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Jobs & Training
CMU Info
Top Stories
Former Nation Of Islam man claims to know Biggie murderer
Better licensing, innovation and a working DEA will safeguard artist investment, says BPI Chair
In The Pop Courts
Pete Doherty released from prison
Awards & Contests
Commercial Radio Awards presented
Polaris shortlist announced
Artist Deals
Sugababes sign to Sony/RCA
Union Square signs Gilbert O'Sullivan
Release News
Noel Gallagher announces two solo albums
Active Child offers free download
Disclosure give away free EP
Gigs & Tours News
Onyx announce Fabric show
Yann Tiersen announces new album and tour dates
Festival News
Festival line-up update
The Music Business
Citigroup to seek EMI bids by end of month
Warner shareholders vote in favour of Access takeover
Imagem appoints new US syncs chief
The Digital Business
Spotify announces US launch... in a way
And finally...
Ke$ha likes "to pee on weird things"

Known collectively as electro dance-punk mavericks Robots In Disguise, London-based duo Sue Denim and Dee Plume first got together as students at Liverpool University, recruiting Sneaker Pimps' Chris Corner to produce their self-titled debut album in 2001. Longstanding associates of Noel Fielding, the Robots portrayed a pair of haughty goth girls in a batch of initial 'The Mighty Boosh' episodes in 2004, returning as haughty electro girls for the show's second series. Capitalising on their televisual triumph, RiB released second and third longplayers 'Get RID!' and 'We're In The Music Biz' in 2005 and 2008 respectively.

After promoting the latter LP on tour with fellow synth enthusiasts Gary Numan, Cyndi Lauper and The Gossip, the Robots began work on their latest LP 'Happiness V Sadness' with financial assists from fan-funded pledges. They then holed up in a studio space in London's King Cross and concocted a host of disco-destroying hits, which are now due for release on 11 Jul.

In the run-up to a string of tour dates which kick off on 20 Jul at Komedia in Brighton, the in-demand duo were good enough to tackle our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

Sue: I learnt a tiny violin as a tiny kid. And a few chords on a tiny guitar. Then, as a teen, I acquired a bass for a few quid, that subsequently lived under my bed. I listened to music more than trying to play it, though I did occasionally pose for photos with the bass. I then lent it to a boy I had my eye on and never saw him nor it again. Dee and I were friends, she wanted to be in a band, I didn't. I hooked her up with a singer, then they asked me to play bass. I still couldn't play, but borrowed a guitar and did the gig. That band didn't work out but somehow Robots In Disguise was born like an electro butterfly out of that garage caterpillar. We've still got a bit of garage rock caterpillar in our hearts!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

Sue: London, broken hearts, self-help, growing up.
Dee: Nam myoho renge kyo!

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

Sue: On this album, it's been mostly like this: a song originates with one of us, then we come together and bash it out on electric guitar and drums, before moving to guitar and bass together. Beats and production follow. Sometimes we have started from almost nothing but the concept, decided on some specifics and jammed until the track appears (eg 'I'm A Winner').

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

Dee: Amanda Blank, Peaches, Madonna. I am reading 'Women Who Run With The Wolves' on holiday in Cannes and that is turning my head inside out. I am power.
Sue: Longtime musical influences are The Slits, X Ray Spex, The Beatles (who were practically the only band played in my house growing up, them and fiddledeedee folk music), Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gary Numan, my dad (plays folk guitar and bagpipes!), Pixies and Velvet Underground. This month though I am mostly listening to The Death Set and Tender Forever. I'm also very influenced by art, film, love, life, everything. I try to keep the well of inspiration full! Other random stuff influences my music-making MORE than other music. Perhaps because I go to see more other types of art than I do gigs. Gets a bit 'busman's holiday' going to gigs all the time...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Sue: Hello! Thanks for listening... I do hope you will fall in love with our music... Oh, and did you know we have a back catalogue?!
Dee: Listen to it again, it's multi-textured and can take time to 'get'!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?

Sue: We want you to love this album as much as we do! And we want to be HEARD! Come out of the underground and make a little money so we can keep doing our job! Oh, and win the Mercury Music Prize! Come on! We could be the female Elbow! Or do we have to be on our fifth album for that? I reckon our fourth album is THE ONE!

MORE>> www.robotsindisguise.co.uk
There's no shortage of mysterious producers in dance music at the moment, but still there's something about Zomby that singles him out. On the one hand, he's known as a nameless guy who sometimes fails to show up for gigs and generally refuses interviews. But on the odd occasions he does speak to journalists, he comes across as being very open and enthusiastic. The more you discover, the more you get the feeling that is aloofness is more down to an inability to concentrate, rather than a desire to appear unapproachable.

