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Pink Floyd Give In To Digital Downloads 409

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the insert-money-pun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tripped out old rockers Pink Floyd have inked a deal with EMI to allow single tracks by the band to be peddled as digital downloads. The remains of the band was in court less than a year ago, arguing that cutting up their albums and selling individual tracks undermined the 'artistic integrity' of their work. Now, though they've given in to the Man, and the likes of Money, Shine on you Crazy Diamond and Comfortably Numb will soon no doubt be available as 99p downloads on iTunes. Have a cigar."
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Pink Floyd Give In To Digital Downloads

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  • The Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:31PM (#34758414)
    Money, get back. I'm all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
  • Netcraft confirms it - album rock and concept albums are officially dead. :(

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:37PM (#34758522) Homepage Journal

      Damned kids... most of Pink Floyd's songs are far better in context; at least, the later albums (all but the first two).

      You won't likely hear Echoes on the radio. Is that one 99c too? It's a whole album side, about 20 minutes long IIRC.

      • by kimvette (919543)

        I hear Echoes on the radio from time to time. The other day I heard Free Four on the radio as well. I hadn't previously heard that on the radio since I was a toddler. Sometimes the local classic rock station plays some of the longer and also the lesser known gems from Pink Floyd (like Fearless). On occasion they'll actually play Shine On You Crazy Diamond in entirety. More often you hear the staples though: Comfortably Numb, Run like Hell, Wish You Were Here or Welcome to the Machine, or on rare occasion He

      • by icebike (68054)

        Well, Pink should have realized long ago (like everyone else) that selling a single will attract more to buying the album than just selling the album alone.

        And if that doesn't happen for a certain percentage of the audience, so what? They are not harmed by someone who does not happen to see the beauty of the whole album.

        • I'm curious as to how this is going to work with Meddle, Wish You Were Here or Animals, both of which are dominated by incredibly long tracks.

          I wonder if Roger Waters had something to do with this, hoping that someone might finally listen to The Final Cut.

        • by NiteShaed (315799) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:58PM (#34758798)

          Well, Pink should have realized long ago (like everyone else) that selling a single will attract more to buying the album than just selling the album alone.

          What makes you think they care? They've made their money, millions and millions, maybe they really do care more about the presentation than anything else at this point (maybe they always have). Pink Floyd albums are about the concept, not the song. Try putting a few Floyd albums into your MP3 player and hitting shuffle....it's FUCKING HORRIBLE. Songs cut off seemingly in the middle, 10 second tracks of people shouting pop up out of nowhere, it's a mess. If you listen to them as albums though, it's a totally different experience (and IMHO a pretty great one).

          There are tons of bands that put out good stand-alone songs, but it's just not really what Pink Floyd does. If I were them, I'd push to keep the albums together, and sell only the songs that worked as singles back when they were released individually, things like Money, Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell. It just doesn't make sense to buy most of Pink Floyd's music as individual tracks.....

        • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:53PM (#34759530) Homepage Journal

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]

          The Dark Side of the Moon was an immediate success, topping the Billboard 200 for one week. It subsequently remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. It has twice been remastered and re-released, and has been covered by several other acts. It spawned two singles, "Money" and "Us and Them". In addition to its commercial success, The Dark Side of the Moon is one of Pink Floyd's most popular albums among fans and critics, and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

          The singles were released well after the album charted, BTW. There were a few Pink Floyd singles but very few of them, and they really were not contributing factors to the albums' successes.

          What made Pink Floyd successful was once they achieved a certain level of success in England they had the attitude of "fuck it" where the labels were concerned, and did what they wanted - and what they wanted to do was avant guard experimental music.

          Some might hate the Ummagumma studio record but I love it for its uniqueness, that it is so out there, but that they manage to achieve such ethereal and non-traditional sounds and yet still arrange them into musical works. They had an entire album side where each member could do whatever the heck struck their fancy at the moment, and a lot of the stuff is fantastically weird, but in a good way.

