FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK record industry has secured web-blocking injunctions against a number of stream-ripping sites as well as a piracy-enabling cyberlocker service. Trade group BPI says that the web-blocks constitute landmark rulings because they confirm that such services are liable for copyright infringement under UK law... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES UK record industry secures web-blocking injunctions against stream-ripping sites
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LEGAL Court dimisses Wixen's Triller lawsuit - but on legal technicalities
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MEDIA Radio 1 to test run new presenters on early breakfast
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE Tony Wadsworth named new Chair of BRIT Trust
New book offers career and health advice to musicians

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RELEASES Nick Cave and Warren Ellis release lockdown album Carnage
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GIGS & FESTIVALS The Great Escape announces online edition for 2021
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ONE LINERS Julia Michaels, Nick Jonas, YG & Big Sean, more
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AND FINALLY... Blondie to star in their own graphic novel
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UK record industry secures web-blocking injunctions against stream-ripping sites
The UK record industry has secured web-blocking injunctions against a number of stream-ripping sites as well as a piracy-enabling cyberlocker service. Trade group BPI says that the web-blocks constitute landmark rulings because they confirm that such services are liable for copyright infringement under UK law.

Web-blocking, of course, has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic of the music industry in those countries where such blockades are available. Rather than suing websites that facilitate copyright infringement, rights-owners seek injunctions that order internet service providers to block access to those sites. Though, while the ISPs rather than the targeted websites are the defendants in such cases, the rights-owners still need to demonstrate that those sites are indeed liable for copyright infringement.

Traditionally, web-blocks have been used against more conventional piracy set-ups, in particular file-sharing platforms. Although the Australian music industry successfully secured web-blocking injunctions against a number of stream-ripping sites back in 2019. And given that stream-ripping services - ie websites that allow you to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams - have become the music industry's top piracy gripe in recent years, it seemed certain further blockades against those set-ups in other countries would follow.

The UK record labels arrived in the London courts seeking such a thing earlier this month. Among the stream-ripping sites targeted were FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, the Russian owner of which has been fighting a lawsuit filed against him by the labels in the US, albeit mainly on jurisdiction grounds. Nevertheless, both sites have now been successfully blocked in the UK.

Welcoming the issuing of the new web-blocks, the BPI says: "Stream-ripping sites like FLVTO.biz are so problematic that they appear on the US government's Notorious Markets List and on the European Commission's Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List. The operators of the illegal stream-ripping sites make millions of pounds a year from advertising in the UK alone, but do not share a penny with the creators of the music they are exploiting".

The cyberlocker service also blocked in the latest court ruling is Nitroflare which, the BPI reckons, is "deliberately designed to encourage and reward users to upload music and other valuable copyright material, and illegally share links to it with others who can then illegally download it".

The judge who oversaw the case, the BPI adds, "found that although music only represents around 10% of all files available on Nitroflare, the site warranted being blocked because it actively encouraged illegal sharing and it was highly unlikely that the site was being used for legitimate storage on a significant scale. The site also rewards those who illegally share music and penalises those who do not share by deleting their files".

Although the music industry welcomed the new injunctions yesterday, the music community also recognises that web-blocks are no panacea, given they are relatively easy to circumvent.

To that end, the BPI also cites the new anti-piracy measures that it would like UK law-makers to introduce, all of which it has floated as part of Parliament's ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming. That includes stronger penalties for infringing platforms and legal reforms to ensure such services can't claim safe harbour protection.

Commenting on the ruling, BPI's General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead says: "The high court has confirmed what we all believed, namely that the operators and users of these egregious cyberlocker and stream-ripping sites infringe copyright in multiple ways and should be blocked in the UK".

"The illegal sites have more visits to them than even global brand websites like Coca-Cola and McDonalds, and they deprive those who create and invest in music from their rightful rewards", he continues. "These two new judgments are important both legally and practically. They are not a silver bullet, but they develop existing European law and represent a significant step forwards in copyright law in the UK. We are grateful to the high court in dealing with this group litigation so efficiently in an online hearing. The BPI will be taking further actions following these judgments".

Meanwhile, Gee Davy, COO of the Association Of Independent Music, adds: "These judgments are not only a win for the independent music businesses named in the cases but the whole music ecosystem and AIM congratulates BPI on their expert handling of these cases. Getting music from illegitimate sites and services drives down the value of music and the money available to pay musicians and fund creativity. We hope that these judgments will serve as a strong deterrent to other illegitimate cyberlockers and stream-rippers and raise awareness of legitimate ways to enjoy great music".

