CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 21st March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- French parliament to vote on interoperability laws
- Canadian industry report says P2P users buy more music
- MPAA to showcase P2P partnerships
- Canadian indies not happy with Junos line up
- MMF call for more collaboration with live sector
- Permira confirm HMV takeover off the agenda
- Single review: Simon Bookish - Terry Riley Disco
- Former Mean Fiddler man confirms Benicassim stake
- New festival for May
- Great Escape line-up news
- Massive Attack announce woodland gig
- The Drips single, album, tour
- Polytechnic extend UK tour
- Kooks announce instores
- Sheryl to get back on tour
- The Who on new album
- Idlewild man on solo project
- Dirty Pretty Things album stuff
- Album review: The Knife - Silent Shout
- Serbia and Montenegro withdraw from Eurovision
- Britney libel lawsuit on hold
- X-Factor finalists battle it out again
- Gately gets married
- Artex Monkey thingummy


Now I'm no Gennaro Castaldo and I don't have the facility to go through the rigorous statistical analysis that I am sure the HMV spokesman undertakes before he makes his regular public statements about the music charts, but I can't help noticing that the singles chart has been changing recently. The new entries that once filled most of the top ten now frequently appearing lower down the Top 40, and the tendency for tracks to enter the top three in week one and then sink into obscurity the second week is becoming less common. Hell, singles are actually moving up the chart in their second or third weeks of being on sale. Basically we are slowly seeing a return of chart trends of olden days before record labels developed 'the big push' marketing approach, where all efforts are made to ensure maximum sales in first week of release. I am guessing that this has something to do with the inclusion of download data into the chart and that it is a sign that, in the digital age, the demographic buying single tracks is growing - ie the majority of music fans who, after discovering songs they like through the singles chart, would have previously waited for the relevant album to go on sale, are now going on to their download platform of choice and buying the single track - their purchase often coming a week or two after the track's official release. Assuming my guesswork there is correct, this is surely a trend that is both welcome and interesting. Welcome because it means more attention might fall on the teens and twenties of the music charts, enabling tracks not backed by 'the big push' approach to gain an audience through more organic means. Interesting because it provides a new challenge for music marketing types. Is 'the big push' approach which many labels apply to more or less every mainstream release becoming increasingly less effective? Do we need a more 'gradual push' approach to succeed? So, a welcome trend in that it might take some power away from the music marketers, interesting because we'll get to see how the marketers win their power back.



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MySpace Of The Day: Joy Zipper
I wasn't hugely aware of New York boy-girl duo Joy Zipper until their most recent album 'The Heartlight Set' was released in 2005. It's a sweet, deliciously melodic album, and an LP that gave us the track '1', which we played (almost to death) on our Edinburgh Festival related ThreeWeeks radio show last summer. One of the three tracks on the MySpace page is 'Go Tell The World', another of our favourites from the album. They'd be worth the effort, if it was an effort; as it is, this is some of the most easily accessible and yet-not-bland pop I've heard for quite a while.

More on our MySpace Of The Day, plus Student Music Awards finalists WiserVice and National Snack answer the Same Six Questions right now at


Following further discussions but no vote last week, the French parliament is expected to vote later today on those previously reported proposals to introduce laws that could have radical implications for the digital music sector, and especially Apple Computers.

As previously reported, French politicians are proposing new legislation that would force technology firms to ensure that all digital music files work on all digital music players. If those proposals become law it is likely to have the biggest implications for Apple, whose entire business model is based on a download platform - iTunes - that sells music that can only be played on the company's own music players - iPods. The proposed laws would arguably make that business model illegal in France which might, some insiders say, lead to Apple leaving the French digital music market.

But Martin Rogard, an adviser to the French Culture Minister behind the proposals, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, makes no apologies for the moves to force interoperability into the download space, adding that he doubts Apple will leave the French market, and that French politicians can be expected to push for an adoption of the measures across Europe.

In an interview last week he said: "Someone who buys a song has to be able to listen to it, no matter which device or software they choose", adding: "I don't think it is in the interest of Apple to quit France or stop selling iTunes. But if they do, there will be plenty of companies who will be delighted to take their place".

