An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 7 October 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: Annie Lennox is the latest veteran pop star to join the debate over the highly sexualised videos and performances being peddled by certain (often American) female singers in recent years, expressing similar fears to those written by Sinead O'Connor last week, in her original open letter to Miley Cyrus... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: The first reaction upon hearing this otherworldly slice of mechanised pop music is, frankly, "what the hell is this?" The answer is simple: those crazy Scandinavians are putting us to shame yet again, with imaginative innovative electronic pop music that sounds like no-one else... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Lennox joins sexualised pop debate
LEGAL Hill released from jail, releases new track
A Day To Remember win court approval to release album without label
DEALS Spielberg siblings sign to Jay Z's Roc Nation
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal announces new high quality audio releases
Avicii track sells over a million
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV Chairman shares plans via NME blog post
BRANDS & MERCH Live Nation's O2 alliance extended to Southampton Guildhall
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Yorke still down on Spotify, says it's getting in the way of direct to fan
MEDIA Radio 1 to launch iPlayer video channel
RELEASES Ane Brun announces and releases rarities compilation
Release round-up: Black Sabbath DVD and Lauryn Hill post-prison song, plus Goat and Cults
GIGS & FESTIVALS Gary and Robbie announce solo shows
Gigs & Tours round-up: Neutral Milk Hotel, Fuck Buttons, Keane
Festival line-up update: Bearded Theory, The End and Farmer Phil's Festival
AND FINALLY... Olly Murs insisted he strip, says G-A-Y chief
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Lennox joins sexualised pop debate
Annie Lennox is the latest veteran pop star to join the debate over the highly sexualised videos and performances being peddled by certain (often American) female singers in recent years, expressing similar fears to those written by Sinead O'Connor last week, in her original open letter to Miley Cyrus, that these performers are being unknowingly exploited by a misogynistic music industry chasing the sexed-up pop girl dollar without considering the impact it is having on their often young fanbases, male and female.

Following last week's online skirmish between Cyrus and O'Connor, though not exclusively commenting on the recent Miley reboot, Lennox wrote on Facebook on Saturday: "I have to say that I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos. You know the ones I'm talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment. As if the tidal wave of sexualised imagery wasn't already bombarding impressionable young girls enough".

She went on: "I believe in freedom of speech and expression, but the market forces don't give a toss about the notion of boundaries. As long as there's booty to make money out of, it will be bought and sold. It's depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that misogyny utilised and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it's all justified by how many millions of dollars and YouTube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It's a glorified and monetised form of self harm".

Returning to the social network yesterday, Lennox clarified: "On reflection I will say that sexuality is an inherent and profound part of life. There is absolutely nothing 'wrong' about our sexuality or sensuality per se - but if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only".

Continuing: "I'm talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children's protection. Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don't think so. Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the 'normalisation' of explicit sex in under age entertainment. That means - no audiences under 18. Simple! Well - not quite. The internet has put paid to 'boundaries' and 'simple'".

Lennox and O'Connor aren't the only people joining in with this debate; Britney Spears too, as someone much more closely linked to the current generation of pop ladies, has expressed some concerns as well. She's told Boston radio station AMP 103.3: "A lot of sex goes into what I do. But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was like one outfit through the whole video, and you're dancing the whole video, and there's like not that much sex stuff going on. It's about the dance and it's about being old school, it's like keeping it real and just making it about the dance. I'd love to do a video like that".

Then asked if she felt pressured by her management to produce more sexualised performances, such as that seen in her latest video for the track 'Work Bitch', Spears said that she did. Though reps both for her manager Larry Rudolph (also Cyrus's manager) and father/business manager Jamie Spears insisted that wasn't the case. They told TMZ: "Britney is never pressured into anything. She reviews all creative and for her 'Work Bitch' video she discussed toning down some parts in finding a balance of sexy and being a mom".

Of course the pressure Spears and others feel may be more subtle than a manager or label rep insisting on more tit or ass in this shot or that; because in the YouTube age pop stars can see for themselves that rival performers are generating more hits and shares when they take their clothes off and twerk for the camera.

And even if the pop industry isn't overtly demanding that its female stars strip and wiggle, it's no secret that the pop machine does demand big numbers. Which is possibly why Cyrus, so keen to shirk the Hannah Montana image created for her by 'the man', has voluntarily chosen to rebel against the system by reinventing herself in the only other image the same 'man' could have imagined.

This debate, I am sure, will continue for sometime. Until, perhaps, a strong-minded American pop songstress realises that the really edgy thing to do in 2013 is keep your clothes on. Though real edge might also hit those YouTube stats.

