA moment, but arrived a little later and proceeded to waffle on inanely about all sorts of rubbish for ten very long minutes in front of a bemused President and a confused press pack who had all gathered in the Oval Office. As the waffling went on, you started to wonder whether something shouldn't have been inserted into the MMA that ensures certain artists actually get paid less.

Either way, the MMA is now law and that is a good thing. The copyright reforming act will set up a mechanical rights collecting society in the US for the first time. It's hoped that that new society will mean all music publishers and songwriters get all the royalties they are due from the streaming services. It should also bring to an end the string of multi-million dollar lawsuits against digital music firms which didn't know who to pay for the songs they had streamed.

The MMA will also end the stupid pre-1972 quirk in the way royalties are paid to artists and labels by online and satellite radio set-ups. And it will alter - to the music industry's advantage - the way the Copyright Royalty Board and the US rate courts work out what are fair royalties to be paid in both compulsory and BMI/ASCAP negotiated licences.

As the MMA finally became law yesterday an assortment of music industry organisations issued their customary statements welcoming the move. The statements were, in the main boring and predictable, though after listening to West waffle on about all sorts of nonsense for ten minutes, boring and predictable has a new appeal. Here are some of them...

National Music Publishers Association CEO David Israelite: "The Music Modernization Act is finally the law of the land. We are incredibly grateful for the members of Congress who passed the MMA and the President for signing it. Songwriters have for too long laboured without seeing fair rates and receiving all that they deserve, and for the first time in history, the music industry has partnered with the tech industry to fix these systemic problems. As we embark on supporting and helping build the critical structures within the MMA, we are humbled by the extraordinary progress propelled by compromise and the unprecedented political involvement of music creators. Today is about their future and this bill stands as a great statement on what can be done when we work together".

Digital Media Association CEO Chris Harrison: "The MMA finally brings our music licensing laws into the 21st century and ensures greater transparency and efficiency across the entire music ecosystem. This historic legislation has been a decade in the making. DiMA, and its streaming member companies, are proud to have spearheaded this process from start to finish. Working together with our industry partners and lawmakers, we believe the creation of a new, modern system will provide better clarity and benefit publishers, songwriters, artists, record labels, and digital services ".

Bosses of the Association Of Independent Music Publishers: "[The MMA] marks the first significant federal [copyright] legislation since 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act to address the needs of rights-holders in today's online age. We can look forward to a variety of long-overdue reforms that will make it easier to negotiate for and collect fair royalty rates while also establishing once and for all that digital services must pay for the use of pre-1972 recordings. In addition, it ensures independent publishers and songwriters a seat at the table for the new mechanical licensing collective ".

Michael Huppe, CEO of US recording industry collecting society SoundExchange: "With today's signing of the Music Modernization Act, we mark a historic accomplishment. But more importantly, we mark what it means. For creators, it means getting paid more fairly. For those who recorded music before 1972, it means assurance you'll get paid for your work. For songwriters, publishers and producers it means making the digital economy work for you. SoundExchange's 170,000-member community was a driving force in getting the bill from the halls of Congress to the White House. When the music industry speaks with one voice, Congress listens. I urge you to stay active because there is much more work to be done before we can truly say all music creators are treated fairly".

Elizabeth Matthews, CEO of one of America's song right collecting societies ASCAP: "Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of our ASCAP music creator and publisher members, industry partners and champions in Congress, a more sustainable future for songwriters is finally within reach. The MMA's unanimous passage in the House and Senate proves that the power of music is a great unifier. ASCAP is gratified to have stood alongside creators, music publishers, and many more to make this dream a reality".

And here, if you like, is Kanye's contribution.


Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland sentenced to six years in prison
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has been sentenced to six years in prison, after pleading guilty to fraud charges relating to the failed event. It's a pretty good result - he had been facing up to 40 years and was at one point hoping for ten as the result of a plea deal.