Apple haven't said a great deal about the French proposals, but if France does indeed try to get its interoperability proposals adopted by the European Union, then simply bowing out of the French digital music sector won't be a solution, and Apple might have to rethink its strategy. Unless, of course, Apple could sidestep the new law on a technicality.

Interviewed on the French proposals by Bloomberg, Olivia Regnier of the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, who are generally in favour of interoperability, points out that the wording of the new legislation "is pretty obscure", which means Apple might be able to argue they are complying with the new rules without changing their business model.

This is because a consumer with the right software and know-how can buy a track from iTunes, burn it to CD (as the iTunes DRM allows), then put the CD back into their computer and use a bit of software like Audiocatalyst to re-rip the tracks as MP3s, which will play on any portable music device. Therefore, technically speaking, a consumer who buys a track from iTunes can play it on any device, if they can be bothered to go through the somewhat complex conversion process. Given the vague wording on the new French law, that might be enough to satisfy the new interoperability requirements.

Of course if Apple were to use that technicality to adhere to the law, it would require dwelling on and possibly promoting one of the major fundamental flaws of Apple and most other DRM technologies.


Now this is interesting. Michael Geist, who holds the Research Chair Of Internet And E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has been writing about a research report recently published by the Canadian Recording Industry Association which, he says, actually suggests a number of claims made by trade organisations like the CRIA regarding the use of P2P file sharing networks are not true. In fact the research seems to suggest that, in Canada at least, the existence of P2P networks actually encourages the legitimate purchase of music - an idea frequently put forward by those that oppose the major record companies' hardline approach against P2P.

Writing on his website, Geist says: "While CRIA regularly trumpets commissioned studies as evidence for the problems posed by P2P, this week it released a major study without any fanfare whatsoever. Conducted by Pollara last month, the study serves as part of CRIA's submission to the CRTC's Commercial Radio Review. What makes this particular study interesting (aside from the fact that it finally includes full details on responses and the actual questions posed), is that much of the data challenges many familiar CRIA claims".

Commenting on some of the reports findings, he continues: "The research concludes that P2P downloading constitutes less than one-third of the music on downloaders' computers, that P2P users frequently try music on P2P services before they buy, that the largest P2P downloader demographic is also the largest music buying demographic, and that reduced purchasing has little to do with the availability of music on P2P services. I've argued many of these same things, but now you don't have to take my word for it; you can take it from the record labels themselves."

From what we hear the report didn't suggest that the music industry should openly embrace all things P2P, but it did provide some evidence to back up what many have claimed for a while - that P2P has not had anywhere near the impact on record sales the major labels suggest, and that P2P users, while downloading large amounts of music from illegal sources, are also often the music industry's best legitimate customers.

The research has not received huge amounts of coverage, even in Canada, but it will be interesting to see if the findings have any impact on the P2P debate there - as previously reported, copyright laws in Canada are particularly slack when it comes to online file sharing, and the CRIA, supported by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, are lobbying for new legislation to enable a crack down on P2P usage akin to that being pursued in the US and elsewhere.


Talking of P2P type stuff, the Motion Picture Association Of America has announced it will be showcasing partnerships with a number of P2P companies at this week's TelecomNext conference in Las Vegas. The P2P companies in question are those that are looking at ways to use file sharing technologies to legitimately distribute content (mainly film, obviously) over the net - and include Audible Magic, CacheLogic, Peer Impact, Red Swoosh, Thomson Content Security and BitTorrent Inc. The move is part of the MPAA's bid to demonstrate that while it is working with the likes of the RIAA to tackle illegal P2P usage through the courts, it is also investing time into how P2P can be legitimately used to benefit the entertainment business.

The involvement of BitTorrent in this showcase is perhaps most interesting because, of course, BitTorrent technology, which enables the quicker transfer of large digital files, has been a particular headache for the music and film industries in the last couple of years. As previously reported, the man behind BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, is keen to find legitimate uses for his software - though it remains to be seen if the kids who utilise the technology are as enthusiastic about Cohen's co-ventures with the entertainment business as they were about using his software for illegitimate file sharing purposes.


And talking about Canada, which we also were, there is reportedly some resentment in Canada's independent sector about the number of international acts that have been booked to play at the upcoming Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Brits.

