THURSDAY 30 AUGUST 2018 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Champion rip-off merchant Viagogo is preparing to move much of its UK based workforce to New York, with sources telling The Guardian that the shift is already underway. It's thought some of the controversial ticket resale firm's UK team may depart the company as part of the move. That at least means those people will no longer have to list themselves as "scum of the earth" on their LinkedIn profiles. So, there are upsides... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Viagogo moving London execs to New York as tide turns against the touts
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LEGAL Russian web giant Yandex's video site could be blocked on copyright grounds
Sony and Michael Jackson estate excused from fake vocals case
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ARTIST NEWS Fever Ray cancels tour dates
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RELEASES Esben And The Witch release new single, The Unspoiled
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Billie Eilish announces 2019 UK shows
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ONE LINERS Sentric, Elton John, Kanye West, more
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AND FINALLY... DJ Khaled wants to sell you a throne, and a load of other gold furniture he's designed
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COOKING VINYL - OFFICE SPACE TO RENT (WEST LONDON)
Cooking Vinyl is pleased to offer a newly refurbished office space in Acton, West London. Ideal to share with other likeminded creatives in a hot desk environment, or alternatively to rent the space as a whole, comfortably fitting 30+ desks.

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FOURTEEN TEN - PUBLICIST & CONTENT PRODUCER (LONDON)
Fourteen Ten is looking for a highly competent and organised publicist with a love of music and food to join in a brand new Publicist & Content Producer role at this busy independent PR agency.

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MPA GROUP OF COMPANIES - CHIEF EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
The Music Publishers Association Group of Companies is recruiting a Chief Executive Officer to run its three companies – the MPA, the MCPS and PMLL. This is one of the most important positions in the UK music industry and comes at a time of great opportunity and significant change.

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KOBALT MUSIC GROUP - SENIOR DIRECTOR, AWAL LABEL MANAGEMENT (LONDON)
Kobalt is looking for someone to be responsible for the day to day management of the UK AWAL Label Management team. You’ll be looking after a small roster of the higher profile clients while also managing the label managers.

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KOBALT MUSIC GROUP - INCOME TRACKING ANALYST (LONDON)
Kobalt is looking for an Income Tracking Analyst. This is a completely new role where you would be responsible for implementing and maintaining efficient royalty tracking and analysis processes for income receipts from Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) around the world.

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BNDR MUSIC - PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
BNDR Music is seeking a Product Manager. Duties include, compiling and implementing artist marketing campaigns, plugging artists at radio, liaising with online and national PRs, and working closely with A&Rs and the Label Manager to schedule release roll outs.

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SJM CONCERTS - MARKETING COORDINATOR (MANCHESTER)
We are looking for a Marketing Coordinator to implement marketing campaigns to generate sales for new tours and events via various platforms including press, radio, TV, digital and print.

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ELITE MUSIC MANAGEMENT – ADMIN ASSISTANT/ASSISTANT BOOKING AGENT (BRIGHTON)
We are looking for a dynamic, talented individual to work as part of a hard-working team. You will be required to assist the agents and directors with admin tasks for the acts we represent.

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THE O2 – PROGRAMMING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a Programming Assistant to join the programming team at The O2 and provide them with business support information paying particular attention to the analysis of key sales information, the reporting of ticket figures and the production of venue hire contracts.

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NEW STATE MUSIC - LABEL ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a talented individual to join our creative and independent team, based in our Camden Town office. The main responsibilities of the role will be assisting various departments across the company including marketing, digital, and production.

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[PIAS] - RECORDING PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
[PIAS] seeks a Recording Project Manager to formulate impactful global artist development plans and to help build [PIAS] and its label brands to become the go to destination for new and established artists.

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ROUNDHOUSE - MUSIC PRODUCTION COORDINATOR (LONDON)
We are looking for an experienced Music Production Coordinator to support the planning, delivery and execution of Roundhouse music events and act as a central point of contact for incoming promoters and production teams.

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BIRD ON THE WIRE - JUNIOR PROMOTER/PROMOTER ASSISTANT (LONDON)
London-based independent live music promoter Bird On The Wire is offering the opportunity to join their team as a junior promoter / promoter assistant. The chosen candidate will be passionate about music and used to attending concerts several nights a week.

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SOLD OUT - SOCIAL MEDIA JUNIOR EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Sold Out is an independent full service advertising agency, specialising in arts and entertainment. The successful candidate will need to be a natural communicator, be able to work at a fast pace and with a gift for organisation and effective time management.

