The CMJ Music Marathon held its last festival in 2015, before it underwent an ugly shutdown which resulted in a lawsuit over unpaid wages against the company’s former CEO Adam Klein. Klein was eventually forced to over $550,000 following the suit, as the company, which was originally helmed as the magazine-based College Media Journal, shut its doors.
Last December however, the CMJ Twitter account posted an update indicating that they were likely to come back this year, under new management, after a mysterious organization purchased the company from Klein. This company is now revealed to be the UK-based Amazing Radio, which will plan to launch CMJ this year alongsidethe launch of US Amazing Radio, with CEO Andrew Zicklin and chairman Bill Hein, who co-founded Enigma Records in the 1980s.
“It’s the perfect fit,” Amazing Radio founder Paul Campbell said in a press release. “With gigs canceled and venues shuttered, the world’s next generation of musicians need help to keep working. … 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.”
CMJ launched in 1978 as a trade magazine, which hosted influential college radio charts that were crucial to the development of independent and alternative music during the 80’s and 90’s. Klein purchased the company in 2014, and the magazine stopped published its influential charts three years later, in the midst of the lawsuit against Klein.
Amazing Radio has a similar focus on independent and emerging artists as the early CMJ, and hosts an online radio service specifically catered to those performers. The platforms also offers the ability for artists to upload songs through the site, which can then get placed on different stations, and allows fans to pledge money directly to artists. Amazing Radio originally intended to purchase the company in 2016, although they held off at the time to prevent themselves from facing Klein’s lawsuit.
“This is a revolution for American emerging artists; the opportunity to be played on the radio, increase their popularity through listener engagement, have the chance to play CMJ and grow their careers, all backed up by audience support and expert advice,” Hein stated in a statement. “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.”