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Monday, October 6, 2008

Business vs. Filesharing

posted by on October 6 at 3:55 PM

Forbes has an interesting (if you're a nerd) interview with Last.fm's Chief Operating Officer Spencer Hyman. Among other things, he gave a succinct breakdown of the finite means by which revenue can be made off of music on the Internet.

There only are a limited number of ways you could make money. It's advertising, it's subscriptions, it's e-commerce and then its using the data for smart purposes [market research].

The interview is mainly about Last.fm verses Myspace, as the latter recently launched its new Myspace Music function.

One of the big stories with MySpace Music was whether streaming the music legally would be successful in driving song purchases via downloads. How's it fared for you?

When we launched free on-demand earlier on in this year in the States, the amount of e-commerce we were generating more then [sic] doubled. It definitely does work.

Legal, free streaming is a newer phenomenon on the Internet. What's the issue?

We always said to the labels, "You have to let us do this," because what's happening at the moment is people are getting the recommendations off of Last.fm and then they're just going to all the illegal peer-to-peer sites.

They're more than familiar with that problem. What's the state of the digital music business today?

I think what you've got with the Internet is the fact that the labels and the collective side have realized that they need to make sure there is proper sharing of all the revenues which are generated with all the content creators. And I think that's correct. I think the problem, though, is that there is a lot of posturing going on, on both sides, as to what the right model is to monetize that. The [potential] market is huge, but at the moment, it's all on the peer-to-peer networks.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Myspace to Launch New Music Feature Tomorrow

posted by on September 24 at 4:30 PM

Myspace's "much-anticipated," decidedly clunky, garish sounding music feature is set to lauch tomorrow.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Make room, iTunes. MySpace is hoping to shake up the digital music scene.
In a bid to spruce up its popular online hangout, MySpace plans to flip the switch Thursday on a much-anticipated service that will give its roughly 120 million users free access to hundreds of thousands of songs from the world's largest recording labels.
The catch: the music can be played only on personal computers connected to the Internet and listeners have to tolerate advertising splashed across the screen. Anyone who wants to transfer a song to a portable device like Apple Inc.'s iPod will have to buy the music through Amazon.com Inc.'s year-old downloading service, which sells songs for as little as 79 cents apiece.
Unlike much of the material at Apple's iTunes store, the music sold through MySpace's new service won't contain the protections that limit how many times a track can be copied.
MySpace is hoping to set itself apart from iTunes even further by allowing its users to create an unlimited number of playlists containing up to 100 songs apiece — a sharing concept similar to music services already offered by Imeem and Last.fm.
If MySpace's plan pans out, people will regularly post different playlists on their profiles and expose their friends to new music.
The recording labels are betting these implicit recommendations will cultivate more interest in more songs and eventually generate revenue to help recoup some of the revenue that has evaporated as CD sales have plunged from $12 billion in 1999 to a projected $5 billion this year.

This sounds a day late and a dollar short to catch up to iTunes' dominance of the market.

Via The Associated Press


Friday, September 19, 2008

“Mama Said Knock You Out Personally Respond to All of Your MySpace Friends’ Messages”

posted by on September 19 at 2:26 PM

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If LL Cool J’s rapping skills have fallen off in recent years, it may be due to the once-phenomenal MC spending too much time answering fans’ emails.

To all of you out there wondering if it's really me on MySpace. It's really me. A hundred and thirty thousand e-mails, and I'm trying to respond to each one. Sometimes I feel like a secretary.

Via Mediabistro


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stream the New Mogwai Album

posted by on September 17 at 11:37 AM

Mogwai is currently streaming their new record The Hawk Is Howling on their MySpace page. It'll be in stores next week.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vinyl is Dead, Long Live Vinyl, Etc

posted by on September 16 at 5:21 PM

Regarding this post about my current crisis of faith in record collecting, a few questions: Does every music fan have to be a collector of records? If I have a library of mp3s instead, does that make me less of a music fan? If record collecting is the mark of a "serious" music fan, does that bar people of a certain economic class from taking part? Is it just about who owns the most physical stuff?