Some indie labels reckon the Canadian TV network that screen the awards show are dictating too much what happens at the event - with particular resentment that bands like Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas dominate the live line up, while the inclusion of showbiz names in the show mean that many of the Juno awards that indie and niche labels have a chance of winning aren't even presented at the televised ceremony.

Jam Showbiz quote Fred Litwin of Ottawa-based indie label NorthernBlues Music as saying: "A lot of people are talking about it. A lot of people are very upset", while Trevor Larocque of Toronto's Paperbag Records told the website sarcastically: "Coldplay's playing, I hear. They're an amazing Canadian band."

Meanwhile Marco Raposo of Toronto based hip hop group Pocket Dwellers, who are nominated for Best New Group, said: "Our award isn't going to be presented [on TV] because Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas have to play".

However organisers of the awards have been quick to defend their line up - pointing out that indie performers like Broken Social Scene, Bedouin Soundclash and Massari are all set to play, while home grown rapper Buck 65 will compose and perform the show's theme music. Executive producer John Brunton, meanwhile, says that because of the global names and showbiz guests the Junos can demand worldwide coverage which, he says, is to the benefit of the whole Canadian music industry. He told Jam: "Can we not start behaving like a world-class country and not be shy about sharing our stage with the biggest bands in the world? The small town thinking makes me insane."

If it's any consolation to the Canadian indies, I'd have much rather had Broken Social Scene or Arcade Fire play the Brits than home grown Coldplay. Actually, Celine Dion would have been better than Coldplay.


That there Music Managers Forum has called for more collaboration between the artist management and live music sectors. Speaking at the International Live Music Conference, which, by the way, took place in London last weekend, representatives from the management trade body said that their current Know More Campaign would include measures to increase discussions between managers and promoters and venues. Topics that should be discussed, according to the MMF, include the levies charged by venues on merchandise stalls and the growth of Instant Live style live recordings.

Speaking at ILMC, MMF Director Dougie Souness told delegates: "Know More - it's exactly that... increase the knowledge, information flow and understanding between all parties and reap the rewards. We are in a multi-billion pound industry and there is a real need for new business models to be considered regularly with increased transparency and understanding from all sides. In the case of the live industry - more creative partnerships between managers, agents, promoters, and venues could vastly improve the live experience for the consumer and further develop the artist / fan relationship that will benefit the entire music business."

Commenting on the MMF session at the conference, the organisation's Stuart Worthington told reporters yesterday: "Live music is not only the core of the music industry, it's the most important and dynamic sector, where roles and relationships are evolving rapidly. The message from the managers on the panel was very clear: old models create conflict and internecine disputes - we need new and genuine partnerships."

The MMF hopes to continue debate between the management and live sectors at an event ahead of their Roll Of Honour awards, being held in London on 19 Apr.


As expected, investment types Permira have said they will make no more offers to buy the HMV Group. As previously reported, Permira made a number of offers to buy the music and book retail business, the highest at 210 pennies per share, but HMV bosses knocked them back saying they had undervalued the company. Permira think otherwise, and say they won't be making any higher bids.

In one of those must-read Regulatory News Service statements, the investment house said: "Permira is disappointed at the response of the board and believes that the revised 210 pence cash per share proposal represented a compelling proposition for the shareholders of HMV".

With talk of being taken over now on hold, HMV will now renew its own efforts to stage a takeover - as previously reported, they fancy taking over book seller Ottakars and merging it with their Waterstones division, to create Waterkars, presumably.


SINGLE REVIEW: Simon Bookish - Terry Riley Disco (Playlouder Recordings)
With his Hoxton hair and general oddball-ness Simon Bookish (not his real day he works in a library...can you see what he did there?) brings to mind a kind of synth-pop Patrick Wolf, which is no bad thing really. Fiery synth-pop with 'clever', self-aware lyrics, drama school enunciation and nice computer game sounds, it's more proof that there's plenty of intelligent pop music being made these days; you just have to make the effort to hunt it out. 'Terry Riley Disco' suffers for perhaps trying a bit too hard, but still remains a lot of fun. The accompanying Capitol K remix is slightly more interesting, and arguably imbued with actual genius. Piling on mutoid breaks and utilising retro cartoonish string samples that make the whole thing sound like an episode of Tom And Jerry filmed in Shoreditch (possibly), it is, quite frankly, totally bonkers but brilliant with it. (Sadly, the Max Tundra remix is just rubbish.) Anyway, I was going to say "Give this man a record deal", but, turns out, he's already got one. Oh. MS
Release date: 27 Mar
Press contact: Motion Group [all]


Former Mean Fiddler owner Vince Power has confirmed he has bought a majority stake in Spain's Benicassim Festival, which he describes as being "like the Reading Festival but with sunshine".