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Court dimisses Wixen's Triller lawsuit - but on legal technicalities
A court in California has dismissed the lawsuit pursued by music publisher Wixen against video-sharing app Triller. Although that dismissal is based on bunch of tedious technicalities that the publisher can likely rectify in a reworked version of its litigation.

Wixen sued Triller last November, accusing the app of streaming videos that contain its songs without licence. The publisher said that, despite Triller CEO Mike Lu telling reporters in interviews that his company was busy reaching out to music rights owners, instead the firm had chosen to "brazenly disregard copyright law and commit willful and ongoing copyright infringement".

Not only that, it said, the app company was prioritising signing up social influencers to mega-bucks deals over getting licences for the songs those influences exploit.

Triller does, of course, have deals in place with an assortment of music companies, though it has admitted that there are still deals to be done. And since Wixen went legal last year, Triller has actually taken a backwards step in the licensing domain, with Universal Music pulling from the platform after efforts to extend a short-term deal between the app and the major seemingly collapsed.

With regard to the Wixen litigation, Triller sought to have the lawsuit dismissed citing various legal technicalities. That included questioning Wixen's exact status as owner or exclusive licensee of each song that has allegedly been streamed on the Triller app, and whether that impacts upon the publisher's right to sue. It also said that no publication dates had been provided for the allegedly infringed songs, meaning it wasn't clear if the US Copyright Acts of 1909 or 1976 should apply.

The latter technicality actually affects the former, because questions regarding Wixen's right to sue over the alleged infringement - not to mention the remedies it could seek - might be answered differently depending on what copyright laws are in force. And on that point, the court concurred with Triller, dismissing the case but agreeing to allow the publisher to re-file.

The judge overseeing the case stated: "Because certain works may be governed by the 1909 Act and others by the 1976 Act and the court – from the face of the complaint – cannot determine which works are governed by which act, the court grants the motion [to dismiss], with leave to amend. The court does not consider any other arguments raised by either party in doing so".

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Radio 1 to test run new presenters on early breakfast
BBC Radio 1 has announced that it will hand its Friday early breakfast slot to eight emerging presenters.

Dean McCullough, Rakeem Omar, Danni Diston, Sam MacGregor, Darcy Kelly, Alex West, Numi Gildert and Robyn Richford will all spend a month fronting the show. All eight previously appeared in guest slots on the station as part of a guest presenter initiative in December and on New Year's Day.

First up will be McCullough, who currently presents the breakfast show on Gaydio. He'll take over Radio 1's early breakfast in April. "The earlies crew are the best", he says. "I love listening to [Radio 1's early breakfast show] in the morning on my way to work and I love that we get to enjoy 'Best New Pop' [which follows early breakfast] on a Friday morning too. So you stick the kettle on, I'll sort the tunes and I'll see you bright and early, it's going to be iconic!"

I'm not sure I could cope with that amount of enthusiasm at 5am, but I'm not Radio 1's target audience. I'm sure The Kids will love it.

Head Of Radio 1 Aled Haydn Jones proclaims: "The Friday morning shows are a brilliant way for us to learn more about the next generation of presenters. It's a great opportunity to see what direction they take when given a platform of this scale, and I'm very excited to hear how they all do".

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Tony Wadsworth named new Chair of BRIT Trust
Tony Wadsworth has been announced as the new Chair of the BRIT Trust, the music industry charity that operates the BRIT Awards alongside record industry trade group the BPI, and funds the BRIT School and other music organisations. He replaces John Craig who announced his plans to step down in November.

A UK music industry veteran, of course, Wadsworth was former CEO of EMI Music UK, and was also Chair of the BPI itself for seven years, until he stepped down in 2014. He was also a trustee of the British Record Industry Trust (if you were wondering what BRIT stood for) for sixteen years.

"I am honoured to be the new Chair of The BRIT Trust, and to have this opportunity to work with my fellow trustees to build on the outstanding work of the Trust since its formation in 1989", says Wadsworth. "The BRIT Trust is the music industry's charity and provides funding to the BRIT School and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, among many others, that promote education and wellbeing through music, encouraging values of accessibility, diversity and inclusion".

"The huge challenges created by the pandemic mean that the work of the Trust is now needed more than ever", he goes on. "But while our guiding principles remain the same, this changed landscape means there is now also an opportunity to reset some of the ways we can look to achieve our goals so these are more closely aligned with the needs of our industry and the communities we are here to serve".