Death of a Record Collection

posted by on September 16 at 12:45 PM

Right now, my esteemed colleague Dave Segal is on the phone negotiating the long-delayed transport of his record collection from Orange County. Segal has been here for just over a month; these should have been here just days after he arrived. "These are extremely valuable to me," he's telling the person on the other end of the phone. "I'm not going to let this go." It sounds pretty grim.

Last week, I was in NYC. I walked by Other Music, Victory Records, various little vinyl boutiques, and while, on some abstract level, I wanted to support all these businesses, I didn't come home with a single record. At my kind host's stylish but small railroad apartment, we listened to music on a nice set of speakers plugged into mp3 players and laptops. They had maybe two boxes of records. I can't remember whether or not they had a turntable set up (I don't think so).

At home, I have the same brand of shelving as every other vinyl owning young person, the one made out of 16 squares perfectly sized for 12"s (your model may have 25 squares if you're fancy). It's half full of vinyl, half full of books and other media. I have a few crates worth of records on additional shelving or in actual crates on the floor, but I'm lately convinced that I'm never going to fill the rest of this shelf up with vinyl, let alone have to someday spring for the 25 square model.

I find no joy in this conclusion. I would love to live in a house lined with shelves of records. I would prefer my living room to look like these. I just don't think it's going to happen.

Vinyl is relatively big and heavy. Airlines are charging for extra baggage, and even when they weren't, traveling with vinyl (say, enough to DJ with) is grueling compared to traveling with mp3s or even CDs. Shipping is apparently a drag as well. Apartment space for record shelving is limited.

Music is expensive. We're diving headlong into what looks to my admittedly not economically expert eyes like a serious recession/depression, and records just aren't a necessity as much as food and shelter (Segal will likely debate this point with me). Rising fuel prices only aggravate the flying/shipping issues as well. As much as I want to support these small business and be a parton of artists, I just can't give any more than I can afford. Before this job, that meant buying records as carefully as possible, downloading what I couldn't afford to buy, and supporting artists at shows and by buying other merch. Now, it frequently means building my collection through promotional copies. Both means meant more CDs and mp3s than vinyl making their way into my collection. Morgan Geist might complain that I'm not listening to his records on the proper hi-fi setup in the ideal format, but audiophile gear is a luxury that most music fans probably can't afford. Hell, even Sasha Frere-Jones is selling his record collection.

These are gloomy, doomy times—every time someone in New York asked me how work was going, I would reply that it's great, the music business is tanking, print journalism is tanking, so print music journalism is the most exciting place you could hope to be. In seriousness, it's an awesome job, I feel fortunate every day to have it, but I'm not sure it'll ever launch me comfortably into the middle class. I think I may never own a home; maybe I won't be able to hold on to all the music I love for posterity either. Maybe formats—or other, larger paradigms—will shift and force people of my class situation to leave certain things behind. I think record collections, as opposed to mp3 collections, will only become increasingly a thing of class privilege rather than of ardent music fandom (I suppose it was always this way; perhaps music fans of less means have just moved from dubbed cassettes to mp3s).

Sacrilege, maybe, but as much as I love the look and feel of vinyl, records are only of marginally more value to me than the equivalent mp3s. Or: If I have to, I can let record collecting go. At least it'll be easier to move when rising rent finally prices me out my current place.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Caribou Barbi Profile, Song Yanked from MySpace

posted by on September 11 at 5:26 PM

Remember this post from Tuesday? Treasure those memories, because Rupert Murdoch’s minions have deleted the MySpace page containing the anti-Sarah Palin ditty titled, with scathing wit, “Caribou Barbi.” Such a pity—it was a real toe-tapper and it surely swayed some fence-sitting Americans to vote Obama come November.