          And strangely, Pink Floyd have mastered balancing complexity and simplicity, never quite taking it "over the top" like Queen did, keeping the composition as a whole in mind, especially with their longer pieces and with Meddle, when they started delving into the "concept album" idea. Now, some of it did get a little whiny due to Roger's daddy issues, but they are still quite good. One vastly underrated work is "the final cut" which is actually quite good. It's missing Rick's keyboard work so it is missing the signature Pink Floyd sound and ambiance, but if you consider it a Roger Waters solo work (which it pretty much is thanks to his egomania at the time) it's likely his best solo work to date.

          Meddle? The track Echoes is orgasmic to listen to. IMHO, it is one of the best tracks ever recorded. The way I can think of to best describe Pink Floyd is as a modern take of classical, where the pieces can be long and there can be a lot that is complex, but that there is a consistency to it that is missing from a lot of today's mainstream pop.

          That's not to say that they are like Metallica where everything since the black album sounds like the black album. It's more that there is a quality and presence to Pink Floyd's work where you can hear a measure of a work from them and know it's them, even if you had never heard that work before. A lot of that has to do with Wright's talent on the keys as a Jazz musician, but it also has to do with their focus on a good, clean sounding production (the engineering aspect of the recording).

          I really hope that the labels haven't lost sight of the potential this kind of music has. It certainly doesn't earn a quick buck and requires a big investment and 2-3 albums that might flop, but once the work gains notice it could very easily become a dinosaur.

          Singles are not necessary. A great album can sell itself. The problem is the labels are unwilling to take such risks - they can't see the HUGE profits past their greed.

          And as far as selling out is concerned, and the issue being over money rather than integrity? They were offered $100mil each to tour after 2005. They turned the money down, saying they would do more charity gigs but not tour. Those guys don't need money when they're each earning millions per MONTH from record sales alone, let alone current projects and investments, and licensed works. Once you're making a million a year, or ten million, or whatever, what's a million more? Money that will just sit, or you'll just blow on useless crap, or give away/donate.

          • Meddle? The track Echoes is orgasmic to listen to. IMHO, it is one of the best tracks ever recorded.

            If you haven't already, find a copy of Live at Pompeii. My copy is my wife's - her family owned a mom-and-pop video store and she kept the copy when it folded.

            Here, check this out:

            Part 1 [youtube.com]

            Part 2 [youtube.com]

            As creepy/beautiful as this song is, playing it to an abandoned amphitheater on the ruins of Pompeii just multiplies the awesome. There is some studio footage of the original scoring of Us and Them too. It's

      • by morari (1080535) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:59PM (#34758812) Journal

        Exactly. Pink Floyd's discography is largely made up of concept albums. While some single tracks are enjoyable out of context, nothing compares to the actual album. Of course, kids nowadays are used to albums full of shit with only one or two tracks even worth listening to...

    • album rock and concept albums are officially dead

      There's nothing stopping you from downloading & listening to whole albums on iTunes. I do this regularly, since the bands I listen to (Flyleaf, Red, etc.) tend to have really good songs & the albums work out to be a much better deal than buying individual tracks.

  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:32PM (#34758426)

    Most music nowadays is bite size but most of Floyd's stuff you really had to listen to the entire Album to appreciate it. But it's a new world, I suppose, and if people want to listen to just one song from the Wall randomly mixed in with Britney Spears and Lady Gaga then power to the people.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      and if people want to listen to just one song from the Wall randomly mixed in with Britney Spears and Lady Gaga

      Noooooooooo!

    • Most music nowadays is bite size but most of Floyd's stuff you really had to listen to the entire Album to appreciate it.

      I agree that albums can yield a greater experience but how is buying a single different than listening to a single on the radio?

      Also can't a single be a "preview" of some kind, inspiring the listener to *eventually* buy the album?