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SENTRIC MUSIC - ROYALTIES MANAGER (LIVERPOOL OR LONDON)
Sentric Music are looking for a Royalty Manager to join our Finance Team. Based in the creative areas of the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool - or Soho, London - the Royalty Manager will be integral to managing the accounts for our international client base.

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AEG EVENTIM APOLLO - ASSISTANT TECHNICAL MANAGER (LONDON)
Eventim Apollo are recruiting an Assistant Technical Manager to support and in the absence of the Technical Manager oversee the Technical aspects of a production from start to finish.

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ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL - ASSISTANT VENUE MANAGER (LONDON)
Islington Assembly Hall is looking for an Assistant Venue Manager to oversee all ticketing and box office activity, as well as managing social media posts and supporting overall marketing strategy.

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RAYMOND GUBBAY LIMITED - EVENTS ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
Raymond Gubbay Ltd, London's leading promoter of popular classical music, dance and trail events, is seeking to appoint a full time enthusiastic Event Administrator to join its busy event department.

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Viagogo moving London execs to New York as tide turns against the touts
Champion rip-off merchant Viagogo is preparing to move much of its UK based workforce to New York, with sources telling The Guardian that the shift is already underway. It's thought some of the controversial ticket resale firm's UK team may depart the company as part of the move. That at least means those people will no longer have to list themselves as "scum of the earth" on their LinkedIn profiles. So, there are upsides.

Viagogo remains the most controversial of all the operators in the always controversial secondary ticketing market, with even some touts critical of their anti-consumer practices. It has consistently refused to remove tours from its platform even when artists have vowed to cancel as many touted tickets as possible, meaning the chances are most tickets sold via the Viagogo site will be invalid by the time of the show. It has also refused to remove tickets for charity concerts that have been posted by touts at majorly hiked up prices.

Critics also argue that Viagogo deliberately seeks to confuse consumers into thinking they are buying from an official source - not least by using the word "official" quite a lot - rather than ensuring that the ticket-buyer is making an informed decision to buy from an unofficial seller, with the costs and risks that come with doing so. It also has a long history of hiding its own significant fees from the consumers until the final stages of the transaction, and then of ignoring said consumers if and when they have issues with their touted tickets.

Long slated by anti-tout campaigners, Viagogo has also come under increased fire from politicians and regulators in recent years. In the UK the firm has faced investigations, sanctions and/or legal action from no less than three regulators: the Competition And Markets Authority, National Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority.

It didn't do anything to improve its relationship with the UK political community by refusing to attend a select committee hearing in Parliament on the ticket resale market. It's very rare for a company with operations, offices and investors in the UK to refuse to answer the questions of MPs about its policies and practices. Secondary ticketing will be debated in Parliament once again next week and Viagogo has again been asked to attend.

Announcing that new session looking at live music in general and touting in particular, Parliament's culture select committee said earlier today: "The growth of secondary ticketing continues to frustrate the public and threaten the sustainability of live music events. MPs will use this inquiry to continue investigating this problem, since the 2017 General Election cut short the previous Committee's inquiry looking into ticket abuse. This inquiry launched today will aim to incorporate the findings and evidence that were submitted previously, and MPs will once again invite ticket reselling companies such as Viagogo to contribute evidence".

Viagogo's previous refusal to engage with parliamentarians is part of a wider 'wall of silence' strategy that it has employed across the board in recent years as online ticket touting, and especially its anti-consumer practices, have become ever more controversial. This approach is in contrast with the early days of the company's operations, when its founder Eric Baker was always on hand with a quote about this or that development in the live music sector.

To date Viagogo has pretty much got away with all of this, while also ignoring any new ticket resale regulations as and when they are introduced or enforced. But anti-tout campaigners feel the tide is finally turning against the rogue company. Loopholes in the law are finally being closed. Regulators are finally taking action. And consumers are finally getting the message on the back of superstar artists implementing anti-touting policies and regular newspaper reports about consumers being fucked over by Baker and his unfortunate lackeys.

All of those things have been happening in the UK, and in a number of other European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The recent decision of Live Nation's Ticketmaster to shut down its European resale sites Get Me In! and Seatwave is also a sign that increased regulation and greater public awareness of how ticketing works is making the resale market a harder place to operate, even if it remains lucrative for the key players.

All of which may be behind Viagogo's decision to put more emphasis on its US operations. Ticketing is generally regulated at a state level in America, and therefore rules and attitudes to touting - or scalping as they call it - vary greatly from state to state. But it does seem that the backlash to touting and tout platforms is much less significant Stateside.