Tip: Sarah S.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Song About Sarah Palin?

posted by on September 9 at 3:38 PM

Caribou Barbi weigh in on the controversial Republican Vice President candidate with a song titled “Caribou Barbi.” Their pop-rock ditty is musically pleasant and amiable while detailing in sound bites—hers and her supporters'—why she might not be a salubrious addition to the national political landscape (“Sarah Palin will overturn Roe vs. Wade while voting for the death penalty in the same breath”; “She’s a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ before she’s a mayor”; and the refrain goes, “There’s blood in the oil of Alaska”). We're guessing the whole thing has been approved by Team Obama).

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The goal with this tune seems to be to sugarcoat a bitter pill with toe-tapping, accessible music. It’s undeniably catchy and carries a strong message (in a nutshell: Palin’s a Christ-mad, oil-drunk fool), but perhaps it's not the knockout blow one was hoping for—sonically, anyway.

The Perils of Crate-Digging

posted by on September 9 at 10:04 AM

Stefan Glerum’s blog has a wonderfully illustrated guide to the pitfalls of spending inordinate amounts of time searching for vinyl. Enjoy the rueful pangs of self-recognition—or not.

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Tip: Kathy Fennessy


Monday, September 8, 2008

LOL Cats Do Metallica

posted by on September 8 at 11:25 AM

If you still think LOL cats are funny, like I (without shame) do, then you'll want to click here.

Perez Hilton Luvz Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head

posted by on September 8 at 11:16 AM

Over the weekend the celeb-blogger posted the video for the song “Sophisticated Side Ponytail," which no doubt earned the local beard-obsessed band a whole slew of new attention.

It’s right up there with the news about Gary Coleman hitting a dude with his car and Amy Winehouse actually showing up (late) for a gig.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

[Your Favorite Shredder] Shreds!

posted by on August 28 at 2:32 PM

Back in October, I posted a YouTube video called "Jake E. Lee Shreds" -- a throwaway item that amused me far more than it did the rest of you.

Just this week, I came across a similar video: "Malmsteen Shreds" *

After laughing without shame for some three days, I ran a YouTube search for the term "Shreds", believing I had stumbled across some burgeoning internet meme. This was the result. Yes! A trend is born! But on closer inspection, I discovered that although dozens of different folks were posting the videos, most of them were credited to one man, a Finnish lad going by the handle "StSanders." Google aided me here, too. And it turns out the St. Sanders phenomenon has already been well documented: By Wired, for instance. Neat!

But some of the shredders he lampooned didn't like the joke. They made a bit of noise and got the videos pulled. Threats of lawsuits cannot deter the denizens of the internet, however, and St. Sanders' videos were quickly reposted (and re-reposted) by fans. Victory!

Kudos to you, keepers of the Shred, and to tinkerers like St. Sanders who keep themselves busy by any means necessary and to no purpose whatsoever.

*If the video is suddenly "No Longer Available" it's probably because Malmsteen ordered it to be removed. He's the most litigious munchkin of them all.

Bonus! A few more worth watching:

Jaco Pastorius Shreds

Paco De Lucia Shreds

Steve Vai Shreds

Eric Clapton Shreds


Friday, August 22, 2008

RIAA Propaganda Created/Distributed by Non-Profit

posted by on August 22 at 3:39 PM

Like the bastard offspring of a Chick pamphlet and an episode of Judging Amy, a comic book distributed by the non-profit National Center for State Courts is trying to scare kids away from file-sharing and vis-à-vis, ruining their lives. The NCLS purports itself to be an, "organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to court systems in the United States." Well, far be it from me stand against the service of improving the administration of justice, so here's an excerpt from the comic:

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HT to Beaucoup Kevin. Plot summary from the Wired blog entry and more after the jump...