    • Not one song, no, but there are song segments that work really well. "Us and Them" - "Any Colour You Like" - "Brain Damage" - "Eclipse" works wonderfully without prepending them with the first six songs of the album. The same can be said for "The Show Must Go On" - "In the Flesh" - "Run Like Hell" from the Wall. No in neither case does it tell the whole story conveyed by the original album, but they do work as musical pieces telling part of the story. In that sense it's not much different from a symphon

      • I don't know of any MP3 player that lets you string them together without making one big mp3. Same goes for some of the Beatle's later stuff (back side of Abbey Road comes to mind).

    • Most music nowadays is bite size but most of Floyd's stuff you really had to listen to the entire Album to appreciate it. But it's a new world, I suppose, and if people want to listen to just one song from the Wall randomly mixed in with Britney Spears and Lady Gaga then power to the people.

      Very true. A lot of Pink Floyd's music, particularly the older stuff, is a completely jarring experience when you try to treat it as singles. Pandora does this, and it's downright disorienting. A couple of weeks ago my Pandora station played "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives." By itself. To hear that track and not have it run straight into "Another Brick In The Wall part II" would incite riots if a DJ tried it.

      • I get that with some other groups. For some reason I never replaced my Floyd records with CDs so I don't have them on mp3. They faded a bit from my interest after college much like Zeppelin. Funny how that happens.

  • by diatonic (318560) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:35PM (#34758478) Homepage

    It's always strange for me to listen to Pink Floyd songs out of context from the rest of the album. It probably stems from listening to those albums start to finish in my youth, and many of the songs blending in to one an other. For example, at the end of Dark Side of the Moon, "Brain Damage" flows directly in to "Eclipse," and separating those two tracks should be illegal.

    • Brain Damage flowing into Eclipse?
      Simply because they played the whole of DSOTM as one piece.
      As a complete piece it works. How many copies have they sold since 1973?

      DSOTM was originally called Eclipse when it was first played in 1972, Jan 20th Brighton Dome.
      Then another band released an album called Eclipse (as I rrad at the time in Melody Maker) so they changed the name

      • DSOTM was originally called Eclipse when it was first played in 1972, Jan 20th Brighton Dome. Then another band released an album called Eclipse (as I rrad at the time in Melody Maker) so they changed the name

        No, the Album name was originally "The Dark Side of the moon", it was temporarily changed to "Eclipse" when it turned out that there was another "Dark Side of the moon" that one failed, so they changed the name back.

      • Brain Damage flowing into Eclipse?

        After spending two months trying to keep up to date with the latest developments in Java Enterprise, I can say you that brain damage comes from eclipse, not the other way around (well, at least in my case, do not know about those red hat/oracle guys).

    • It's always strange for me to listen to Pink Floyd songs out of context from the rest of the album. It probably stems from listening to those albums start to finish in my youth, and many of the songs blending in to one an other. For example, at the end of Dark Side of the Moon, "Brain Damage" flows directly in to "Eclipse," and separating those two tracks should be illegal.

      You're just not as stoned as you were back then. State dependent learning [wikipedia.org], and all that.

  • Ohh I was right! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pontiac (135778) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:35PM (#34758480) Homepage

    Back when the first case came up I suspected it was a move to get EMI to sign a new contract for digital sales..
    In the last case EMI was claiming the old contract only covered album sales and was paying Pink Floyd a lower rate for digital sales.
    Looks like the Old Pink pulled it off..

    Link to my comment on the first EMI case [slashdot.org]

    • P.S. Thank you for your sig--I'm gonna use that quote when I'm dealing with some of my clients.
    • Re:Ohh I was right! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:15PM (#34759012) Homepage Journal

      Part of it is in the case of Pink Floyd, the artists actually own their work and the Animals at EMI only had distribution rights - so by distributing it in an unauthorised format EMI could have been screwed to The Wall for copyright infringement, and would have had to Run Like Hell. Instead Pink Floyd said Hey You - Not Now John! When you're One of the Few to retain ownership of your work, you get to say "Get Your Filthy Hands off My Desert, or all that will be on your shelves is Empty Spaces," and the EMI execs, blinking their Paranoid Eyes, had to once again Stop, or risk going to The Trial and end up stuck Outside the Wall.

