TUESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: As an assortment of COVID-19 lockdown measures go back into effect in numerous places across the UK, the Musicians' Union has said that a third of the music-makers it recently surveyed said they are now considering abandoning their music careers entirely as a result of the financial hardship caused by the pandemic... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES A third of music-makers now considering quitting the music industry as a result of COVID says MU
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LEGAL Donald Trump says he'll only approve TikTok deal if Oracle is in control of the app
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DEALS Concord signs Jake Gosling
Sentric forms publishing joint venture with management firm Prolifica

Reach Music announces deal with producer Young Fyre

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ARTIST NEWS Northern Irish political parties unite in criticism of Van Morrison
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ONE LINERS Susan Rogers, Fleet Foxes, Skepta, more
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AND FINALLY... The Pirate Bay renews main domain name to 2030 after lapsed URLs sell at auction
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Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
   
SENTRIC MUSIC - COPYRIGHT ADMINISTRATION, NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking for a Copyright Administrator to assist its artists and catalogue owners with the administration of their recording copyrights.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
MUSIC MANAGEMENT COMPANY - ARTIST & MANAGEMENT PA (LONDON)
A London-based established artist management company has a position available for an enthusiastic and organised candidate. Suitable candidates must have a minimum of two years' similar experience in the music or entertainment industry.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
MATERIAL - RECORD LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Material is focused on building outstanding artists and music brands, mainly in the electronic space. To aid in the expansion of our growing roster of artists and brands we are seeking an exceptional Record Label Manager to manage the day-to-day activity as well as ongoing strategy of our record labels and associated artists.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
DOUBLE SIX RIGHTS MANAGEMENT - CLIENT REPORTOIRE ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Double Six Rights Management is seeking a self-motivated and driven individual to support with the day-to-day operation of the company and to help maximise revenues for both record label and performer clients.

For more information and to apply click here.

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DIGITAL MUSIC IN EMERGING MARKETS
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Markets like China, India, Russia, South Korea and Brazil have played a key role in the revival of the record industry's fortunes, while markets in Africa are set to become increasingly important in the years ahead. Which services and what models dominate in these countries?
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We all know playlists drive a lot of plays on the streaming services, with playlister pitching now a key part of any music marketing campaign. But how do streaming service playlists work? And how is the evolution of playlist curation impacting on the future of music marketing?
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The biggest impact digital has had on music is the direct-to-fan relationship – but are artists and their business partners truly realising the potential of D2F? This webinar explains how data and digital tools can be used to drive extra revenue for each artist business.
TOP FIVE MUSIC INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS IN 2020
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In a year dominated by the impact of COVID-19, what have been the key developments in the wider music industry in 2020? As the live industry restarts, what will it look like? And what impact will the challenges of 2020 have long-term on all the other strands of the music industry?
TOP FIVE STREAMING DEVELOPMENTS IN 2020
Tuesday 10 Nov | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
While the streaming boom continues, led by Spotify-style services, the digital music market is diversifying again. New streaming products and business models present both challenges and opportunities, while lingering questions about Spotify-style streaming increasingly need to be answered.
TOP FIVE COPYRIGHT DEVELOPMENTS IN 2020
Tuesday 17 Nov | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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A third of music-makers now considering quitting the music industry as a result of COVID says MU
As an assortment of COVID-19 lockdown measures go back into effect in numerous places across the UK, the Musicians' Union has said that a third of the music-makers it recently surveyed said they are now considering abandoning their music careers entirely as a result of the financial hardship caused by the pandemic.

That financial hardship is due to increase in the next month, of course, as general schemes from the UK government that provided financial support to employees and the self-employed during the initial COVID lockdown come to an end.

A third of the musicians surveyed by the MU didn't actually qualify for that support in the first place, often because they are self-employed but didn't fit the specific definition of self-employed used by the COVID support scheme. Of those that did qualify, 87% said that the end of the support schemes will result in increased financial hardship in the months ahead.

Although some musicians have seen some of their work return as lockdown rules were relaxed over the summer - a shift which, for example, allowed some studio and teaching work to resume - 70% of those surveyed said that at least three quarters of their usual work is currently on hold.