Clearly he can concentrate long enough to create a cohesive album though, as his debut, 'Where Were U In 92', and the follow-up, 'Dedication', which is released by 4AD on Monday both prove. Though in the three years that separate the two LPs, Zomby's attention has shifted away from airhorn-heavy early 90s rave to something more sombre and introspective.

Also, less than half of the tracks on 'Dedication' break two and a half minutes, and at times they can feel like ideas that weren't quite fully formed. But even as a glimpse into Zomby's world, the standards are high, and despite being sixteen tracks in length, the album doesn't feel bloated. You can download one of its lengthier tracks, 'A Devil Lay Here', now, and stream the collaboration with Animal Collective's Panda Bear, 'Things Fall Apart', on YouTube.

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And so the Tupac and Biggie sagas continue. Following that recent admission by a jailed former associate of Czar Entertainment chief Jimmy Rosemond that he was involved in a robbery against the late Tupac Shakur back in 1994, now another jailed man has come forward to claim he was an accessory in the actual murder of the Notorious BIG, in that he helped hide the gun that killed the rapper in 1997.

The man, Clayton Hill, is a former member of the Nation Of Islam organisation, and he now claims it was through his involvement with that group that he played a role in covering up the murder of Biggie. He has told HipHopDX that shortly after the rapper, real name Christopher Wallace, had been shot dead he was instructed by various members of Nation Of Islam to meet with an anonymous man at a Greyhound Bus Station who would give him a package to be delivered to one of the religious organisation's buildings.

Hill claims that the anonymous man introduced himself as Dawoud Muhammad, and that he revealed he was on the run after murdering Wallace, who he had shot to order in return for a $25,000 cash payment. Hill alleges: "[Dawoud Muhammad] stated to me that he was on the run for the murder. He disclosed that he was the shooter of The Notorious BIG because he was a former Blood gang member and was paid to do so".

Hill says he was then handed a wrapped up semi-automatic gun which he, as he had been instructed to do, took to the personal driver of Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who would then take the gun to the "final destination within the headquarters of the Nation of Islam". Hill adds that he suspects Farrakhan himself was unaware of any of these activities, saying: "I doubt if Minister Farrakhan knew anything, he would have been insulated from that".

Of course, Hill's reliability as a witness will no doubt be questioned by some, while others will note he is speaking now because he is about to publish a book about his experiences. However, he insists that he initially disclosed all this information to the FBI late last year, and that might relate to reports earlier this year that investigations into the as yet unsolved murder of Wallace had been stepped up following the discovery of new evidence.

It's not clear if the alleged shooter Dawoud Muhammad is a new figure in the Biggie murder story, or whether it might have been an alternative name used by someone previously linked to the shooting, perhaps Amir Muhammed, the associate of one time LAPD officer David Mack, both of whom were linked to the crime in past investigations. Though nothing has ever been proven one way or the other, of course, except that the LAPD totally bungled up the initial investigation into Wallace's killing, possibly to protect their own.

Police investigations continue into both the unsolved and possibly linked 1996 and 1997 murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious BIG.

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Noting those stats released by the BPI yesterday, which outlined the achievements of British artists overseas, the Chair of the trade body, former EMI UK boss Tony Wadsworth, has attributed the successes to three things.

First, the abundance of raw musical talent in the country. Second, the strength and support of British music radio, especially the BBC stations - "don't cut music radio, BBC savings chiefs", says Tony. And third, unsurprisingly given his audience, the investments made by the nation's major and independent record companies.

Speaking at the BPI's AGM and annual member conference yesterday, Wadsworth said: "In 2009, the recording industry spent £200 million on A&R - over 20% of our income. Whilst the industry has been working to adapt to the digital age, our sales income has continuously declined. But, the percentage of income devoted to A&R has remained at the same level or higher".

He continued: "We have historically enjoyed a virtuous circle consisting of high sales leading to high investment, quality music, international income and continued high sales. This will become severely under threat should income decline much further. In order to avoid this virtuous circle turning into a downward spiral, it is essential that labels maximise all opportunities to sustain the sales levels, and indeed do all we can to pursue growth in some business areas".

Wadsworth, who recently reviewed the role of record companies for a MusicTank report, had a three point plan for ensuring the future of record labels and their investment in artist development. Firstly, he said, labels must continue to take a "positive approach" to licensing. "The UK licenses more digital services than any other territory", he said. "But we need to facilitate and encourage more new services if the business is going to build to a scale which works for us".