As previously reported, Power sold Mean Fiddler to Clear Channel last year, and his former interests in the live space are now being run by Clear Channel's new live entertainment business Live Nation. One of the clauses of the sale means Power is unable to own or run festivals in the UK for three years, hence his decision to look further afield to operate in the festivals space.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Power says that being forced out of the UK festival market is, if anything, a blessing: "The festival market in the UK is saturated anyway. In the summertime there are two festivals every month". With that in mind Power says he sees his investment into the Spanish music festival as the first in a number of European partnerships - with plans to get involved with music events in Eastern Europe, and especially Poland and Hungry.


Well, as Mr Power says, the festival market in the UK is becoming pretty saturated. But what the hell, let's welcome yet another new one, The Sound Station Festival, a 7000 capacity one day event set to take place in Birmingham in May. Graham Coxon is to headline the mainstage, joined by Orson, Boy Kill Boy and CMU favourites The Crimea. Kenny Dope, Mr Scruff and Bugz In The Attic are also set to appear at the event's B-Live Arena.

All takes place at Eastside park from 2pm - 11pm on 28 May, tickets on sale from 30 Mar.


A host of quality acts are lining up to play at The Great Escape in Brighton this year. And just in case you don't know what The Great Escape is, it's a new music conference along the lines of SXSW, which this year will feature talks from guests such as Michael Eavis, Mani, Peter Hook, Rob Da Bank and that lovely Andy Rourke.

The line-up of bands booked to play includes Kubb, The Bees, The Futureheads, Brakes, The Cribs, The Feeling, Martha Wainwright, Richard Hawley, Electric Soft Parade, Fields, The Upper Room, This Et Al, Guillemots and Ladyfuzz.

The event takes place from 18 - 20 May in Brighton. Delegate passes for the conference, plus three day passes for the live music events, are on sale now. See for info and tickets.


Massive Attack are to play a gig at the Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire on 30 Jul as part of the Forestry Commission's Music In The Forest line-up. Previously announced acts for this year's series of gigs include Embrace and Van Morrison. Tickets for the event go on sale this Friday at 9am. Massive Attack are, of course, set to release their new best-of, 'Collected', on 27 Mar.


Distillers' guitarist Tony Belivaqua's band The Drips, who've apparently been around for a few years without releasing any material, are to, er, release some material. The group, which also features members of The Bronx, Los Lobos and Suicidal Tendencies, are to release a single '16,16, Six' via Wichita on 5 Jun. It's preceded by an eponymous debut on 24 Apr, which was apparently recorded in just two days at the Wet & Dry studios in California.

The Drips will also play three UK tour dates next month, as follows:

23 Apr: Manchester Roadhouse
24 Apr: London Barfly
25 Apr: York Barfly


Polytechnic have extended their UK tour, and are now set to play seventeen dates to follow the release of new single 'Won't You Come Around/ Let Me Down' on 3 Apr. Full dates as follows:

4 Apr: Stoke Sugarmill
5 Apr: Leicester Charlotte
6 Apr: Bristol Louisiana
7 Apr: Peterborough Mel Lounge
8 Apr: Walsall Wharf 10
10 Apr: Coventry Colleseum
12 Apr: Brighton Shambles
13 Apr: London Fabric
14 Apr: Wolverhampton Little Civic
15 Apr: Sheffield Leadmill
16 Apr: Glasgow King Tuts
17 Apr: Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
20 Apr: Northampton Soundhaus
21 Apr: Liverpool Korova
24 Apr: Middlesbrough Cornerhouse
27 Apr: Swindon Brunel Rooms
28 Apr: Ipswich Drum And Monkey


The Kooks have announced four instores to coincide with the release of their new single 'Naïve' on 27 May. Dates as follows:

27 Mar: Camden Fopp, 6pm
28 Mar: Birmingham Swordfish Records, 5pm
29 Mar: Bury, Vibes, 1pm
29 Mar: Leeds, Jumbo Records


Sheryl Crow has rescheduled the North American tour dates she was forced to cancel following her recent breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery. The 44 year old singer, who is currently undergoing radiotherapy, will be back on the road in June, and has added extra live dates in July.