Continue reading "RIAA Propaganda Created/Distributed by Non-Profit" »

Re: Daryl Hall + Chromeo = Best Thing On the Internet

posted by on August 22 at 3:31 PM

There's a new best thing on the Internet, Donte:

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Chromeo making the guest rounds, VP announcement soon

(From I Love Music)


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hipster Runoff Makes Me Want To Stop Blogging

posted by on July 31 at 12:00 PM

In old/pizza-is-delicious news: Hipster Runoff is fucking hilarious, if not the total end of music blogging. That is all.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food for Thought

posted by on July 30 at 3:02 PM

www.myspace.com/jaguarlove.

Think of the page views.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Courtney's Done Blogging

posted by on July 25 at 12:32 PM

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Well, at least she says she is. But she's probably not. This proclamation was made, of course, at the end of another long, rambling blog, this one mostly about dating Trent Reznor:

I have a sign on my computer, "DO NOT BLOG. EMBARRASSES CHILD. LACK OF GRAMMATICAL CORRECTNESS AND SPELLING MAKES ONE LOOK ON DRUGS FOR SOME REASON. DON'T START THINKING "BUT… BUT… BURROUGHS." IT'S A MYSPACE BLOG. DON'T DO IT!"

Wait... does that mean she's not on drugs?

Line Out: Your Home for Block Party Overload

posted by on July 25 at 12:23 PM

This should be obvious, if only from today's flurry of posts, but remember, Line Out will be covering the shit out of Block Party this weekend, with live reviews, photos, videos, and probably some poll about Slats. You can also view a feed of all and only Block Party related posts here. That is all.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Free (Legal) Music From Limewire

posted by on July 18 at 12:10 PM

Remember when you had to actually pay for local music compilations? (Or records in general?) Lame. Well, now the Stranger has teamed with Limewire (one of the P2Ps that helped blow a hole in the whole "money for music" concept, now featuring a legit paid download site, the Limewire Store) to present a compilation of local artists that you can download for free. Just like Limewire 1.0, but without all the pesky RIAA lawsuits!

The tracklisting:

The Saturday Knights — "45"

Truckasauras — "Angels Sound Like Bottle Rockets"

The Pica Beats — "Infant Army"

Past Lives — "Beyond Gone"

Cancer Rising — "Evryday Bidness"

Pleasureboaters — "State of the Union"

Common Market — "Black Patch War"

Sleepy Eyes of Death — "Eyes Spliced Open"

Throw Me the Statue — "About To Walk"

The download is here, and there's some forfeit of firstborn child sign-up required.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Two Great Things From the Last Week

posted by on July 11 at 5:00 PM

1) If you're a last.fm user, then you should definitely be aware of lastgraph3, which will build beautiful plots of your listening habits over time. It's a much better way to sift through that data than Last.fm provides natively. Great eye candy.

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If you want to view my listening obsessions since I started using Last.fm, my page is here.

[via Skye]

2) I spent a large portion of the evening of the fourth staring at a grid of blinking lights, which was more engaging than the fireworks in the sky. The Tenori-On supplants the Nintendo Wii as the ultimate party toy, allowing the user to create and modify sequences of electronic music on the fly, with a built-in collection of instruments and effects that build to passable electronic music without any sense of musical skill. Sure, serious musicians use them too, but it seems best suited as a $1200 conversation piece. Here's video of the Tenori-On in action.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Re: No Age - "Eraser"

posted by on June 30 at 10:03 AM

Re: the new No Age video, the internet has spoken:

(ht yardlie)


Friday, June 20, 2008

Soulja Boy to Ice T: "You Was Born Before the Internet Was Created"

posted by on June 20 at 11:22 AM

Soulja Boy responds to Ice T's hip hop Andy Rooney-isms:


Friday, June 13, 2008

Leak Out

posted by on June 13 at 12:10 PM

Has anyone else heard the leaked fake version of Feed the Animals, the recently announced sophomore full-length from Girl Talk?

IT IS SOOOO BAD!