The festival, of course, was marketed as being a luxury event in the Bahamas, with ticket prices to match. However, when ticketholders arrived on the island hosting the thing, they found that provisions for even a basic music festival were not in place, while artists had already begun to pull out. Following the event's collapse, McFarland was sued by ticket-buyers, suppliers and investors, and then accused of criminal conduct.

In March this year, he pleaded guilty to two charges of wire fraud, both of which carried maximum sentences of 20 years. He was found to have defrauded investors in the Fyre Festival to the tune of $24 million. Then in June he was arrested and charged with two more counts of fraud, having been found to have been selling fake tickets to high profile events while on bail, cheating around 30 people out of at least $150,000. Although he initially denied those new allegations, the following month he entered another guilty plea.

According to the New York Times, McFarland delivered a lengthy statement in court before his sentencing, during which he admitted: "I know that I betrayed the trust of my investors, my customers, my family. This is an extremely bitter reality".

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of at least eleven years, saying that McFarland is "the consummate con artist" who "betrayed and deceived his investors, customers, and employees while he was living the high life at his luxury apartment, traveling to exclusive locales, staying at luxury hotels, being chauffeured in his Maserati, and entertaining himself and his friends at restaurants, bars, and casinos".

McFarland's lawyers said that their client had genuinely attempted to use the money he had raised to put on the failed event. Things had unravelled, they claimed, in part due to undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

Sentencing, judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said - according to Vice News - that this did not excuse his behaviour, adding: "It is my conclusion based on all the submissions that the defendant is a serial fraudster and that to date his fraud, like a circle, has no ending".

She added that he "has been dishonest most of his life" and was "unique in this court's memory", as someone who had committed further crimes while out on bail.

However, the sentence was not as harsh as it might have been. Allowing sentences on each charge to be served concurrently, he was given six years in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to return over $26 million to those he defrauded, although it is not clear how much, if any, of this sum he actually has.

Meanwhile, McFarland is still fighting many of those aforementioned civil lawsuits.


Du Blonde signs to Moshi Moshi
Beth Jeans Houghton has signed to Moshi Moshi to release her second album as Du Blonde. 'Lung Bread For Daddy' will arrive in February.

"I know exactly what I want my record to sound like and apart from drums, I have the ability to play all the instruments, so I did", says Houghton of the new record. "My lyrics are always autobiographical. I have to be able identify with what I'm singing, and telling my story is therapeutic".

The first song from the album, 'Buddy', is out now. You can watch the spaghetti-heavy video here. She will also be on tour with Nadine Shah in December, followed by headline shows in February, which are as follows:

19 Feb: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds 2
20 Feb: Glasgow, Broadcast
21 Feb: Manchester, Yes
22 Feb: Newcastle, The Cluny
24 Feb: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
25 Feb: Bristol, The Crofters Rights
26 Feb: London, The Lexington


Music journalist survey results to be shared at CMU Insights music PR seminar
The CMU Insights seminar series 'Building A Fanbase & A Fan Business' continues next week with a session on 'Music Media & PR'. This seminar provides an overview of the music media in 2018, including the music press, radio, TV, YouTube channels and streaming service playlists. It then discusses how music marketing campaigns are commonly structured and provides plenty of tips on approaching media, the latter based on the survey of music journalists CMU Insights undertook last year.

Says CMU Insights MD and course leader Chris Cooke: "Whether you're a major record company or a DIY artist, whenever you contact decision makers in the media you are competing to be heard over hundreds of other people trying to get their releases noticed on the same day. Of the music journalists we surveyed last year, a quarter were getting over 1000 emails pitching new music every week. In the seminar we discuss some ways you can try to stand out and also how initial coverage can help you get the next coverage".

The 'Music Media & PR' seminar takes place at the London HQ of Lewis Silkin on Monday at 6.30pm. Tickets are just £49.99 including VAT and booking fee and are available here.