In a message posted on her website, Crow wrote: "I'm doing really well. Strangely, I feel clear and optimistic." On the subject of the summer tour, she added: "It is my favourite time to tour and I feel certain, for me, it will be a celebration every night of how lucky I feel with this life I've been given."


Roger Daltrey has been speaking to Billboard about The Who's new album. It'll be the band's first studio LP since 'It's Hard' back in 1982, and Daltrey says there's no release schedule planned: "It will come out when it is ready. What's the point of trying to give yourself deadlines that aren't really important? I think we have to get it good before we can finish it. We are doing it in a very different way. All the time that John [Entwistle] was in the band, we kind of felt we had to go in as a group. Now, it is really only Pete and I, and Pete wants to do all the guitars and some of the bass playing."

He added some words of praise for colleague Pete Townshend, in particular for a song called 'Black Widow's Eyes' which is all about Stockholm Syndrome, the condition affecting hostages who develop an empathy for their kidnappers: "The fact that he's done that in music and words, and he completely sums up Stockholm Syndrome in this song, is so haunting. Imagine how difficult it is for Pete. He doesn't need to write another song. God almighty, all that music out of one head. But he seems driven at the moment, which is great because I've always felt that he was the kind of writer who would write his best stuff at the age he is now. His skills have caught up with his intellect."

Daltrey also spoke about an upcoming biopic about late drummer Keith Moon. "We've had three or four scripts written, and we've never quite nailed what we wanted to do. We've got a new writer. A very famous writer, a Pulitzer Prize winner indeed. I can't name him because I don't know the situation at the moment. You can't tell someone's life story in two hours on film. If I can do it, I hope to make a real rock 'n 'roll film that will be funny, poignant, sad, celebratory, all the things that Moon was. But if I can't, I'm very glad that I'm holding the reins and stopping any bad films of Keith Moon being made."

Finally, the singer also intimated that he is becoming very hard of hearing, explaining that he now only listens to light classical music at home, and saying "I haven't got much hearing left and what I have I want to keep."


Idlewild man Roddy Woomble has been working on a solo album with producer John McCusker, and has written a post about it at The singer says: "This solo album has in a lot of ways allowed me to write the kind of songs I never could with Idlewild. I'm very much a part of that band, it's as much [bandmates] Allan, Colin, Rod and Gavin's band as it is mine, so this whole experience has been full of nerves and excitement, and pride. It might sell two hundred copies, but the fact that it's going to exist is enough for me."

Woomble also added that Idlewild, who broke with Parlophone last year, are slowly looking to move on, saying the band have "been talking to a bunch of different record labels, but we're in no rush to commit to anything as yet. It's been really enjoyable to write Idlewild songs and not to worry about what anyone thinks of them other than us. It's a bit like starting a band all over again."


Dirty Pretty Things have confirmed details for their debut album. 'Waterloo To Anywhere' is set to be released on 8 May, preceded by the release of a single 'Bang Bang You're Dead' on 24 Apr. We've also got... yeah, you got it... a tracklisting. Here it is:

Doctors & Dealers
Bang Bang You're Dead
Blood Thirsty Bastards
The Gentry Cove
Gin & Milk
The Enemy
If You Love A Woman
You Fucking Love It
Last Of the Small Town Playboys