Co-Chairs of this year's BRITs Committee - ie the team overseeing the awards - Universal Music UK's Rebecca Allen and Selina Webb, add in a joint statement: "Music and the creative arts enrich all our lives. Nobody understands this better than the BRIT Trust who do a fantastic job in bringing the industry together behind countless charities and initiatives which amplify the power of music, and support those in need. As Chair, Tony will bring leadership, energy and unrivalled industry experience to help take the work of this important charity to the next level".

What does BPI boss Geoff Taylor think though? I wonder if, as someone who worked closely with Wadsworth when he was BPI chair, he'll have first-hand insight into the sort of leader he'll be at the Trust. Maybe even a bit of certainty about the future. Let's see.

He says this: "Having had the privilege of working very closely with Tony when he was Chair of the BPI, I know first-hand the vision, experience and collaborative leadership he will bring to this role. The work of the BRIT Trust has never been more important, at a time when young people face more obstacles than ever in developing their creative careers".

Cool. Shame about the lack of certainty about the future though. That would have been nice. Oh wait, he's not finished. He goes on: "I'm certain that Tony will take the vital work of the Trust forward with new impetus and a refreshed sense of purpose".

Well that's all great then. If Geoff is certain, I'm certain.

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New book offers career and health advice to musicians
Music industry journalist Rhian Jones and musician Lucy Heyman have today published a new book titled 'Sound Advice', offering career and health guidance for musicians and those who work with them.

With practical advice on performance skills, money management, cultivating creativity, social media, dealing with criticism, fame and fans, the book also covers substance use and addiction, eating disorders and body image, musculoskeletal issues and touring, vocal and hearing health, and more.

As well as research from the authors, it features firsthand interviews with artists, including Laura Mvula, Will Young, Imogen Heap, MNEK, Nina Nesbitt, Ella Eyre, Jonathan Higgs and Lady Leshurr, among others.

"I had the idea for this book after closely following the ongoing music and health conversation", says Jones. "It made total sense to me for a business that is predicated on developing and nurturing the talent of creatives to prioritise the health and wellbeing of those creatives".

"If an artist gets physically or mentally sick and can't work, the people and businesses around them lose money, so it surprised me to find out that there didn't seem to be many - if any - sanctions in place that were there for the sole purpose of fostering an artist's good health", she adds. "And it's been heartbreaking to witness the many premature deaths of much-loved music talents over recent years".

Heyman - a PhD researcher, as well as a musician - adds: "Research suggests that musicians may face a large number of mental and physical health issues in their careers but the majority of these problems are preventable with the right information and support. I wanted to create an easily accessible book that was informed by scientific research and included the lived experiences of musicians along with the advice and guidance of leading experts and signposts to further support".

"Studies have shown that, as well as health, musicians want support with the performance side of their career", she goes on. "So we worked with leading psychologists to provide a section which focuses on topics including managing performance anxiety, increasing confidence onstage, overcoming creative blocks, improving practice and more".

"This section may be particularly useful to musicians who've been unable to perform due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who might need extra support when they return to live performances", she continues. "We hope that this book will become an essential manual for any musician to give them the correct advice, signposting, and treatment of issues as soon as possible should they need it".

Buy the book in hardback, paperback and ebook formats here.

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Nick Cave and Warren Ellis release lockdown album Carnage
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have surprised released their new album, 'Carnage', which they recorded during lockdown. Although they have worked together on several film soundtrack projects, and for nearly three decades in Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, this is the first time they have released a standalone album as a duo.

"Making 'Carnage' was an accelerated process of intense creativity", says Ellis. "The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days". Meanwhile, Cave adds that the album is "a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe".

Although the release was a surprise, we did know this album was incoming. Cave first revealed that he and Ellis had recorded a new record together in January, via a post on his Red Hand Files website discussing the effect that lockdown had had on him.

"In many ways lockdown has felt weirdly familiar, like I've experienced it before", he said in the post. "I guess this should come as no surprise as I was a heroin addict for many years and self-isolating and social distancing were the name of the game. I am also well acquainted with the mechanics of grief – collective grief works in an eerily similar way to personal grief, with its dark confusion, deep uncertainty and loss of control".

"I am surprised, though, at just how hard not being able to play live has felt", he went on. "I have come to the conclusion that I am essentially a thing that tours. There is a terrible yearning and a feeling of a life being half-lived. I miss the thrill of stepping onto the stage, the rush of the performance, where all other concerns dissolve into a pure animal interrelation with my audience".