Second, and more interesting, Wadsworth pointed out that while physical product may be in decline, it still generates the most revenue, and is far from being dead yet. The BPI chair said he was confident that physical sales could be reinvigorated, even in the digital age, "through innovative approaches with packaging, pricing, retail support and direct-to-consumer initiatives".

Point three, of course, was for government to get on with implementing the copyright sections of the Digital Economy Act, in particular kick starting the UK version of the three-strikes system, or "graduated response" as I'm sure on-message Tony would have called it. Wadsworth: "I firmly believe the fruits of the new digital economy are within our sights, but like any economy, it needs structure and a level of protection. Without this, the UK risks losing its winning position and could easily slide into becoming just another medium size music market, off the coast of mainland Europe".

As previously reported, Wadsworth will lead a mini-conference on the changing nature of record companies for MusicTank next week, more at www.musictank.co.uk.

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So, good news for German law enforcers; you can have a crack at locking Pete Doherty up after all. When we said yesterday that the Babyshambler wasn't due to leave the British jail in which he was serving a sentence for drug possession until August, it turns out he was already back on the streets.

As previously reported, Doherty is wanted in Germany to face charges of "careless intoxication" while a robbery took place at a record shop in the city of Regensburg in March of this year. He says he was drunk and was aware of a window being broken, but claims to have no other recollection of the incident. Being carelessly intoxicated apparently carries a sentence of up to five years in Germany.

Doherty was, of course, sentenced to six months in jail back in Britain in May. He was expected to serve three months of that sentence, taking him up to August, but according to Doherty's website, he was released on Tuesday. An update was posted to albionrooms.com on 5 Jul saying: "On this bright sunny morning Peter was released from prison and thanks everyone for their valued support whilst inside".

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So, it was the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards last night, the annual radio industry awards bash where the BBC can't nab all the prizes. Absolute Radio takes them all instead. No, not really, although it was a good night for the Absolute table. Real Radio and Oxford's JACKfm were also multiple prize winners.

And, the winners in full were...

Presenter of the Year (<300,000 TSA): Tommo, 97.1 Radio Carmarthenshire
Presenter of the Year (300,000 - 1 million TSA): Trevor Marshall, 106 JACKfm Oxfordshire
Presenter of the Year (1 million + TSA): Dixie & Gayle, Real Radio Yorkshire
Newcomer of the Year: The Ronnie Wood Show, Somethin Else for Absolute Radio
Radio Programmer of the Year: Gary Stein, Key 103
The Ali Booker Memorial Award for Journalist/News Team of the Year: Real Radio North East News

Breakfast Show of the Year: Christian O'Connell, Absolute Radio
Specialist Programme of the Year: The Ronnie Wood Show, Somethin Else for Absolute Radio
Feature of the Year: Baddiel & Skinner, Absolute Radio
Social Action Initiative of the Year: JACK in Afghanistan, 106 JACKfm Oxfordshire

Station Imaging Award: Real Radio North East Sport
Marketing Award: Capital FM network launch

Local Sales Team of the Year: Real Radio North West Local
National Sales Team of the Year: GTN (UK)

Best Branded Content: Blackberry Partnership with the Kiss Breakfast Show, Starcom and Bauer Radio
Best Creative Campaign: Tango Praiserama, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Most Effective Campaign: Barclays Business Take One Small Step Competition, Walker Media
Advertiser of the Year: British Gas
Media Agency of the Year: Mindshare

The PPL Most Played UK Artist on Commercial Radio: Take That
The PPL Best Breakthrough UK Artist on Commercial Radio: The Wanted

Radio Station of the Year (<300,000 TSA): 96.2 Touch FM
Radio Station of the Year (300,000 - 1 million TSA): 106 JACKfm Oxfordshire
Radio Station of the Year (1 million + TSA): Classic FM
Digital Station of the Year: Planet Rock
Schools Radio Award: ISCA College, Exeter

The RadioCentre Chairman's Award: Michael Hill, Radioplayer
The Arqiva Special Award: Fran Nevrkla, PPL
The Arqiva Gold Award: Dee Ford, Bauer Radio
The Arqiva Lifetime Achievement Award: David Jensen

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The shortlist is out for the Polaris Music Prize, the Canadian version of the Mercurys, following the release of a long list last month. As previously reported, all ten of the shortlisted Canadian artists will this year get a two grand prize. The overall winner, who gets thirty grand, will be announced on 19 Sep.