Indeed, Live Nation's decision to backout of the secondary market doesn't apply in the US. As for Viagogo, Baker is American and he began his career in tout-enablement by co-founding American resale site StubHub, which is now an eBay company of course.

According to a source cited by The Guardian, senior staff at Viagogo's London base were told they'd be moved to New York back in May. Said source says: "Several senior developers have already relocated, but they're mostly people that have been at Viagogo since nearly day one and so are probably invested in the company. A few others are moving in the next couple of months, and others are leaving very soon".

The Guardian adds that touts who sell on the Viagogo platform have also noticed that they are now being paid their monies by the firm's US subsidiary rather than its head office in Switzerland, as before. That US business, Viagogo Entertainment Inc, is registered in Delaware, as is the firm's ultimate parent company, Baker's Pugnacious Endeavors.

Back in Europe, all eyes are now on Google, which pledged to stop selling search advertising to secondary ticketing platforms with anti-consumer practices. Viagogo has complied with some of Google's requirements (more so than with any government instigated regulations), but still isn't completely compliant with the search engine's rules. If the web giant stopped taking ads from Viagogo, so that it stopped appearing top in Google searches for upcoming in demand tours and concerts, that would have a bigger impact on the company than anything else.

It's not clear what kind of UK base Viagogo will continue to have once it's completed its current shift of staff Stateside. The firm also has a base in Limerick in Ireland, which was the reason one Irish senator was planning to oppose a clamp down on ticket touting there. It remains to be seen what the company decides to do with its Irish office.

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Russian web giant Yandex's video site could be blocked on copyright grounds
As the music industry prepares to push for new laws in Europe increasing the liabilities of user-upload platforms like Google's YouTube, Russian web giant Yandex is facing the prospect of having its video site blocked by the country's internet service providers if it doesn't remove pirated content from said site.

According to Torrentfreak - citing Russian news agency Interfax - Yandex has come under fire in recent weeks from key broadcasters in the country, which want the web firm to remove links to pirated content from its search engine and actual pirated content from its video site. Both are things Western copyright owners would also like Google to do.

It can still be hard to protect intellectual property rights in Russia today, but at the same time the country has ramped up some of its copyright laws in recent years. So much so, Yandex's obligations - if enforced - are much higher than those of Google in Europe, even if the new EU copyright directive goes through in its current form.

In a growing row over copyright infringing content on the Yandex platform, various Russian broadcasters, including Gazprom-Media and the National Media Group, last week removed their channels from the web firm's online TV service. Gazprom-Media also went legal and secured a court order in Moscow demanding that Yandex stop linking to pirated copies of the broadcaster's content on its search engine.

In the wake of that ruling, the country's sometimes controversial internet watchdog Rozcomnadzor - which has web-blocking powers - issued its owner order. It demanded that all and any content owed by Gazprom-Media and posted without licence to the web company's video platform, Yandex.video, also be removed.

In a statement issued to Interfax, the Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Vadim Subbotin subsequently said that ISPs in the country will be ordered to block access to Yandex.video if the web giant does not comply with the recent orders.

Subbotin seemingly told the news agency: "If Yandex does not take measures then, according to the law, the Yandex.Video service must be blocked". Though he did then add: "Let's wait for the execution of the decision, [then] we will hold consultations with them".

Yandex is yet to respond to any of this, but a web-block could seemingly be instigated against its video site as soon as tonight if it doesn't comply with the court and regulator's orders. It will be interesting to see if that happens though, given Yandex's dominance in the Russian market.

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Sony and Michael Jackson estate excused from fake vocals case
As you may remember, Sony Music didn't admit in court last week to releasing Michael Jackson tracks with fake vocals, despite plenty of chatter saying that it did. And the major isn't now likely to make any subsequent admissions in this domain in court anytime soon, because it has been excused from the legal battle over the possibly fake tracks.

This all relates to three songs on the posthumous Jackson album 'Michael', put out by the Michael Jackson estate and Sony's Epic label in 2010. Even before the record was released there were claims that the tracks 'Breaking News', 'Monster' and 'Keep Your Head Up' featured vocals by a singer other than Jackson.

'Michael' included various tracks that Jackson had been working on in the years before his death subsequently completed by his collaborators. Those three tracks came from recording sessions with producer Eddie Cascio. People involved with those sessions insisted that Jackson had done the singing, while the estate put out a statement listing all the ways it had sought to check the authenticity of the vocals before release.