ALBUM REVIEW: The Knife - Silent Shout (Brille Records)
This is exactly the sort of thing Björk should be up to these days, instead of all the self-indulgent fartery of her last album. Whereas The Knife's previous album 'Deep Cuts' was slightly in hoc to 80s electro-pop, this takes its lead from 90s techno, ambient and electronica. Direct, futuristic and minimal, it's a thing of chic, sleek beauty indeed, albeit with glistening white teeth sharp enough to rip you apart. You already know the Kraftwerkian robo-pop of the's a good taster for the album, but by no means the best thing on it. 'Marble House' could be Plaid or Aphex at their otherworldly best, except it's given a flamboyant pop sheen by the vocals of Karin Dreijer (sounding far more affecting than normal here) and a genius whistling coda to boot. 'The Captain' is built on some beautifully evocative synth stabs... kind of Detroit techno given a Euro facelift, whilst 'We Share Our Mothers' Health' is just utterly mental, frankly, but The Knife do electro barminess so well, it simply becomes something to behold and cherish. 'Silent Shout' may yet be trumped by the Pet Shop Boys in terms of synth-pop album of the year, but this is still bewilderingly good. I'd go so far as awesome, in fact. MS
Release date: 27 Mar
Press contact: Motion Group [all]


Serbia And Montenegro have officially withdrawn from Eurovision following that previously reported disagreement over claims that Montenegrin judges cheated to give their own state's representative the chance to represent the federation at this year's song contest.

As you will remember, the winning band, No Name, were booed from the stage by a mainly serb audience at the country's own version of our 'Making Your Mind Up' show earlier this month. Serbia subsequently called for the competition to be re-run, but Montenegro refused to agree, and no solution to the problem has been found. The European Broadcasting Union was officially informed of the decision at a meeting in Athens.

Aleksandar Tijanic, the head of Serbian broadcaster RTS said in a statement: "It would be better for all of us not to have a representative at the contest in Athens. Otherwise, we would have to accept manipulations, pressures and blackmails imposed by the music clans and political mentors who brought us to this embarrassing situation."

Tijanic is also head of UJRT, an organisation which exists to mediate between broadcasters from Serbia and Montenegro. All of the members of that board agree that the Montenegrin judges, who did not give any points to any Serbian acts at the contest, have violated the statute and the spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest. It's good news for Croatia however; they have now been given a place in the final and will now no longer have to take part in the qualifying round.


Britney Spears' libel lawsuit against Us Weekly magazine is on hold because a judge says she needs more information to make a ruling. The magazine is trying to have the $20 million lawsuit launched by Britney dismissed. Ms Spears is suing over the story that she had made a sex tape with hubby K-Fed and that the couple were worried about it being made available publicly. A lawyer for the magazine confirmed last week that the judge hearing the case had allowed Spears' legal team to question Us Weekly's editor and a former employee outside the court room to help them expand their case. The judge says she needs more information from both sides before proceeding. With that in mind, all parties will regroup at the LA court on 3 May - hopefully with sufficient information.


X-Factor finalists Andy Abraham and Journey South are to battle each other again this week - this time in the charts, as both have just released their debut albums, thoughtfully timed to coincide with Mothers' Day, no doubt. Journey South are apparently just ahead at the moment with their eponymous long player, but Abraham's 'The Impossible Dream' is not far behind.

Woolworths music boss Jim Batchelor says: "Journey South have got off to a good start and look set to smash the 175,000 mark in their first week of sales. But Andy has also sold well and there's only a couple of hundred CDs in it. The race to be number one will go down to the wire. With Mother's Day around the corner, you couldn't have picked two better albums to appeal to mums. If you're a mum, expect to be unwrapping either Journey South or Andy Abraham albums on Sunday morning."


Former Boyzone star Stephen Gately has married his partner, internet entrepreneur Andy Cowles, in a private civil partnership ceremony in London. The ceremony follows those previously reported legal changes that introduced same-sex partnerships on 15 Dec last year. Gately, whose very public coming out hit the headlines back in 1999, is currently pursuing an acting career.

The ceremony took place at the Goring Hotel, and was attended by former bandmates Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch. Elton John, who was rumoured to be attending, didn't show up, and neither did former Boyzone manager Louis Walsh, who said he "couldn't make it because I've got a touch of the flu."


And so to today's time-wasting suggestion. Someone has set up an affectionately spoofy website promoting 'Artex Monkey', whose tracks, available to download, include 'A Bet Tha Luks Gud On A Pushbike' and 'Fake Tans of Barnsley Disco'. It's here if you want to take a look:

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