And the aforementioned reintroduction of some lockdown rules in some areas will likely further worsen that situation. As a result of all that, nearly half of those surveyed by the MU have had to seek work outside the music industry to make ends meet and, as noted, a third are considering quitting the music industry completely.

Commenting on the survey, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge said: "These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and are at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5 billion music industry with their talent. One artist's gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too".

On the back of the survey, the MU has again called for a new sector-specific financial support scheme to be introduced for those people still unable to return to work because of COVID measures. Concurrent to that, Trubridge said, the government could also provide financial support for those businesses trying to get live events going again while adhering to current social distancing rules.

He went on: "We appreciate all the government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now. With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. We are calling on the government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues' potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry".

"Getting musicians back to work is the priority", he concluded. "However, this is simply not realistic for so many of our members while social distancing remains in place. We strongly urge the government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in and to provide sector specific financial support for musicians".

The exact nature and extent of the COVID measures about to be reintroduced across the UK are still not really known. Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson will make a statement on the matter this evening, which - if past such statements are anything to go by - should nicely confuse things further until people process the accompanying formal documents and guidance.

We do know that a 10pm curfew will be in place for pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses as of this Thursday, for reasons no one is quite sure of, given that - assuming those businesses are adhering to social distancing rules - it's surely better that people hang out there than head home pissed for a post-pub house party. Though the government insists that where it has tested such a curfew it proved an effective way of reducing the spread of the virus.

Either way, for those nighttime businesses that have found a commercially viable way to operate while adhering to the current social distancing rules, having to now also adhere to the curfew will likely be problematic. Or, in the words of the boss of the Night Time Industries Association, a "devastating blow".

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said this morning: "This announcement of a 10pm curfew for hospitality is yet another devastating blow to the already beleaguered night-time economy, struggling to survive and in desperate need of sector-specific financial support from the government. This curfew will lead to the demise of many of our most beloved cultural and entertainment venues".

"Businesses in the night-time economy are both shocked and disappointed by the government's continued targeting of restrictions on late-night venues and bars, partially open at a fraction of their capacity, when they have admitted that the majority of transmission takes place in households", he went on.

"As a result of this measure, we foresee a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues".

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Donald Trump says he'll only approve TikTok deal if Oracle is in control of the app
The TikTok saga in the US continues to twist and turn, with Donald Trump now saying that he could as yet scupper the deal designed to halt the President's executive order banning use of the video-sharing app within America.

That deal aims to allay concerns in Washington that, because TikTok is owned by Chinese company Bytedance, the Chinese government has access to the app's global audience and user-data.

Crucial to the plan is a new partnership with US technology firm Oracle, which will take a stake in and provide services to a TikTok Global company which will, in turn, operate the TikTok app on a global basis (excluding China, where the app operates as Douyin).

Given that some expected TikTok to seek to halt Trump's big ban by spinning off its US operations entirely to a new company wholly owned by US investors, the deal it has done with Oracle isn't actually that radical.

Bytedance will continue to own 80% of TikTok Global, while the core technology and algorithm that drives the TikTok experience will remain owned by the main Bytedance company.

However, TikTok points out that 40% of the main Bytedance company is owned by US investors anyway. With the likes of Oracle and Walmart taking the other 20% of the TikTok Global company, technically that business will be more than 50% owned by non-Chinese institutions. Plus the plan is to IPO the TikTok Global company within a year and that will happen on a US stock exchange.

Both Bytedance and Oracle also stress that by having Oracle get involved on the technology side, it - a good old fashioned American business headed up by a Trump supporter - will ensure that the pesky Chinese government doesn't have any access to American users or user-data.

At the weekend Trump said that the proposed deal had his blessing and officials in the US commerce department postponed the aforementioned ban, which was due to kick in on Sunday.

However, some confusion seems to remain as to the specifics of the deal, and how much control Bytedance and Oracle will respectively have over the TikTok business in the US in terms of operational and management decision making.

Keen to stress that by blessing TikTok's proposal he's not kowtowing to the Chinese government, Trump yesterday told Fox News that under the proposed arrangement Bytedance will "have nothing to do" with TikTok in the US, adding "and if they do, we just won't make the deal".