It's like what a kindergartner with Ableton Live would make in an hour after just learning about the concept of a mash-up. (Note to Girl Talk haters: I know, I know, you think that's no different than what Gregg Gillis does; go play "Through the Fire and Flames" on Guitar Hero again.)

So, yes, this means I've been trolling around for a leaked copy of Feed the Animals, I'm not too proud to admit that. But what if—and this thought has really started to shake me—what if it's not really a fake leak at all? What if it's the real Girl Talk album, and it just sounds like Hollertronix mixing Top 40 following a massive stroke?

WHERE IS GIRL TALK AT? HURRY UP!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cool In The Pool

posted by on June 12 at 7:06 PM

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The sun is finally out. Wow. I'm blinded.

For the past few weeks I've been trying to get rid of my winter spring blahs with the use of the website Cool In The Pool. Haven't heard of it? Well head on over. The deceptively simple site specialises in mixes of Balearic and Nouveau Disco that are so sunny as to tan you even while working out inside your apartment building basement gym. That bright.

I am hooked on all three of Eskimo artist Peter Visti's mixes which kill me every time. My favorite one, titled Balearic Monday, goes from Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" into Bryan Ferry's "Don't Stop The Dance" with a brief stop in between for some rare John Forde "Don't You Know Who Did It".

Visti's vision of sunny beaches not your taste? Try out the new Eskimo Records wonderkid Aeroplane's mix which had me walking straight into Everyday Music today to look for a DFA record, Holy Ghost's "Hold Me", I hadn't heard before (I don't buy a lot of "new" music). All nouveau straight through it's as good as a sun lamp for the mild Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferer.

But wait! There's more! Max Essa, Phil Mison, Rong's Mudd, Coyote, Richard Sen of Bronx Dogs, and Garth from SF's Wicked crew! Yes. Garth the man who raved us all in our twenties lays down a killer sunny disco set!

All for free. All for Download. All for the good of mankind.

Then there's the Downloads page where you can update your collection of classic balearic disco and rock with the likes of ELO, Double, The Human League, Kaos, When In Rome.... A goldmine of feel-good classics of beach rock and disco.

This site has entertained me for hours this week so I'm passing it on to you friends.

Put your toes in the water and relax.


Monday, June 2, 2008

We Care About Your Opinion

posted by on June 2 at 2:11 PM

Fleet Foxes are one of the bands on the front page of Myspace right now, their new album streaming in its entirety to internet trolls around the world. Needless to say, their profile is filling up with comments every day. Here are some highlights:

Corey sez:

This sounds reminiscent of the 60's, a little 90's Rusted Root vibe, but unique all it's own...I dig it!

Craig The Unholy™ sez:

Hey, thanks for being my friend. Please read my poetry in my blog and comment and/or subscribe. Also, if you want me to do anything for you let me know :)

helix nebula. sez:

I really, really, really hate this band.

I want to know what Craig The Unholy™ thinks Fleet Foxes would want him to do for them. Get them ice cream? Return their videos to Blockbuster? Be best fwiends?


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Due to Technical Difficulties

posted by on May 24 at 9:03 PM

there won't be any more posts from Sasquatch today. There's absolutely no wifi, it turns out. Which is funny, since we have 12 writers and photographers there.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Like Muxtape, Only on Cassette

posted by on May 20 at 12:25 PM

I'm fascinated with Cassette From My Ex. It's a blog where people--a lot of writers and musicians, yes, but then there are some actual human beings, too--describe the mix tapes that were given to them by then-lovers who are now-exes. And then you can actually listen to the tape, split up by side.

The blog just started, so there's not a lot of selection at the moment. A lot of Diggable Planets and Leonard Cohen and, oddly, Winnie-The-Pooh-related audio content. But this is the kind of voyeuristic thrill that will keep me checking back every single damn day.