And here is this year's Polaris shortlist:

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Austra - Feel It Break
Braids - Native Speaker
Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Destroyer - Kaputt
Galaxie - Tigre et Diesel
Hey Rosetta! - Seeds
Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin On
The Weeknd - House Of Balloons

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Last month's report by the Sunday Mirror that the current Sugababes were about to sign to Sony Music have been confirmed. The group will now release through Sony's RCA, the group's management company Crown saying that the label's "passion for the music" and "enthusiasm for the talent" were the clincher. Presumably this means Island no longer had either, though the fact former Island A&R Nick Gatfield, who originally signed Subagbabes, is now at Sony presumably played a part.

Anyway, Crown's Managing Director Mark Hargreaves told reporters: "With Island Records, we enjoyed an extremely long and successful relationship, establishing Sugababes as a band whose name has for the past decade become a bi-word throughout Europe for hit records. Our decision to strike a deal with Sony came because it was important for us to treat this as a new chapter in the band's lifespan and to factor in all of the key elements that are essential to make any signing the right one; a passion for the music, enthusiasm for the talent, and a belief in the team to deliver. In Sony we found all of these qualities".

The aforementioned Gatfield added: "When we learned of the chance to sign Sugababes, we saw a great opportunity to work with [their management] Crown and continue to build on the band's legacy of successful hit-making. I believe we have an exciting future together operating through a new joint-venture model which incorporates the excellent creative skills of Mark Hargreaves and Sarah Stennett at Crown combined with the marketing and promotional assets that Charlie Lycett and the RCA team have to offer".

The first Sugababes single under the new deal will be released on 5 Sep.

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Union Square Music has signed a deal Gilbert O'Sullivan and will represent all of the songwriter's recordings from 1967 to 2007. The company has already announced a programme of re-issues, which will include thirteen albums, a best of compilation and a boxset.

Gilbert O'Sullivan told CMU: "Knowing how important it is to be with the right company, especially in this current climate, coupled with the fact that up to now I have resisted all offers of representation including online access, I am very pleased to be in the company of USM. Determination on their part, resistance on mine, meant it took quite a while, but with lunches, teas and coffee, we got there in the end".

Union Square MD, Peter Stack added: "USM are thrilled to be representing the Gilbert O'Sullivan catalogue. Gilbert is one of the UK's most loved and successful singers and songwriters with an amazing catalogue of recordings and we look forward to a creative, imaginative and profitable partnership".

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As expected, Noel Gallagher held a press conference in London yesterday to announce the release of his first solo material. The surprise he had up his sleeve was that he actually has two albums ready to go. The first, entitled 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds', will be released on 17 Oct via his own Sour Mash label, with distribution from EMI. The second, a collaboration with Future Sound Of London's psychedelic rock offshoot Amorphous Androgynous, will come out next year.

But enough about that, what everyone wanted to hear about really was his side of the story regarding the sudden implosion of Oasis at France's Rock en Seine in 2009. What exactly happened? Well, said Noel: "[Liam had] gone into his private dressing room and he'd picked up this guitar. He came back in and he was wielding it about like an axe. He was quite violent. At that point there was no physical violence but there was a lot of World Wrestling Federation stuff, he was like Randy Savage or something. It was an unnecessarily violent act and he nearly took my face off".

He added: "Liam doesn't like me. I don't get on with him, but he doesn't like me in a very violent way. I did everyone a favour when I left".

In response to Noel's press briefing, Liam issued his own statement via Twitter. It simply reads: "SHITBAG".

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Active Child is giving away a free download from his forthcoming debut album via the Adult Swim Singles Programme in the US.

Entitled 'Hanging On', and featuring his trademark choral vocals/harp/electronica combo, the fifth release in the weekly series quite delightfully follows immediately on from a Mastodon track.

Download the track here: www.adultswim.com/promos/201106_kiasingles/index.html

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CMU approved production duo/brothers Disclosure have announced that they are giving away a free EP to anyone who likes them. To formalise this, a fan must click the 'like' button on their Facebook page, just so they know you definitely do like them and you're not just downloading it to prop up a wonky virtual table or something.

Do the decent thing and get it here: www.facebook.com/disclosureuk?sk=app_178091127385

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Following next week's co-headline show by Ice Cube and Naughty By Nature at London's IndigO2 venue, fellow 90s rappers Onyx - or at least one half of the group, Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz - have announced that they will perform a one-off show at Fabric on 4 Aug.

Support will come from Iron Braydz, DJ 279, DJ Snuff, Rewd Adams, Triple Darkness, and Capital R.

