Britain's Amazing Radio Acquires CMJ, Plans Fall Reboot and Help For Musicians

Courtesy Photo

Amazing Radio, the British-based internet radio service that focuses on new and emerging artists in the U.K., has emerged as the mystery buyer behind long-troubled U.S. industry conference and festival brand CMJ.

In a press release, the executives at Amazing Radio — including Amazing Radio founder Paul Campbell and operating company Amazing America CEO Andrew Zicklin and chairman/Enigma Records co-founder Bill Hein — promised that the CMJ Music Marathon will relaunch in the fall, after a five-year hiatus brought on by lawsuits and mismanagement.

Amazing Radio, launched in 2009, is a global digital radio service based in the U.K. with a U.S. version slated for this year to coincide with CMJ, which is sourced from new and independent music uploaded to and then filtered into a slew of radio stations. A press release says that the announcement of the regenerated CMJ was meant for later in the year but was pushed up due to the coronavirus pandemic, with online streams and virtual concert components designed to help musicians in need due to lost touring and other revenue.

Courtesy of CMJ
L-R: Andrew Zicklin, Bill Hein and Paul Campbell

Musicians can upload their music and begin to receive station streams, fans can pledge money directly to individual artists, and 100% of the proceeds go to musicians, the release says.

"It’s the perfect fit," Campbell said in a statement. "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 finally simply disappeared from the public eye in 2016 after years of financial issues and repeated promises to return, with former owner Adam Klein and his Abaculi Media mired in litigation of unpaid wages and other expenses following its acquisition of the brand in 2014. CMJ had been held in New York City annually for 35 years before holding its final Music Marathon in 2015 and never returning. Its original founders started a new festival and conference, Mondo, in New York City in recent years.

"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 exert advice," said Hein 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."

"By combining CMJ and Amazing Radio, we are fusing live and digital to blow up the opportunities for new artists to find the fame -- and cash -- they deserve," said Zicklin in a statement. "This is more important than ever in these turbulent times. I think we really caught lightning in a bottle with this tie-up."