He went on: "It's going to be controlled, totally controlled by Oracle, and I guess they're going public and they're buying out the rest of it - they're buying out a lot, and if we find that they don't have total control then we're not going to approve the deal".

It has to be said, the arrangement described by Bytedance last week does not make it sound like Oracle will have "total control" over TikTok in the US.

And while "total control" is possibly slightly open to interpretation, Bytedance is in the challenging position that it can't even really spin the proposed deal in a way that makes it sound like it meets Trump's "total control" demand, because of political pressure back home in China.

As it is, some experts reckon the Chinese government could seek to block what was proposed last week. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the China state-affiliated Global Times, has tweeted that such a block could be instigated by political leaders in the country because what has been proposed "would endanger China's national security, interests and dignity".

So that's all good fun, isn't it? And while the political negotiations continue in Washington and Beijing to try to win approval for the big TikTok Global proposal, Bytedance's lawyers in the US are still going through the motions to try to have Trump's TikTok-banning executive order overturned on legal and constitutional grounds.

Bytedance and TikTok first filed legal papers against the executive order with the federal courts in California last month. But last week that litigation was shifted to the federal courts in Washington DC, with new papers filed with the courts there and then the case in California subsequently dismissed.

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Concord signs Jake Gosling
Concord Music Publishing has announced a new worldwide deal with that Jake Gosling of "made music with Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, James Bay, Shania Twain, Shawn Mendes, Birdy, One Direction and Major Lazer" fame.

Although, given that the deal covers Gosling's future songs, I guess we're more interested in who he is currently collaborating with on music-making projects. That list includes Sam Fischer, Ben Platt, Public, Anna Clendening, Bugzy Malone, Emeli Sande and George Alice.

Concord's EVP of Worldwide A&R, Kim Frankiewicz, is "THRILLED" to be working with Gosling and his management team, naturally. "His discography is a who's who of the best artists in the music industry", she adds. "Along with the great team at A-List Management, we are looking forward to collaborating and helping Jake build upon his incredible body of work".

"I am super excited to be teaming up with Concord", confirms Gosling himself, "they really understood my vision. I look forward to what the future holds".

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Sentric forms publishing joint venture with management firm Prolifica
The Sentric Music Group has announced a new joint venture with management firm Prolifica that will see the former power the latter's publishing division, providing administration and creative services.

As well as working in artist management, Prolifica also has label and publishing operations. Existing Prolifica management clients Maximo Park and Childe are the first songwriters signed for publishing under the new partnership with Sentric.

Noting that the two companies have already worked together on previous projects, Prolifica's Stefano Anselmetti says of the new deal: "Prolifica and Sentric spent some time working together on different projects and we realised that we all shared a great creative energy and a common artistic vision. So, it was a very natural step for us to join forces with the wonderful team at Sentric and we are looking forward to a very successful partnership".

Meanwhile, Sentric CEO Chris Meehan explains: "The Prolifica team have great creative vision, style and work ethic. It was apparent that Sentric could level-up their offering with our ever-expanding infrastructure and collection network. In turn, Prolifica's exciting roster of artists will give our creative team plenty to work with. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together".

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Reach Music announces deal with producer Young Fyre US music publisher Reach Music has announced a deal to acquire the publishing catalogue and worldwide administration rights of writer/producer Young Fyre, a regular collaborator with T-Pain who has also made music with the likes of Marc Anthony, Bad Bunny, Trinidad James, Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Britney Spears and Lil Wayne.

Reach Music previously administrated the producer's rights via an alliance with T-Pain's Nappy Boy Entertainment, and says it was given the opportunity to acquire "the full publisher and partial writer's share of the Young Fyre catalogue" earlier this year.

Reach Music boss Michael Closter says: "We always enjoyed working with Young Fyre and administering his catalogue. We're THRILLED to have been given this opportunity to acquire the catalogue and deepen our business with him".

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Approved: Brutalist
Electronic musicians Lucian Blomkamp and John Hassell first met in 2015 when they played a show together, quickly forming Brutalist and putting out a mixtape the following year.

"He introduced me to Arvo Part and I introduced him to Prokofiev", says Blomkamp. "Pretty dorky stuff, but straight off the bat it was apparent we had a lot of similar musical interests".