Hill released from jail, releases new track
Lauryn Hill was released from jail on Friday, having completed the previously reported three month sentence she was handed over a failure to pay taxes.

The one-time Fugee's attorney Nathan Hochman told the Associated Press: "She was released several days early based on a number of factors the Bureau Of Prisons takes into consideration, including good behaviour. She will now start today a one-year period of probation with three months of home confinement during that year".

The evening before her release Hill made available a new track, more on which in today's Release Round Up.


A Day To Remember win court approval to release album without label
American metalcore band A Day To Remember have announced that they will release their fifth album 'Common Courtesy' tomorrow without the involvement of their record company Victory Records, following a court ruling rejecting an attempt by the label to block the record's release.

A Day To Remember has been in legal dispute with Victory since May 2011. Reports suggest that the band accuse the record company of failing to pay them all the royalties they are due, while the label has seemingly accused the band of trying to get out of their record contract so they can sign to a major. The legal squabbling is ongoing, but a judge has given the band the OK to release 'Common Courtesy' without Victory's involvement in the meantime.

A spokesman for the band told CMU: "In May of 2011 we joined the long list of bands that have filed suit against Victory Records. Although our case is still ongoing, we are very pleased with the judge's decision to allow us to release our next record. The only thing that has mattered to us while dealing with this lawsuit was getting new music to our fans. We are finally going to do that on October 8th and we couldn't be more excited!"

The album will be released digitally only, and will be available from

Spielberg siblings sign to Jay Z's Roc Nation
Here's a thing; Jay Z has signed alt-pop siblings Wardell - aka Theo and Sasha Spielberg - to Roc Nation.

A band since 2010, the pair released 'The Brother/Sister EP' earlier this year, and will apparently do the same with an LP in 2014.

And yeah, they're Steven Spielberg's kids.

Universal announces new high quality audio releases
Just because previous efforts to persuade music fans to re-buy their favourite albums in a super quality audio format haven't really achieved much, well, that's no reason not to have another go at it, is it?

And so Universal Music announces High Fidelity Pure Audio, a new stack of physical record releases that use Blu-ray technology to "deliver the ultimate listening experience to the user". There will be "no compression, no compromise" on the new releases, though if buyers feel like compromising and experiencing a little compression, each release will come with a download code that enables them to access the same music in MP3 format.

Music by Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Queen, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder, plus a bunch of classical and jazz albums, will be available in the new format, with the first releases coming later this month.

Universal's Global Head Of New Business Olivier Robert-Murphy told CMU: "We are very excited about the potential for High Fidelity Pure Audio, allowing music lovers to experience the work of artists in a way that has never before been possible. Once you hear High Fidelity Pure Audio you can feel the full richness and depth of an artist's vision".


Avicii track sells over a million
'Wake Me Up' by Avicii has become the 140th million-selling single in UK chart history it's been confirmed, while Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars' has also recently passed the million-copies sold landmark, albeit by going a slightly slower route than the Avicii hit.

As previously reported, in the download age the number of tracks reaching the million-UK-sales point is increasing. This year three new tracks have already passed that mile-stone; in addition to 'Wake Me Up', Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' and this summer's rape anthem 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke have both also achieved that accolade.

Commenting on the latest million seller, Official Charts Company's CEO Martin Talbot told CMU: "Congratulations to Avicii - hitting the million mark is a superb achievement for any act. It has been a fantastic year for smash hit singles with three 2013-released million-sellers already, and we can be sure that Avicii is not going to be the last millionaire of this year!"

So that's all lovely. And what a good time this would be to read our recent interview with Mr Avicii himself.

HMV Chairman shares plans via NME blog post
The boss of newish HMV owner Hilco, Paul McGowan, who is also now Chairman of the flagging entertainment retailer, has penned a blog post for NME in which he outlines five plans for making the music seller better.

The five point plan includes: "improve what we stock, relaunch our digital store, increase the number of Fopp-branded stores, increase instore-gigs and listen to local stores". None of which is particularly ground-breaking, though it has been noted before that communication between HMV HQ and its local stores became more and more one-way in the last decade and a half, which enabled management to ignore new challenges for way too long, so the last point could be key to achieving new success.

Though the better utilisation of the Fopp brand is perhaps the most interesting idea on that list. On that point McGowan writes: "We've been examining what's going on the independent record store market and learned some good practice there, which we can act on via Fopp. It's quite a different brand from HMV and we're looking to expand the number of Fopp stores".

Of course, while there is still some love for the once independent Fopp shops, the brand has become synonymous with cut-price CDs on HMV's watch, and it remains to be seen if that remains if the network is expanded.