Available now from all good streaming and download emporiums, 'Carnage' will also be available on CD and vinyl from 28 May.

A track from another Warren Ellis project is also out today - that being the latest single from Marianne Faithful, 'She Walks In Beauty'. The track is a reading of a Lord Byron poem, and features on a new album of the same name, which is out on 30 Apr. With music from Ellis throughout, the album features various other guests, including Nick Cave.

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The Great Escape announces online edition for 2021
Organisers of The Great Escape showcase festival and music conference have confirmed that this year's event will not be taking place in Brighton in May as a result of ongoing COVID restrictions. However, an online edition will be staged in its place on 13-14 May, showcasing the best new artists from across the world, and bringing together music business professionals from every strand of the industry.

The online conference will include a packed programme of expert briefings, networking sessions, keynote interviews, panel discussions and educational workshops, with the CMU+TGE programme sitting at the heart of it all as normal. The CMU+TGE programme will feature three key strands as follows...

Future Music Talent will look at how music educators and the music industry can better support entrepreneurial early-career music-makers, how COVID has impacted on the fanbase building process for DIY phase artists, and why it's more important than ever to educate the creative community about copyright and data.

Future Music Strategies will consider the latest trends in streaming, fanbase building and the direct-to-fan relationship, and investigate what the touring and festival markets will look like in the post-COVID, post-Brexit world. What technologies, data, influencers, partnerships and strategies will be essential for success in the years ahead?

Future Music World will investigate and celebrate initiatives that are making the music world more diverse, more sustainable and more healthy, and consider the role music-makers and the music industry can play in tackling prejudice in society, addressing the climate emergency, and rebuilding communities as we recover from the pandemic.

Alongside the CMU+TGE programme, there will also be a series of keynote interviews with leading industry professionals, educational workshops for those at the start of their music careers, a programme of panels presented by our industry partners, and a range of online networking events and services. Plus all the great new artists showcasing their music to fans and industry alike.

Specific tickets are on sale for the online TGE, with discounts available to those who had tickets for the full event in 2021. And talking of that full real-world event, it will return in Brighton from 11-14 May 2022. Anyone with tickets for TGE2020 or TGE 2021 can choose to roll them over to 2022 or request a refund.

Confirming all of this, the TGE team added: "We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the NHS for their extraordinary efforts in rolling out the vaccine, as well as thanking all of you for your patience, and we look forward to being together again in 2022 for our belated fifteenth birthday. It's going to be a huge celebration. We'll see you online in May 2021 and on the beach in 2022".

Book tickets for the online edition of The Great Escape here.

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DEALS

Universal Music Publishing has signed Julia Michaels to a global publishing deal. She has written for artists including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Janelle Monáe, Dua Lipa and Britney Spears, as well as being a successful artist in her own right. "I'm so excited to join UMPG's family of artists and songwriters", she says. "I can't wait to keep making music that I love and to do it in my new home".

Sony Music Publishing has signed country musician Kane Brown to a global deal, and also launched a joint venture publishing imprint with him, called Verse 2 Music. "Kane Brown is redefining boundaries with his dynamic artistry, all-around business acumen, and passion as a craftsman songwriter – his anthemic songs will live forever", says Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston.

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APPOINTMENTS

BMG has appointed Rachel Menzies to the position of Senior Director Original Repertoire Services. "I'm eager to further strengthen BMG's position as the home of the highest quality original music commissions, cultivating the best songwriting and composition talent from our world-class roster", she says. "I look forward to working alongside the sync and production music teams to develop a proactive, bespoke offering to secure more creative and commercial media opportunities for our clients".

Better Noise Music has promoted Dan Waite all the way up to President of the company. He was previously Managing Director, UK & Europe. "Dan Waite is a forward-thinking creative, and we are lucky to have him helping to steer the Better Noise ship with this new title of President", says CEO Allen Kovac. "Dan is a consummate professional, and we look forward to him expanding our global footprint".

Warner Music Group's ADA Asia has announced the appointment of three senior executives. Chiou Rei Min has been named as Head Of Greater China; Jin Hwang as Head Of Korea and Tan Wei Keng as Director, Business Operations. "I'm beyond THRILLED with the unrivalled expertise and credibility these three widely respected executives bring to ADA Asia, which underscores the strength and unique attributes of the ADA brand", says Managing Director, Chee Meng Tan.

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RELEASES

Nick Jonas will release new solo album, 'Spaceman', on 12 Mar. The title track is out now.