Initially both based in Melbourne, the duo continued to work remotely as Hassell moved to London and then Marseille. This may have slowed the project's progress somewhat, but newly released EP 'Michael J Fox' is, thankfully, very much worth the four year wait. Combining a broad range of influences into an urgent and melodic electronic sound, it's clear that the initial spark is still with them.

"The EP is a dark and frenetic mix of tracks drawn from the last few years of Brutalist collaborations", says Hassell. "A tapestry of blood, binary and Prophet Rev-2 presets. A somewhat daring attempt to reduce the distance between us all in this day and age".

"Michael J Fox, whilst also the celebrity superstar we all know and love, was also the (legitimate) name of a colleague of mine when I was teaching at a high school in London", he adds of the title. "He was in many ways an unsung hero".

"For instance", he goes on, "he single-handedly prevented the school science laboratory from burning down after a troublesome kid lit an aerosol can alight. He was never given credit for that act and, furthermore, his beloved Fulham FC were relegated two weeks later. Despite all of this, the EP's only named as such as I lost a bet to him over a game of football. Nevertheless, he's still a top bloke".

The EP features a collaboration with rapper LYAM on the track 'Balsalke', the video for which you can watch here.

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

Northern Irish political parties unite in criticism of Van Morrison
Following Van Morrison's recent announcement that he plans to release three anti-lockdown protest songs, the Northern Irish musician has already caused one impressive political shift: he's united the political parties of Northern Ireland. Sure, only on the point that these songs are "dangerous" and "unhelpful", but it's something.

In the three songs set to be released over the next month - 'Born To Be Free', 'As I Walked Out' and 'No More Lockdown' - Morrison alleges that the government is lying about the severity of COVID-19, while accusing the various political leaders of the UK of fascism and attempting to enslave people through lockdown under the guise of public health measures.

Northern Ireland's Health Minister - Ulster Unionist Party MP Robin Swann - who has already spoken out against the songs, has now written an op-ed for Rolling Stone further disparaging them.

"Some of what is he saying is actually dangerous", he writes. "It could encourage people to not to take coronavirus seriously. If you see it all as a big conspiracy, then you are less likely to follow the vital public health advice that keeps you and others safe".

"It's entirely right and proper to debate and question policies", he adds. "But Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions. He is singing about 'fascist bullies' and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to 'enslave'. It's actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale".

"His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms".

"There are also so many things in the world to sing protest songs about, like poverty, starvation, injustice, racism, violence, austerity – there's a long list", he concludes. "Instead, he's chosen to attack attempts to protect the old and vulnerable in our society. It's all bizarre and irresponsible. I only hope no one takes him seriously. He's no guru, no teacher".

Speaking to the Irish Times, Democratic Unionist Party leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster basically concurs with Swann.

Although "we live in a free country and therefore it is his right to write those songs", she urges people to view them "in the context of art and entertainment, whereas we're giving you a message based on science and data and the best advice that we have".

"I hope that people will listen to the first and deputy first ministers, and to the executive, when we say this is a real threat, we need to take action, and we're asking you to work with us on proportionate action", she goes on.

Meanwhile, deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill, adds: "I think his interventions are unhelpful, particularly given the juncture that we now are at in terms of trying to deal with COVID-19. We're trying to save lives based on the best medical and scientific advice that we have and we'll continue to do that".

So far Morrison has only published the lyrics of the three songs - one of which references a debunked conspiracy theory. The first, 'Born To Be Free', is set for release this Friday.

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APPOINTMENTS

BMG last week announced that Thomas Coesfeld will join the company as Deputy Chief Financial Officer next month, and then become the music firm's actual CFO next April. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at Mohn Media, part of BMG sister company Bertelsmann Printing Group. "I very much look forward to working closely with Thomas Coesfeld", says BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. "Thomas has demonstrated great entrepreneurial skills in his previous positions".

Mark Fry is to be promoted to President of Warner Music Nordics, replacing Jonas Siljemark who is retiring at the end of the year. "I'm honoured to be succeeding Jonas, whose contributions to the growth of the music business in the Nordics are unparalleled", says Fry.