Meanwhile, while the streamlined HMV, brought out of administration by Hilco in April, steps up its marketing efforts as we head into the Christmas quarter, there are still some legacy challenges for the firm to tackle. The chain's one shop on the Isle Of Wight is set to close, it's been confirmed, though because of issues with the current landlord the retail firm says. Whether it will look for an alternative unit on the island remains to be seen.

Live Nation's O2 alliance extended to Southampton Guildhall
Another venue with O2 in it's name? Well why the devil not. Because while they might be useless at providing telecom services, O2 is definitely a market leader when it comes to sticking your logo on the side of gig theatres.

The latest venue to add O2 to its name is the Southampton Guildhall, or the O2 Guildhall Southampton if you prefer. Although owned by Southampton Council, the Guildhall is operated by Live Nation, which already has O2 branding on fifteen of its other venues (if you include its Academy Music Group subsidiary).

Commenting on the extension of that partnership to Southampton, Live Nation UK COO Paul Latham told CMU: 'This is a fabulous example of how we at Live Nation work with our respective partners to deliver a great offering to our customers. In this instance, we are combining the heritage and civic pride of our partner at Southampton Council with the vision and talent of our marketing partners at O2, to deliver enhanced facilities and engagement opportunities".

Meanwhile Southampton Councillor Matt Tucker added: "Having this landmark building as an O2 venue represents a massive step forward in the establishment of the city's Cultural Quarter. This new relationship will help ensure that O2 Guildhall Southampton remains one of the most important event venues on the South Coast, encourage more visitors to the city and provide value for the people of Southampton".

Yorke still down on Spotify, says it's getting in the way of direct to fan
Thom Yorke's still down on Spotify, in case you wondered. After he backed collaborator Nigel Godrich's anti-Spotify ranting earlier this year, the Radiohead frontman was asked about the streaming music service in a recent interview with Mexico's (an interview translated by Consequence Of Sound).

Expanding a little on the theme so that his argument actually makes more sense, Yorke basically says that he feels the role of streaming platforms like Spotify has been exaggerated, and that the real revolution in music caused by the internet is the potential of direct-to-fan. And on that point he's almost certainly correct, though I think even the biggest D2F advocates in the music industry reckon artist-controlled fan services can co-exist with online music platforms that utilise a wider catalogue.

But Yorke says that Spotify-type services are actually "the last gasp of the old industry", before noting: "When we did the 'In Rainbows' [pay-what-you-want] thing, what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it's just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don't need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off".

You can read more of Yorke's recent Spotify ramblings on Consequence Of Sound here.

Radio 1 to launch iPlayer video channel
Radio 1 has been rather obsessed with creating video content for a while now, even though you could argue that the generously funded (via the BBC licence fee) radio station should really concentrate on what it does best, ie audio, and let the Beeb's telly division concentrate on audio-visual.

Though record pluggers might argue that with so few outlets on mainstream BBC TV for new music - to such an extent that the Andrew Marr Sunday morning politics show has weirdly become a top target for labels seeking live performance opportunities for their acts -the news that Radio 1 is getting its own video channel on the iPlayer should be welcomed.

While Radio 1 bosses will point out that their youth demographic rarely consumed one form of media in isolation, and a combination of audio and video is needed to engage the audience the BBC Trust insists it must service. So perhaps we should all welcome the just announced iPlayer-enabled Radio 1 video channel, and just let its direct commercial rivals (MTV, Box TV, the now TV-focused Global Radio) do the grumbling.

Says Radio 1 boss Ben Cooper: "I'm very excited about transforming Radio 1 from being just a radio station into being a full audio-visual channel. Radio 1 has always pioneered innovative ideas and led the way in engaging with young people and this is another huge step in cementing that reputation".

  Approved: Museum Of Bellas Artes - Twine
The first reaction upon hearing this otherworldly slice of mechanised pop music is, frankly, "what the hell is this?" The answer is simple: those crazy Scandinavians are putting us to shame yet again, with imaginative innovative electronic pop music that sounds like no-one else.

'Twine' is a taster from this Stockholm three piece's forthcoming debut album 'Pieces'. Hard to pigeonhole (think Fever Ray meets Sisters Of Transistors), it's an irresistible slice of female-fronted baroque synth-pop that flirts with being an 80s Italo track, has a faint though possibly misleading scent of early 90s dance music, and fits perfectly into our anything-goes post-electro world.

'Twine' is the kind of thing Lady Gaga would be doing if her music was as bold and bonkers as her image. Or if she was Swedish.

'Pieces' is out 11 Nov on Best Fit Recordings. Twine is previewing on Soundcloud now.

