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CMJ Music Marathon to Relaunch in 2020

CMJ Music Marathon, the New York-based music festival and conference ran from 1978 until 2016, is apparently relaunching next year.

Details are scant, but a tweet from the company’s official account said that the festival is under “new management” — which means that its most-recent CEO, Adam Klein, who was ordered by a judge to pay more than $500,000 to former employees who sued him in 2016 over unpaid wages, is no longer involved.

The company’s Twitter account, which was apparently idle for three and a half years, sprung into action today after the announcement, with a number of enthusiastic responses to followers’ comments.

Variety received a reply from the info@cmj.com within 10 minutes of inquiring today, which promised more information “ASAP” and was signed “The new folks at CMJ.” Pitchfork asked further questions but received a noncommittal response: “We cannot wait to be back… and we are really looking forward to explaining everything … but we’re sorry to say that, right now, we can’t lift the lid any further,” their email read. “We promise to let you know, as soon as we can, what is going on and what we have planned,” and their reply was signed “The Mystery new CMJ Management people.”

CMJ was a long-running college-and-alternative-radio-based trade publication founded by Bobby Haber in 1978, and its first conference was called a “Brainstorm,” which evolved into the Marathon. Over the years, some of the biggest alternative acts in the world performed at the conference early in their careers, ranging from R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Soundgarden, Spiritualized and Phoenix; its conference featured many panels, largely about the alternative music industry, and guest speakers ranging from Ice-T and Motorhead’s Lemmy to Abbie Hoffman and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. (This reporter worked for CMJ for several years.)

Haber and longtime Marathon chief Joanne Abbott Greene left CMJ several years ago and founded the Mondo NYC conference in 2015, which has a more music-and-tech bent than the Marathon but recalls its spirit. This year’s conference, which was held at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Hotel, was its best-attended to date. Haber did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

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