This is still a talking point eight years later because in 2014 one Jackson fan, Vera Serova, went legal, suing the estate, Sony and other people linked to the three tracks, including Cascio. The lawsuit claimed that by releasing the tracks with allegedly fake vocals as Michael Jackson tracks the various defendants were in breach of consumer rights laws in California.

That case has been rumbling through the system ever since. Both Sony and the estate have been busy trying to get themselves removed as defendants by employing all kinds of legal technicalities, mainly relating to free speech rights under the First Amendment and California's anti-SLAPP laws. It was during its second go at all that, before some appeal judges last week, that a speculative "if the vocals were faked" type remark from a lawyer working for the estate was construed by some to be an admission that the vocals were fake. It was not.

Meanwhile, following all that confusion, the appeals judges hearing all those First Amendment and anti-SLAPP arguments subsequently sided with Sony and the estate. Which means both have been removed as defendants of this lawsuit. Their arguments centred on whether liner notes for the record constituted 'commercial speech'. They did not, the appeals court ruled, and therefore free speech rules excused the defendants from the case.

Expanding on the judgement, judge Elwood Lui stated: "Because appellants lacked actual knowledge of the identity of the lead singer on the disputed tracks, they could only draw a conclusion about that issue from their own research and the available evidence. Under these circumstances, appellant's representations about the identity of the singer amounted to a statement of opinion rather than fact". So there you go.

The estate's legal rep, Howard Weitzman, said the ruling constituted "a total victory ... in the Vera Serova class action matter". Although, of course, with legal technicalities to the fore, there has been no ruling on whether or not those vocals were indeed fake. However, Serova's case against Cascio and others involved in the recordings continues, so maybe that'll get some proper discussion another day.

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Approved: Yves Tumor
Yves Tumor released his debut album, 'Serpent Music', two years ago through the excellent PAN record label. Now signed to Warp, he returned with new single 'Noid' earlier this year, and is now back again with a second track for the label, 'Licking An Orchid'.

Tumor has developed a mastery of balancing light and dark, and the deceptive use of both - as can also be said of James K, who joins him on the new track. 'Licking An Orchid' introduces itself with a lilting guitar line, joined by jittery drums and gently breathless vocals.

But the words gradually reveal a darker tone than the familiar love song it initially appears to be. Once that realisation has had time to set in, the track is torn wide open by a distorted synth solo, which gives way once again to James K's soft voice.

Watch the video for 'Licking An Orchid' here.

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Fever Ray cancels tour dates
Fever Ray, aka Karin Dreijer, has announced that she is cancelling all upcoming live performances. She explained in a statement that increased anxiety and panic attacks recently have led to the decision.

Earlier this month, a performance at the Sziget Festival in Hungary was cancelled at the last minute. At the time it was said that this was "due to illness", although Dreijer has now gone into more detail.

"Many of you know already that I've been struggling with general anxiety and panic attacks for a long time", she explained on Facebook. "For seven years I did not enter the stage, for five years I did not enter an aeroplane. It is a disorder that always lurks in the shadows that I have had to work carefully with and around ... I never really know when it will strike or how much it will affect me".

"I am very thankful for the past seven months, that I have been able to tour and to meet you wonderful and amazing people", she continued. "The last month though has been rough and my anxiety has started to escalate. I will now have to take a break from touring to take care of myself and restore my health. We are cancelling the forthcoming shows this autumn. It is a difficult decision because I love my band and my crew, and I am so grateful for the love we have received from all of you when doing this show. Hope to see you soon".

The cancellations include UK shows in London and Manchester, which had been scheduled for early November. She will also not perform at this year's Iceland Airwaves festival.

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Esben And The Witch release new single, The Unspoiled
Esben And The Witch have released new single 'The Unspoiled'. The track is taken from their upcoming new album 'Nowhere', due out in November.

Vocalist Rachel Davies explains that the new song is "inspired by ancient, enduring visions of a utopian garden, a world unspoiled, before war and devastation, where freedom and liberation rule. The world at large and our worlds within, both teeter on the brink of self-destruction. This serves as a reminder, as a plea, to hold on and not let go".

Listen to 'The Unspoiled' here.

The album is set for release on 16 Nov, after which the band will head out on tour. Currently confirmed UK shows are as follows:

24 Nov: London, Tufnell Park Dome
25 Nov: Manchester, Soup Kitchen
27 Nov: Brighton, Patterns

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Billie Eilish announces 2019 UK shows
Billie Eilish has announced that she will return to the UK for four shows next February and March, culminating in a performance at the Shepherds Bush Empire.