      So, rather than waste a lot of Time Waiting for the Worms to eat their mottled remains, EMI said The Show Must Go On, let's Bring the Boys Back Home to EMI and talk to them In the Flesh and say "Have a Cigar" and relax, and "Wut's uh, the deal?". When Dave, Nick, and Roger arrived, Roger was Fearless and shouted "You Animals must have Brain Damage" to think that we are Sheep who will allow you Dogs to cheapen our work. Then he grabbed the exec and put him in a headlock and started rapping his head, shouting "Is There Anybody Out there? McFly, is there Nobody Home? All I hear is Echoes. One of These Days, I'm Going to Cut You Into Little Pieces!"

      Then Roger calmed down and sat down, exhausted. The EMI exect said "Don't Leave me Now; don't let your thinking be Obscured by Clouds. Stay, and we'll talk Money. Why, the Gold, it's in the. . . "

      Roger exclaimed "Welcome to the Machine."

      Dave interjected "Stop, Roger, don't go Burning Bridges again. The last time it tore the band apart for 22 years!"

      Nick, ever the rational one, the only member to be with the band through its entire career, said "Hey You, It's One of My Turns to speak right now, and Let There Be More Light on this subject. Remember, Childhood's End, and we're at Chapter 24 of our careers. If only you would overcome your Flaming temper, we could Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and watch our sales go into Interstellar Overdrive. Remember a Day before today when we were young and were the Masters of Rock? When we shone like the sun? Today's market is The Thin Ice, or to put it in other words, The Narrow Way, and if we don't let them sell online, you may as well plant us now six feet under in Granchester Meadows."

  • ...make great complete albums.

    (to be fair, pink floyd usually does. or at least did before I was born.)

    Listening to an artist and a record company bicker over money by using "artistic integrity" is like listening to two hipsters argue by calling each other "hipster."

    If your albums are such unsulliable masterpieces that should never be altered by the mere mortals that exist outside of a studio, then why release singles in the first place (granted, Pink Floyd doesn't often cut singles, but they have)? Why let other bands cover individual songs from your albums? Why slap together a greatest hits or box set package?

    I really wish some artists would climb down off their high horses. At some point down the line, you made a conscious decision that playing in front of 30 people in a shithole bar in your hometown wasn't for you. Sadly, some of the bleacher seat dwellers from those bar days decided that choice makes you worthy of the moniker "sellout." You know what? Screw those selfish people. They're still sitting at the end of that bar, and they're not you. But with the ability to reach a mass audience comes a certain sacrifice. Well, not so much sacrifice as trade. You trade the ability to control every sniggling little detail of how the audience should perceive (and, to some extent, enjoy) your work in exchange for a heck of a lot more people getting to enjoy your work. Oh, and you get paid a bit better. Your audience now includes folks that just want the one little song they know & care about, and it'd be nice if you the artist would accept that not everyone thinks every last aural dripping of yours is solid gold.

    Pink Floyd. Radiohead. Kid Rock. There's plenty of artists that just need to suck it up and accept that the world has changed. Consumers have picked up the tiniest inkling of purchasing power over the music industry, and we're going to use it. Call it packback for a lifetime of 20 bucks for an album with three worthy tracks.

    • by kenrblan (1388237)
      Although I agree with much of your sentiment, I don't think I would accuse Radiohead of needing to accept that the world has changed. Their self-released album In Rainbows for the price of whatever the heck the downloader/music fan wanted to pay was a very up-to-date concept.
    • "Why let other bands cover individual songs from your albums?" In that particular case, at least in the US, said artists don't have a choice. Licensing for covers is compulsory and at a statutory rate, so the only way they could prevent covers is by never doing a recorded rendition themselves. I could do the worst rendition of the most beautiful song in the world, and as long as I pay the royalties and don't change the melody or lyrics, there's nothing the author in question can do about it. Floyd might
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Pink Floyd doesn't often cut singles, but they have

      There were individual tracks on every single studio album they recorded (I have them all on LP). The radio played "Money" by itself almost as soon as DSOTM was released.