I wish I had a mix tape to send in to the blog, but I've always been dreadfully disappointed with the mix tapes I received from girlfriends, to the point where I don't keep them. I seem to only date women with painfully different tastes in music--the aforementioned Tori Amos girlfriend, yes, but also a girlfriend (who is still a very dear friend) who followed Aerosmith, and another one who loved Ani DiFranco and Sweet Honey On the Rock, or whatever they call themselves. I don't think a relationship has ever introduced a lasting adoration of a new musician into my life.

One thing I've learned: Some of the people on this blog, at least, dated people with interesting musical tastes. Of course, the painful sincerity of other selections make me very glad that I don't date heterosexual men.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Meaty Soups Make Roadies Fart"

posted by on May 15 at 1:52 PM

The Smoking Gun has the Foo Fighters' nine-page rider, which is a more entertaining than the usual requests for clean socks and veggie trays.

Click here to waste 10 minutes.


Monday, April 28, 2008

This is Exactly What I've Been Wanting MySpace to Do

posted by on April 28 at 4:43 PM

Not really.

MySpace unveils new karaoke feature

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK - You're sitting at home online and suddenly you get an irresistible urge. You absolutely have to belt out R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" and share it with the world.

You now have that ability, thanks to the new MySpace Karaoke, to be launched Tuesday by the social networking site.

MySpace Karaoke (ksolo.myspace.com) debuts nearly two years after Fox Interactive, a division of News Corp., which owns MySpace, purchased the karaoke site kSolo.com. The combination of MySpace and kSolo allows users to upload audio recordings of them singing everything from R. Kelly to Richie Valens to their profile page.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Best, and Worst, Guitar Ever

posted by on April 22 at 1:20 PM

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Behold the ultimate monstrosity of a guitar. The folks over as Idolator found this beast on eBay, unfortunately after the auction had ended. So how much does a four necked bass/mandolin/banjo/guitar go for these days? Only $255, before shipping. There are the obvious logistical problems with an instrument like this: How do you hold it? Does it weigh as much as four guitars? It there a case anywhere fit to move it around in? In the end none of these questions really matter. What matters is this is tax return season, and G.W. is sending me an extra $600 to blow at the Sharper Image on a foot bath. To me, this would be the ultimate waste of my free money. It has 23 strings. No mater how impractical or stupid this thing is, for some reason I wish it was mine.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

They Won't Catch Me

posted by on April 17 at 12:33 PM

Cause I'm Fuckin Innocent.

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Good find, John.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Now That Somebody Finally Turned Off Joy Division...

posted by on April 8 at 2:58 PM

Here's what Stranger staffers are listening to.

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What are you listening to?

Are you on Last.fm? Be our friend.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Know What You're Listening To

posted by on April 3 at 9:02 PM

Having this Last.fm profile is pretty great--you might know about my love for the Valley Girl soundtrack, but I know about your Alanis cravings.

Here's what Seattle has been listening to this evening...

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Are you our Last.fm friend yet?

MySpace Takes on iTunes

posted by on April 3 at 11:28 AM

Via News.com:

As expected, MySpace unveils new music service

The service will roll out gradually over the next three to four months and offer free streaming music, unprotected MP3 downloads, ringtones, and e-commerce offerings such as merchandise and ticket sales, said MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe. The goal is to make MySpace a one-stop shop for everything music. Among the top four music companies, EMI was the lone holdout. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said that MySpace and EMI continue to seek a deal.

The partnership with MySpace is another sign that the music industry has decided to embrace the Web and digital technology instead of waging war against it. As CD sales continue to shrink and piracy expands, the labels are moving toward the inevitable: a redefining of how they make money from music. With MySpace Music, the labels will get an equity stake in the new joint venture and a share of all the revenues the service collects.

Read the whole story here.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Re: Last.fm

posted by on April 2 at 10:29 AM

As Megan explained, our Last.fm account is up and going, but you don't even have to visit the profile to see what we're listening to. At any time, you can simply hover over the Last.fm item in the LineOut header to get the most up-to-the-moment glance at what we're listening to.

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