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EDUCATION & EVENTS

Prince's in-house studio engineer Susan Rogers will be interviewed at the next 'Let's Talk About Music' online event from the BPI and Official Charts Company. Obviously, we would all happily listen to Rogers talk about her collaborations with Prince for hours at a time, but I do hope they ask her about her current research work at Berklee College Of Music, which is also fascinating. The interview takes place on 6 Oct. Book your free place here.

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RELEASES

Fleet Foxes will release their new album 'Shore' at 2.31pm UK time today.

Lady Gaga has released the video for '911' from her latest album 'Chromatica'.

Skepta has released the video for new single 'No Stress', featuring Michael Phantom and L3.

The Cribs have released new single 'I Don't Know Who I Am', featuring Lee Ranaldo. The track is taken from their new album 'Night Network', which is out on 13 Nov.

Fraser T Smith - under the name Future Utopia - has announced new album 'Twelve Questions', which features guests including Idris Elba, Kojey Radical, Mikky Ekko, Lafawndah, Arlo Parks and more. Here's first single 'Do We Really Care Part 1 & 2', featuring Tom Grennan, Tia Carys and poet laureate Simon Armitage. The album is out on 23 Oct.

Luke Combs has released new track 'Without You', featuring Amanda Shires on violin.

The Smashing Pumpkins have announced that they will release new album, 'Cyr', on 27 Nov. Here's the title track.

Asian Dub Foundation have released their new album 'Access Denied', which features a track sampling a routine about UKIP by stand up comedian Stewart Lee. This is that track, 'Comin Over Here'.

Balming Tiger's Omega Sapien has released solo EP 'Garlic'. From it, this is 'Happycore'.

Michelle O Faith has released new single 'Black Lolita'. "The 'black' in the title is both intentional and significant", she says. "The song speaks to the fetishisation of young black women, specifically, by older white men in the industry. I have certainly experienced [that] - more than once".

Hockeysmith has released new single 'Hyper Kobra'. "The lyrics are fresh about my feelings during confinement", she says. "I was inspired by people like the writer Ali Smith: it's current - it's political - the virus is a poignant theme at the heart of the song".

Andy And The Oddsocks will release their third annual anti-bullying song in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance on 2 Nov. Here's a little snippet of the track.

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GIGS & TOURS

Keane have announced that they will play Forestry England's Forest Live concert series next summer. Hopefully. They will play four shows in forests around England in June. More info here.

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

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The Pirate Bay renews main domain name to 2030 after lapsed URLs sell at auction
The Pirate Bay has renewed its main .org domain name for ten more years, after two related web addresses lapsed and were then sold for tens of thousands of dollars.

Last week, piratebay.org sold for $50,000 at auction after the file-sharing site lost ownership of it. A second URL, thepiratebay.com, subsequently sold for $31,500.

There was some question over how those domains became available again, they having been registered by the original founders of the infamous piracy site more than fifteen years ago. Were they intentionally let go or did someone simply forget to renew them? No comment has been made by the current operators of the site, but their subsequent actions now suggest the latter.

The main Pirate Bay domain was set to expire in 2022. However, Torrentfreak points out, after the first related domain was auctioned off, that registration was extended to 2023. And it has now be extended again to 2030. So that gives them ten years to completely forget about the next renewal.

Of course, it might also place the expiry date beyond the lifetime of the website itself. Although there were plenty of people in 2010 who would have put money on the TPB site not being around in 2020.

Another question raised by the domain name sales was what the auctioned off web addresses would now be used for. Common practice in this type of situation is to place advertising on the page and wait for people who arrive there by accident to start clicking on them. That's not what has happened with piratebay.org though.

Following its $50,000 sale, the domain is now hosting a casting call for a film project called 'The Torrent Man'. Billed as being made by PirateBay Pictures - suggesting some sort of affiliation, although apparently falsely - it promises to be "an indie feature movie about the darknet, torrenting world, crypto, and the real people behind them".

The site is calling for actors, crew members and writers for a crowdsourced script to get in touch. It's also offering to sell the domain name again in order to fund the making of the film. If you're thinking of writing a cheque for $50,000 though, hold on a sec. The asking price is now $1.99 million.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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