Friday's announced merger between Metropolitan Talent and CMJ is designed to tap into CMJ's deep equity in college radio by bringing more live events to colleges and vitalize artist development from college markets, according to John Scher, co-CEO of Metropolitan Talent with Al Cafaro.

The move was announced by Scher, Cafaro and Bobby Haber, CEO of CMJ Network and Joanne Abbot Green, CMJ Music Marathon Executive Producer. Prior to the completion of the transaction, which is expected to take place by Q4, the companies will work together to combine resources and develop new properties.

By joining forces, Metropolitan Talent and CMJ will create live and Internet initiatives primarily aimed at the college music market. The companies will work closely with individual college radio stations, focusing on artist development and the discovery of new music. Additionally, they will work together to create stand-alone events modeled after the established CMJ Music Marathon.

Effective immediately CMJ has relocated to the Metropolitan offices at 100 5th Avenue in New York City.

Scher says CMJ's potential in college markets is ripe for expansion. "They
have a direct relationship with over 600 college radio stations, and in having that relationship they're also an approved vendor at every single campus," he tells Billboard.biz.

Scher says the "initial synergy" of the merger will "expand that relationship with these stations beyond just exchanging music and reporting and reviews."

College radio and administrations are looking for ways to bring in more music and music education, Scher says.

"We plan on being able to take that relationship further, to be able to put together national college-themed tours and bring them to campuses in association with the radio station," says Scher. "We believe there are other events, perhaps not quite as big as Marathon, themed with college radio and college kids. We also think that's the one place right now that the discovery of new music is really in an active form."

College markets are a key place to re-establish an artist development environment that Scher believes has been stymied by consolidation at radio, record labels and the concert industry. "Having a more direct relationship with college radio you're going to get a good sense of the artists that are starting to bubble under and we are a company that produces concerts, tours, manages artists, has an independent record company, having that relationship directly with those stations and people and young, active entrepreneurs while they're in college will help us get more involved in artist development and bringing those artists to the forefront," he says.

When the deal is consummated, Metropolitan will acquire CMJ. "At the moment we're living together but not married yet," Scher says. "This is the first of a number of moves we're about to make. We're going to try and enhance [CMJ's] presence, they'll help us by identifying artists that are starting to be really successful, and hopefully what will come out of this will be a 52-week a year flow of information and our ability to be able to go out here and bring some of these artists cross-country or to events will think will be meaningful."

Metropolitan is a multi-faceted entertainment company that includes concert division Metropolitan Talent Presents, an artist management division and independent record label Hybrid Recordings.

CMJ Network (www.CMJ.com) connects music fans and music industry professionals through interactive media, live events and print. CMJ.com offers a digital music discovery service, information resources, and community to music fans, professionals, and artists. CMJ Events produces the CMJ Music Marathon, the largest and longest-running music industry event of its kind, in addition to live events and tours across the U.S. The weekly music business trade magazine CMJ New Music Report is the primary source for exclusive charts of non-commercial and college radio airplay.