Also next week, CMU Insights teams up with the Music Managers Forum to present the second edition of the all new 'Mechanics Of Music Management' training programme. Called 'Artist & Management Business Models', this session on Tuesday looks at how both artists and managers can structure their businesses and manage their finances. It will also feature a guest lecture from Remi Harris on raising finance. The 'Mechanics Of Music Management' sessions take place at PPL HQ every other Tuesday at 6pm. Tickets here.

Finally, don't forget CMU:DIY teams up once again with the Featured Artists Coalition on Sunday 21 Oct to present another edition of the Artist:Entrepreneur Day in Manchester. Artist entrepreneurs Roxanne De Bastion, Lisbee Stainton and Jack Gourlay will open up their individual artist businesses, CMU:DIY's Chris Cooke will discuss the different ways artists make money, and a team of industry experts will offer practical tips and advice for early-career artists and future industry talent. Info and tickets here.


Vigsy's Club Tip: System 7 at Under The Bridge
Live techno band System 7 play Fulham venue Under The Bridge tonight. An audio-visual treat, the band will have a nine metre LED screen as their backdrop, as they play two full sets, one as System 7 and another in their ambient Mirror System guise, performing new album 'Café Seven'.

Joining them will be DJ Calemma and DJ Josko, both of whom will turn in two sets to keep the night flowing. Looks set to be an amazing night out in this West London venue.

Saturday 13 Oct, Under The Bridge, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS, 8pm-2am, £18. More info here.

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

Gold Panda and Simian Mobile Disco collaborate on Selling
Derwin Dicker, aka Gold Panda, and Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco, have announced a new project called Selling. They will be, well, selling their first album together, 'On Reflection', from 14 Dec.

"Selling was made for fun, really as an excuse to get Derwin to come to my house and drink tea", says Shaw. "I like to think that enjoyment is audible in the record. I have always enjoyed how natural and unschooled Derwin's approach to music is. I know that sounds like some sort of veiled insult but it's not at all, electronic music is littered with well constructed, sensibly arranged tracks that follow a logical harmonic theme, almost all of that music can get fucked".

Dicker adds: "I've always been a solo artist ... when you work on your own, you're highly critical of what you make because it's all yours, and there's no one else to enjoy it with. It can feel like work very quickly. [The Selling album is] the most immediate and natural record I've ever made. I never thought I would be a collaboration person, but I guess it's finding the right person to make a record with".

The first single from the album, 'Keeping Txme', is out now. Have a watch of the video here.


Sasami announces first single for Domino
Domino has signed former Cherry Glazerr member Sasami to a new record deal. She will release a double A-side seven-inch, featuring new songs 'Callous' and 'Not The Time', on 26 Oct.

"'Not The Time' and 'Callous' are basically entries in the diary that is my first record of songs", she explains. "Maybe it's a mix of a diary and a collection of letters; written but never sent, to people I've been intimately involved with in one way or another. OK, maybe they're more like over-dramatic drafts of texts that you compose in the Notes section of your iPhone, but either way they come from a place of getting something off my chest".

She continues: "I wrote both of these songs on tour on a guitar on my iPad with GarageBand plugins and Moog 15 app sounds and then re-recorded them in the studio onto tape with really great tones. So it's kind of like emotionally scribbling a letter on a tear and snot-stained napkin and then re-writing it on fancy papyrus paper to make it look like you have your shit together".

Listen to 'Not The Time' here.

Sasami will play a handful of shows in the UK next month. Here are the dates:

1 Nov: London, The Shacklewell Arms
2 Nov: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
3 Nov: Bristol, Rough Trade


Kobalt, Leonard Cohen, Adam Lambert, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Kobalt's AWAL has promoted Matt Riley to the job of VP, A&R. In his new job he will oversee the firm's UK A&R team. "Stellar", remarks AWAL President Paul Hitchman.

• Leonard Cohen is trolling Kanye West from beyond the grave.

• Adam Lambert and Meghan Trainor will be among the people to provide voice acting services to 'Playmobil: The Movie'. I know we all thought 'The Lego Movie' seemed like a terrible idea when we first heard about it, but seriously, 'Playmobil: The Movie'?