CLICK HERE to read and share online

Ane Brun announces and releases rarities compilation
Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun has announced that she is following up her tenth anniversary celebrating compilation 'Songs 2003-2013', which was released in June, with a new rarities collection. Handily, it is simply titled 'Rarities'. And the new record is available with immediate effect via Brun's own Balloon Ranger label.

Telling CMU that she chose to spring this release so suddenly because she "wanted it to be a surprise for the fans", she said that the idea for it came while putting together the aforementioned career retrospective release.

"When we planned the 'Songs 2003-2013' retrospective album we realised that we actually had a lot of good unreleased stuff in our archive", she explained. "Enough to make a great double album - the kind of album that fans love. It made sense to release it this year when I celebrate ten years as a recording artist. We decided to put everything we liked on the album, so it ended up with 20 tracks".

You can see the full tracklist for the release, a mixture of original songs, alternate versions and covers, below. And you can catch Ane live in the UK in November. Meanwhile, she tells us that she will begin work on her next album in the new year, with a tentative release "probably early [in] 2015_.

So, that's something to look forward to. And before you get to that tracklist, have a listen to one of the covers from the record, Ane Brun's take on Beyonce's 'Halo', featuring approved cellist Linnea Olsson.

All My Tears
Halo (feat Linnea Olsson) (Beyonce cover)
Daring To Love
From Me To You (The Beatles cover)
Ain't No Cure For Love (Leonard Cohen cover)
Orphan Girl
1 Thing (Amerie cover)
If I Had A Ribbon Bow (Odetta cover)
It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back) (Eurythmics cover)
Oh Love (Piano Version)
The Opening (Ane Brun & Fleshquartet)
Jóga - Live at the Polar Music Prize 2010 (Björk cover)
Falling Down (St Thomas cover)
Fly On The Windscreen (Ane Brun & Vince Clarke) (Depeche Mode cover)
Humming One Of Your Songs 2013
Crawfish (Ane Brun & Club Killers) (Elvis cover)
Petrified Forest Road
She Belongs To Me (Bob Dylan cover)


Release round-up: Black Sabbath DVD and Lauryn Hill post-prison song, plus Goat and Cults
Black Sabbath are to release a new live DVD titled 'Gathered In Their Masses'. Capturing two Australian dates on the band's reunion tour, it includes choice cuts of their new LP, '13', and select 'greatest hits'. The DVD, Blu-Ray and an audio-only copy of the performances will be out for purchase on 25 Nov.

Onto something angrier than Ozzy and co (incomprehensible as that is), Lauryn Hill has put up new track 'Consumerism' to coincide with her being freed from prison. As previously reported, Hill was sentenced earlier this year to serve three-months in jail for unpaid taxes, a score that she since settled by signing a $1 record deal with Sony Music. Whilst she wrote 'Consumerism', a protest against "corporate greed", before she 'did time', it is, says its SoundCloud blurb, "a product of the space she was in while she was going through some of the challenges she has been faced with recently". Listen here.

In 'live LP' goings on, spooky psych-folk kooks Goat have announced one called 'Live Ballroom Ritual'. Rooted in the band's 2012 studio album 'World Music', it was filmed as the band played at London's Electric Ballroom earlier this year. Get in on weird mid-set high 'Let It Bleed' here.

To finish, why not take the 'High Road' with NYC tweeny boppers Cults, who are broadcasting a vid of that name in anticipation of their new LP, 'Static', which is released on 14 Oct.

Gary and Robbie announce solo shows
Gary 'Gaz' Barlow and Robbie Williams have announced solo shows that aren't really anything to do with each other apart from the fact that Gary and Robbie are both associated with Take That, so that's nice.

Gary's 'Since I Saw You Last' tour, which is in honour of his forthcoming (on 25 Nov) solo LP 'Since I Saw You Last', will 'go off' on 2 Apr 2014 at Glasgow's new SSE Hydro arena, going on for another eight shows and finishing on 17 Apr at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena. Read all about it here, and check out GB's new single 'Let Me Go', which unfortunately isn't a Haim cover, here.

Lest we forget Robbie (like the time we did post-'Rudebox'), it was announced the other day that Williams is doing a gig at the London Palladium, principally to support his bi-pop-curious new LP, 'Swings Both Ways'. The one-off November show, whose precise date is still TBC at this point, will be filmed exclusively by BBC Worldwide for a live DVD due out on 9 Dec.

With Robbie opting to keep his mouth shut for once, BBC Worldwide's Salim Mukaddam comments on the Palladium gig thus: "Robbie is one of the most versatile performers of our times - a truly outstanding popstar, who was born to sing swing songs. This promises to be a fantastic performance and a must-see event for Robbie's millions of fans around the world, as well as for anyone that enjoys great swing and big band performances".