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Yann Tiersen has announced that he will release a new album, 'Skyline', the follow up to last year's 'Dust Lane', later this year. The first single, 'Monuments', will be released on 8 Aug. You can see the video for the track here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF3WyEcgie4

Tiersen has also announced tour dates for October, as well as appearances at Latitude this month and ATP Curated by Jeff Magnum in December.

Tour dates:
20 Oct: London, The Roundhouse
21 Oct: Birmingham, Concorde
22 Oct: Leeds, The Brudenell
23 Oct: Glasgow, ABC1
24 Oct: Manchester Academy
25 Oct: Birmingham Academy

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BLOODSTOCK, Catton Hall, Derbyshire, 12-14 Aug: A whole lot of rockin type acts are fresh on the meaty Bloodstock bill, these being Avenge Thee & Naime, Blud Vera, Cryostorm, Decimation, Fantasist, Guardians Of Andromeda, Inferno, Last In Line, Obsessive Compulsive, Operation Error, Pig Iron and, of course, Zombie Militia. The festival is to host a score of fuzzy family favourites including Napalm Death, Nevermore, Kreator, Morbid Angel, The Rotted, and, who could forget, the mighty Coroner. www.bloodstock.uk.com/outdoor-festival-index.htm

LEEDS FESTIVAL, Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 26-28 Aug: SBTRKT, Gold Panda, Three Trapped Tigers and Becoming Real constitute the latest additions to the Alternative Stage line-up, as hosted by Transgressive Records, at this year's Leeds Festival. Twinned, of course, with its Reading-based counterpart, the dual events will both welcome the likes of co-headliners My Chemical Romance, Muse, Pulp and The Strokes. www.leedsfestival.com

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According to Bloomberg, Citigroup will next week distribute information about EMI to potential bidders for the British music major, with a view to taking initial offers from interested parties at the end of the month, or maybe early August. Bloomberg adds that the US bank now hopes to have a buyer pretty much in place by the end of the summer.

Of course, there have been rumours that Citigroup has been in informal talks with possible suitors for EMI ever since the bank repossessed the music company from equity group Terra Firma back in February. However, last month's announcement that Citigroup was now formally reviewing its options regarding the music firm was a sign more formal sale proceedings were now underway. That announcement last month said the possibility of a recapitalisation or an IPO would also be considered, though an all out sale seems most likely.

As previously reported, BMG and new Warner Music owners Access Industries are likely to bid for some or all of EMI, as are other majors Sony and Universal, and some of the other consortiums who unsuccessfully bid for Warner, in particular the one led by the Gores brothers.

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Talking of the Warner takeover, the American music major announced yesterday that at a special meeting of the music company's shareholders the proposed takeover by Access Industries was approved.

The Warner board, which already includes representatives from most of the company's key shareholders, approved the takeover in May. Access Industries will pay $8.25 per share, which works out at about $1.3 billion. When you take into account the debts Access will also take on as part of the deal, Warner Music is valued at about $3 billion.

The shareholder meeting also approved proposals to pay certain executives handsome bonuses in relation to the takeover. Warner said it now expects Access Industries' takeover to be completed by the third quarter of 2011.

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Independent music publisher Imagem has announced the appointment of Marc Mannino to head up a sync team in the US. Mannino began his career at Warner Music, but more recently has worked for marketing agency The Karpel Group, with a focus on the entertainment industry. In his new role he will oversee five staffers in New York and LA as Director of Music Synchronisation for Imagem Creative Services USA.

In a joint statement, Imagem's US COO Bill Gaden and VP Syncs Natasha Baldwin said: "We are delighted to welcome Marc on board; he will be an ideal leader for our American team, bringing his extensive entertainment industry contacts together with Imagem's ever-expanding global music catalogue business".

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Asked by Silicon Valley Watcher last month when Spotify would launch in the US, the streaming service's European General Manager and Global Vice President Of Ad Sales Jonathon Forster said it "won't launch before 5 Jul". And it didn't. But yesterday, that's 6 Jul, Spotify did post a new page to its website where American residents can sign up to receive invites when it does go live Stateside.

Here it is: www.spotify.com/uk/coming-to-the-us

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Hey Ke$ha, do you have any bad habits? Asked the NME. Sure, said Ke$ha, "I like to pee on weird things".

Hey Ke$ha, what 'low brow' things do you get up to on your tour bus? Well, said Ke$ha, acutely aware that she'd already used up her 'peeing on weird things' card: "Any guy that comes on my bus, because it's a bunch of chicks, we take a picture of their wiener area. We have a wall. The wall of wieners".

Oh, Ke$ha.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
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Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
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