• Stormzy has announced a live event for his newly launched #Merky Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Taking place at the Barbican, speakers will include Akala, Chelsea Kwayke and Jude Yawson. Details here.

• Sega Bodega will screen a series of short films created for tracks on his new EP, 'Self*care', at the Castle Cinema in East London on 23 Oct. "I love creating visuals for my music but I didn't want to just commission music videos for this project", says the producer. "I wanted to invite filmmakers to interpret the theme with complete freedom. My music becomes the soundtrack". Here's a trailer, and you can get yourself on the guestlist here.

• REM have released a video of them performing 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)' at Glastonbury way back in 1999. The performance will appear on their new compilation, 'REM At The BBC', out next week.

• Little Mix are back with a new single, 'Woman Like Me', which features Nicki Minaj.

• Run The Jewels have released new track 'Let's Go (The Royal We)', taken from the soundtrack of new movie 'Venom'.

• Charli XCX and Troye Sivan have released the video for their new single '1999'.

• Would you like to see the video for Razorlight's new single 'Carry Yourself'? OK, well here it is anyway.

• Culture Club have released new track 'God & Love'. "The song is a call to action", says Boy George. "Show me your love and actually do something spiritual and inspiring!"

• Ellen Allien has released the video for recently released track 'Take A Stand'.

• Jaakko Eino Kalevi has released the video for new single 'This World'. The track is taken from his new album, 'Out Of Touch', which is out tomorrow.

• Roses Gabor is back with new single 'Roses'.

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


Beef Of The Week #425: Taylor Swift v Politics
Taylor Swift wrote something on Instagram at the beginning of this week, and my if it hasn't been the talk of the town ever since. All she did was say who she plans to vote for in the upcoming US mid-term elections, and then urge others to make their own informed decisions when voting.

In a lengthy Instagram caption, Swift explained that she would not be voting for sitting Republican congresswoman Marsha Blackburn in her home state of Tennessee.

This decision was based on Blackburn's voting record, she said, writing: "Her voting record in Congress appals and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values".

Instead, she said that she would be voting for Democrat candidates Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House Of Representatives, adding: "Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values".

This was all significant because Swift's political affiliations have been subject of much scrutiny in the past. She, however, has been reluctant to date to explicitly nail her flag to any mast. Instead, she's only given coded hints at what her views might be. For example, during the 2016 presidential election, she posted a picture of herself in a queue to vote wearing a top that looked like one Hillary Clinton once wore.

Even in this new post, there are coded messages. She doesn't mention president Donald Trump or Clinton by name - although she does note that she has "in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office".

The sense that Swift has political opinions but has chosen not to share them has frustrated many in recent years, particularly since that jumper incident. In 2017, The Guardian published an editorial declaring that her "silence is striking" in the context of other musicians lining up to denounce Trump. It went on to conclude that she "seems not simply a product of the age of Trump, but a musical envoy for the president's values".

Bit harsh. She is, after all, perfectly entitled not to air her personal opinions on any matter. And it's not like celebrities sharing their political views is something routinely welcomed by the general public. As a musician who crossed over from country into pop, she's no doubt aware of what happened to The Dixie Chicks.

She referenced all this in her Instagram post, saying: "In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now".

She went on: "I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of colour is terrifying, sickening and prevalent".

By not previously airing her opinions, others have been able to make assumptions about what they might be. And another thing that her post also seems to make coded reference to is the weird 'alt-right' cult that has built up around her. Since before the 2016 election, some on the far right have also reached the same conclusions to that Guardian editorial.

She has been called an "Aryan goddess" pushing a white supremacist agenda through her songs by far right blog The Daily Stormer, according to Vice's Broadly. It predicted that she was waiting for a time she felt safe to announce her true political views. They were right about that, but not about the views she'd announce.

The blog previously said: "It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world. Probably, she will be betrothed to Trump's son, and they will be crowned American royalty".