Gigs & Tours round-up: Neutral Milk Hotel, Fuck Buttons, Keane
Checking in to this round-up first, it's Neutral Milk Hotel, who last week broke the pretty big news that they're playing a pair of springtime dates in May 2014. Audiences are advised that both shows, at the Manchester Albert Hall (18 May) and London Roundhouse (21 May), will enforce a 'NO PHOTOGRAPHY/NO VIDEO RECORDING' policy. Tickets are available as of 10am today, at this link.

Promoted by the same company, ATP, as the above NMH performances is a standalone show by F-word Buttons. The duo, whose new single 'Brainfreeze' is out now, will visit their third LP, 'Slow Focus', upon London's Forum on 7 Feb. If you'd like to buy tickets, go to this URL.

Keane, too, have a 'special' live date in the pipeline in their tenth anniversary year; namely a billing at the tiny Tunbridge Wells Forum on 25 Oct. It's presented by independent label Fierce Panda, who released several early singles by the band, not least 'Everybody's Changing' and 'This Is The Last Time', all the way back in 2003. Tickets here.


Festival line-up update: Bearded Theory, The End and Farmer Phil's Festival
After Glastonbury's super-quick sell-out yesterday, here are some other fests for those who failed to pick up a Glasto ticket to consider. And Bearded Theory has added a new batch of artists to its 2014 bill, ticking off the likes of Daft Monkeys, Colm Gray, Babyhead and The Membranes. They join Oysterband, Fishbone and Peter Hook & The Light at the four-day chin-stroker, which takes place next spring.

That said, stay FLUU-attuned to updates via looming London event The End, and Farmer Phil's rustic annual shindig...

BEARDED THEORY, Catton Hall, Derbyshire, 22-25 May 2014: 3 Daft Monkeys, The Membranes, King Prawn, Leatherat, The True Deceivers, The Karma Party, Tarantism, Colm Gray, Babyhead, New Groove Formation, The Sporadics, The Autonomads, Black Star Dub Collective, Boot Hill All Stars, Doghouse Boat Boys, Dynamite Pussy Club, Funke And The Two Tone Baby, Just James, Poor Old Dogs, Rusty Shackle, Sean McGowan.

THE END FESTIVAL, various venues, Crouch End, London, 15-16 Nov: Conquering Animal Sound, Dan Hayward, Emily C White, Equinox, The Peacekeeper, French For Rabbits, Girls in Hawaii, Gymnast, Jack Cheshire, James Brute, Lea Lea, Mammoth Sound, Nathan Holme, Ralfe Band, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Shield Patterns, SixToes, Steven James Adams, The Reverse, Washington Irving

FARMER PHIL'S FESTIVAL, Ratlinghope, Shropshire, 8-10 Aug 2014: The Orb, The Blockheads, The Wayne Martin Band, The Baghdaddies, Greenland Whalefishers, Beki Bondage, Flat Stanley, Biggles Wartime Band, Blackmax And The Pirates, NUMB, The Outcast Band, The Buffalo Riot, Urang Matang, The Wayne Martin Band, Merry Hell, BC/DC.

Olly Murs insisted he strip, says G-A-Y chief
Pop boys might not feel the pressure to dress and dance all sexy like their female counterparts, but when they play the G-A-Y club night they all want to take their clothes off. Well, the straight ones do anyway. Or at least G-A-Y chief Jeremy Joseph has told Digital Spy that when pop males go nearly naked at his legendary club night, they always do so willingly.

Recalling Olly Murs' strip on the G-A-Y stage, Joseph told the website: "It's funny because I did a bet with him that if his single went to number one, next time he performed at G-A-Y he'd have to get naked. I made him sign a contract on stage and all that, but it was just a joke. A year later he went to number one and I didn't push it or anything, and it was him who was like, 'Oh, I suppose I should keep up my side of the bet'".

Joseph, busy promoting today's release of 'G-A-Y The Album', went on: "It's quite weird actually, because a lot more of the straight male popstars are much more at home doing that at G-A-Y than some of the gay popstars. I find it funny that Olly was the runner-up on 'The X Factor' to a gay popstar, but he's the one who gets naked on stage".

Asked about McFly's appearances at the club night Joseph concluded: "I don't know why they even bother coming on stage dressed!"

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
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ALY BARCHI | Staff Writer
Aly reports on artist news, coordinates the festival, gig and release round up columns, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also writes for CMU's sister title ThisWeek London.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
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