YG and Big Sean have released new track 'Go Big', taken from the soundtrack of 'Coming 2 America'.

Paul Weller has announced that he will release new album 'Fat Pop (Volume 1)' on 11 May. The album was recorded in lockdown by Weller, who then sent tracks to his band - drummer Ben Gordelier, guitarist Steve Cradock and bassist Andy Crofts - to flesh them out. The title suggests that this process may have been quite fruitful, with more fat pop songs in the bank.

Slowthai has released the video for 'ADHD' from his new album 'Tyron'.

Noname will release her second album, 'Factory Baby', at some point later this year. To distract you from that vagueness, here's new single 'Rainforest'.

Ella Henderson and Tom Grennan have released the video for their single 'Let's Go Home Together'. Grennan has also announced solo tour dates for September this year.

CL has released new single 'Wish You Were Here', dedicated to her late mother.

AFI have announced that they will release their new album, 'Bodies', on 11 Jun. They've also released two new tracks, 'Looking Tragic' and 'Begging For Trouble'.

Moonchild Sanelly has released a new remix of her track 'Bashiri', featuring Ebow. "I'm excited for everyone to hear this version of 'Bashiri' featuring my German boobeam Ebow", says Sanelly. "When my European adventures led me to Vienna, where I met Aramboa and Ebow, we had to let you hear this version with a fellow female badass from the continent".

Former Sunny Day Real Estate and Foo Fighters member William Goldsmith has launched new band Assertion with a single called 'Supervised Suffering'. "A decade-long journey that started out walking away from music has led me right back to it and the very reason I started - but with a whole new appreciation and respect for it", he says.

Tekno has released the video for 'Designer', from his recent album 'Old Romance'.

Albertine Sarges has released new single 'Oh My Love'.

Ama has released the video for 'Dreams Vs Reality' from her 'Vs Everything' album.

Wuh Oh has released new single 'Saxy Beast'. "I finished the track in Athens in the summertime and I can still feel the sunshine whenever I hear it", he says. "I'm so happy that everyone can now smile along to 'Saxy Beast' wherever they are".

Mike Doughty's Ghost Of Vroom have released new single 'I Hear The Ax Swinging'.

Chad Vangaalen has released new single 'Nightwaves'. The song, he says, is "about the endless news feed. Giving in to your digital calendar, when all that's on your to-do list is checking the online updates. Like a William Gibson waking nightmare, boring marketed as sexy".

Roch has released a new single, a cover of Kylie Minogue's 'Confide In Me'. "This year has made me nostalgic for pretty much everything", she says. "Kylie's music reminds me of better times - and she is the first artist I saw live. I wanted to record the cover partly as a sort of comfort blanket but also to pay homage to a musical icon".

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GIGS & TOURS

Nitin Sawhney has announced a livestreamed performance and Q&A on 27 Mar, to mark the release of his new album 'Immigrants'. Tickets go on sale on 2 Mar here.

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

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Blondie to star in their own graphic novel
Blondie are gearing up to publish what we are repeatedly told in an announcement will be their "first ever" graphic novel. Like it would usually be expected for an artist to have had multiple graphic novels under their belts by now. Well, whatever, it's coming out and it's called 'Blondie: Against The Odds'.

Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the book is inspired by classic tracks and some lesser-known Blondie songs, and the band's early years - fleshed out with Palmiotti's own memories of New York at that time.

"I think it would be impossible to give Blondie and the downtown New York music scene the proper respect and visceral representation it deserves if I didn't live through it", says Palmiotti. "My life was comic books and music, and there was no more exciting time in my life than when Blondie hit the music scene. Amanda and I are having a blast telling the story of the band and how they went from killing it on stage in small clubs to becoming an unstoppable worldwide sensation".

Conner adds: "When I was a growing up - and still pretty much to this day - a few of the things I loved were music, comic book heroes, ultra-cool style, and a wicked, wild, and weird sense of humour. Blondie embodies all those things, and when I listen to their music, I can't not dance. Or if I have to sit and work for long hours, I can't not at least bounce and bop along in my seat. As a teenager, Debbie Harry was one of the superheroes I wanted to grow up to be. In fact, I still wanna grow up to be her".

The book will be published by Z2 Comics in autumn this year and is available to pre-order in various versions - including a super deluxe edition that will be bundled with a yet-to-be-revealed Blondie boxset. Be warned, the cheapest edition will still cost you more than £70, before you add in shipping costs. So, I guess you really have to have been chomping at the bit for Blondie to finally release their first ever graphic novel.

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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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