Her continued coyness in the political domain did nothing to counter or stop the spread of these theories in recent years. Nor the regular right-wing interpretations of her lyrics. Nor the accusations of racism.

Swift finally and explicitly distancing herself from the alt-right conspiracy theorists, and stating her views in general, drew praise from many. Although she, of course, came in for criticism too. On both sides, some suggested that Swift was attempting to throw the upcoming election in favour of the Democrats.

Former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, tweeted that Swift "has every right to be political but it won't impact election unless we allow thirteen old girls to vote". Although as Swift is already almost fifteen years into her career, he may find that not to be the case, she having a fanbase somewhat wider than he seems to think. After all, the 72 year old Donald Trump is a fan. Less of a fan now, but still a fan.

Asked for his view on Swift's political comments this week, he said he didn't know what she'd said, but after being given the gist, he confirmed that he likes her "music about 25% less now".

He also said that he was "sure Taylor Swift doesn't know anything about" Marsha Blackburn. Although, had he read the Instagram post before commenting, he would be aware of Swift's detailed breakdown of Blackburn's voting record. You kind of hope politicians will do their research before commenting on things. But then, Donald Trump isn't really a politician. Either way, finding out that she doesn't support one of his team only affected Trump's fandom by 25%, which suggests he's still pretty into her music.

Elsewhere, though, there were fans for whom Swift's political remarks had had a much bigger impact on their fandom. Some took to social media to announce that they were now planning to destroy any of her CDs and merch that were in their possession. Not least because they felt that she'd tricked them into believing that she was a Republican, only for it to turn out that she's in favour of equal rights for all and shit like that.

The other elephant in the room, if you want, is Kanye West. Swift emerges as a Democrat just as West is doubling down on his support for Trump. As well as using his recent appearance on 'Saturday Night Live' to firmly give his backing to the president, last night he had a slightly weird love in with Trump himself at the White House.

It may be wishful thinking to suggest that Swift has decided to go public on politics now just to be the anti-Kanye. The timing is right for that theory, but then there are elections looming. If anyone's going to talk politics, now is the time. Still, that time he interrupted her MTV Music Video Awards acceptance speech in 2009 remains a sticking point for many, nearly a decade later. Her too? Maybe. Maybe we'll get a definitive answer if West makes good on his threats to run for the Presidency himself.

Going back to Swift's Instagram post, it's worth noting that she doesn't actually come down in favour of any one political party overall. She says that she's voting against one specific politician for a number of specific reasons. "For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway", she says. She doesn't rule out voting Republican in the future.

The key thrust of her post was actually urging people to vote, whatever their affiliation. And to do so after making themselves aware of the facts.

Buzzfeed subsequently claimed that Swift's post had "caused a massive spike in voter registration". A spokesperson for said: "We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24 hour period since T Swift's post". Which means that in one day in October the number of new voters registering was about a third of the number who registered in the whole of September. And 7000 more than the total number of registrations in August.

That is pretty impressive. Although did then admit that it couldn't be certain Swift was behind the entire spike. It said in a new statement to Slate: "Can it be attributed to Swift? Not directly, unfortunately. We're only able to track registrations directly if we work with someone in advance and they use a special link". But it did then say that registrations this month have been unusually high. Still, this is an unusual presidency and people are unusually concerned with politics.

Bolstered by her new status as a political musician, Swift used her appearance at the American Music Awards this week to again tell everyone how great voting can be. Accepting the Artist Of The Year prize, she said: "Every single time this happens it represents encouragement and motivation for me to be better, work harder, and try and make you guys proud. [I want to] mention the fact that this award, and every single award given out tonight, were voted on by the people. And you know what else is voted on by the people? The midterm elections on 6 Nov - get out and vote. I love you guys".

We'll see in a few weeks what the outcome of the mid-terms is. If there's a massive swing towards the Democrats in Congress, many will probably attribute it to Swift. Although doing so will sort of discount everything else that's happened in the last couple of years (not to mention the last couple of weeks).


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.
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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.
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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.
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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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