Tickets for the shows go on general sale tomorrow. Here are the dates:

27 Feb: Manchester, The Ritz
28 Feb: Glasgow, SWG3 TV Studio
2 Mar: Birmingham, The Institute
4 Mar: London, Shepherds Bush Empire

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Sentric, Elton John, Kanye West, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Sentric Music has acquired a stake in electronic music publishing company Black Rock. "Black Rock grew at such a rapid rate that, having worked with Sentric since we launched in 2013, it made complete sense to formally join forces", says Black Rock CEO Mark Lawrence, who will now also join Sentric's executive team.

• Elton John has announced Twickets as the official ticket resale platform for his upcoming farewell tour. The platform allows fans to sell unwanted tickets at face value, or less.

• Academy Music Group has announced a new lease agreement with Manchester's Victoria Warehouse. Under the deal, the venue will be rebranded the O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester, although no one outside O2 board meetings will ever call it that. Oh, and statements from O2 Head Of Sponsorships Gareth Griffiths, who says: "The new O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester is a brilliant addition to our O2 Academy estate and further demonstrates O2 and Academy Music Group's commitment to live music in Manchester".

• The Troxy in London has partnered with Dice to become what they reckon is the biggest venue to operate a mobile-only ticketing policy. "As the world's biggest mobile-only venue, we're embracing innovative technology that favours fans and artists to bring spectacular performances to our stage", says the venue's GM Tom Sutton-Roberts.

• Kanye West has released new track 'XTCY'.

• Richard Thompson is set to release new album 'Thirteen Rivers' on 14 Sep. From it, this is new single 'My Rock, My Rope'.

• Liars will release new album 'Titles With The Word Fountain' on 14 Sep. From it, this is 'Murdrum'.

• Against Me frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has announced the debut album from her new band, Laura Jane Grace And The Devouring Mothers. Titled 'Bought To Rot', it will be released on 9 Nov. From it, this is 'Apocalypse Now (And Later)'.

• The Struts have released a new version of their single 'Body Talks' featuring Kesha. "[The Struts] are one of my favourite current bands keeping the spirit of classic rock n roll alive with their wild energy and sexy style", she says. "It's a song made for my favourite activity: boogieing".

• She Makes War has released the video for new single 'Devastate Me'. Her new album, 'Brace For Impact', is out on 5 Oct.

• St Vincent will play a relatively tiny London show at Cadogan Hall on 4 Sep. Tickets went on sale yesterday, so don't sit there thinking you're going to get one now.

• With a performance at the End Of The Road festival on Sunday, and a Brixton Academy show next week, Ezra Furman has released a cover of Vampire Weekend's 'Unbelievers'. "In the midst of our recent ambitious and inventive music, I started to get a strong urge to reconnect with my high-tempo voice shredding punk roots", he says. "Covering this song was a perfect gateway from one to the other".

• Ahead of UK tour dates at the end of next month, Liza Anne has released a cover of The Cranberries' 'Dreams'. "When I was a kid, we would drive around my hometown listening to records", she says. "It was with my aunt that I first heard 'Dreams'. There's a holiness in the way a song is originally experienced that feels sacrilegious to tread upon - but when Dolores passed, I felt like I needed a moment of meditation".

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

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DJ Khaled wants to sell you a throne, and a load of other gold furniture he's designed
If you've always felt that your home was missing a throne, or a couple of gold lion statues, don't worry: DJ Khaled has you covered. In fact, if your dream home décor regime is 'gaudy as fuck', you're about to be in heaven. Today, the producer officially launches We The Best Home, his new line of home furnishings.

Five ranges are set to be unveiled today, with a total of fifteen planned, meaning you could own up to 300 Khaled-designed pieces in your home. The line will offer "statement pieces designed to elevate your home into a new level of expression, luxury living, and #winning", apparently.

"My home is my castle, and it's a sacred place", says Khaled. "I wanted to create something that highlighted how important our homes are to our lives - it's where we spend time with family. It's where we make memories. It's where we raise our children. This line is an extension of me. I am involved in every aspect of the creative design process - choosing colours, fabrics, styles. So I give my fans a piece of Khaled in every item".

Euw. Khaled has partnered with "the ultimate celebrity collaboration platform for fine furniture" Goldition for the project. Various shiny objects are set to go on sale via the company's website later today.

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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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
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Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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