Back in December, it was reported that CMJ–the now-defunct indie music media outlet which grew into an annual city-wide music marathon of performances and industry showcases in New York City every fall–was in the process of revamping with plans to return in 2020. This was, of course, before COVID-19 forced an immediate pause on any live events in New York City and across the country for the foreseeable future.
It seemed like a CMJ 2020 relaunch was doomed until Monday when it was reported the brand had been purchased by U.K.-based company Amazing Radio, which still has plans to bring CMJ Music Marathon back this fall.
According to a report shared by Billboard, Amazing Radio, an online radio platform that focuses on emerging and indie artists in the U.K., was the unnamed mystery buyer that purchased the struggling CMJ last year. The purchase and planned relaunch was confirmed in a press release announcement from Amazing Radio founder Paul Campbell, CEO Andrew Zicklin, and chairman/Enigma Records co-founder Bill Hein.
Amazing Radio had planned to announce their acquisition and plans closer to the fall, but chose to go forward with their 2020 initiatives earlier with the shutdown of the live events in hopes of helping the community of lesser-known indie musicians. One of the ways in which they’re doing so is by launching online streams and virtual concerts, similar to what many bands are already doing across the industry. Amazing Radio’s platform encourages artists to upload their music to be streamed via the online station, where fans can also donate money directly (100% of the proceeds) to the musicians.
“With gigs canceled and venues shuttered, the world’s next generation of musicians need help to keep working,” Paul Campbell mentioned in a statement to go with Monday’s announcement. “We plan to breathe new life into CMJ and revive its influence and presence for the benefit of musicians and music. Its heritage is immense — but we intend to make sure CMJ’s best days are ahead of it by combining it with Amazing Radio.”
Hein also added, “We’re still planning to bring CMJ back to New York in October, come hell or Coronavirus. But we’re here to help musicians, now, anyway.”
CMJ launched in 1978 as College Music Journal and went on to evolve into a smaller version of SXSW in New York City every October. The final year of the industry event took place in fall 2015, and there’s been no CMJ in the four years since. In December 2016, former CMJ employees sued the company on claims of unpaid wages. The media outlet also hasn’t published any official work since February 2017.