      Call it packback for a lifetime of 20 bucks for an album with three worthy tracks

      There are more than enough albums like that, but none from Pink Floyd.

      • There was no single for Animals, because the compositions were all too long, at no less than 10 minutes (except the Pigs On The Wing bookends, which were hardly single-worthy songs and neither clocked in at more than a minute and a half).

      • There are individual tracks for movements in symphonies as well, but that doesn't mean they are intended in every case to be played separately. There's nothing wrong with Pink Floyd arguing that The Wall is one continuous piece of music, where portions of the melody have been labeled for easy reference.

        That said, there's also nothing wrong with a fan choosing to listen to just three continuous songs instead of the whole album. Heck, it's okay with a fan to just like the first 30 seconds of "Money" followe

    • There's plenty of artists that just need to suck it up and accept that the world has changed. Consumers have picked up the tiniest inkling of purchasing power over the music industry, and we're going to use it. Call it packback for a lifetime of 20 bucks for an album with three worthy tracks.

      This issue is a contract dispute over an agreement reached over 40 years ago. It's not fair to slam these guys for not foreseeing how the details of that agreement would be applicable to the current marketplace. These living artists are trying to exert whatever control they have over their own legacy.

      I seriously doubt Pink Floyd is looking for a small amount of additional money, they are some of the most successful and wealthy musicians ever to live.

      This issue is more akin to, say, Led Zeppelin obje

    • by smbarbour (893880)

      I can understand Pink Floyd's objection to selling by the track (at least partially). With The Wall, "Comfortably Numb" is the only song on the entire double-album that does not segue in from the previous or out to the following song. In fact, even "Outside the Wall" segues into "In the Flesh" with the phrase "Isn't this where we came in?" split between the two, which made for a continuous loop of the album in 8-track form.

      I have a few songs that I have edited for play on my MP3 player so that songs that

    • Why slap together a greatest hits or box set package?

      To be fair, Pink Floyd compilations are reengineered to play as a continuous stream too. They do put in the effort that makes a "slap together" moniker a disservice. Otherwise I agree with your points.

    • by NiteShaed (315799)

      For most bands, I'd agree with you, but Pink Floyd really is a different animal. As you said yourself, they never really put out many singles, and there's a reason for that. I don't think anything really compares to the type of albums they did, or how tightly interwoven the songs typically were. Sure, I'm all for selling the songs that were released in the past as singles, but there is an argument to be made that a lot of their material just plain old doesn't work well as individual tracks. Even radio s

  • Been on Piratebay for Years. Glad to see that Pink will get some cash now for their efforts. (Not that they need any more.)
  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:37PM (#34758520)
    when they start getting bigger royalty checks (assuming they get something from EMI) due to increased downloads of single tracks and not whole albums.
    • that you don't know much about Pink Floyd. They could go on tour with insane ticket prices and still sell out every venue, no problem, but they don't. Much of their music is actually about the revulsion of that motivation in the industry ("Have a Cigar" is exactly about this). Also, Pink Floyd owns their music. This was to pave way for a 5 year distribution contract, as the previous one (from '99 I believe) expired.
  • by tm2b (42473) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:39PM (#34758548) Journal
    They are completely right that it does undermine the integrity of their albums, but they really lost that fight as soon as radio stations were playing individual tracks.
  • Oh... you mean LEGAL digital downloads... yeah well... I've got CDs from the used CD store.

  • by chargersfan420 (1487195) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:43PM (#34758580)
    How will they deal with songs that run together? Pink Floyd does this a lot. For example, from The Wall, "The Thin Ice", "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)", "The Happiest Days of Our Lives", and "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" should really all be listened to together. I can't imagine anyone actually paying to own just "The Happiest Days of Our Lives", clocking in at just 1:46. Another solid example, from the same album, would be "Empty Spaces" and "Young Lust".

    While on the subject, it has long been a pet peeve of mine that music players don't recognize such songs exist and allow you to group them together, so when a random playlist is created, these songs still run together like they're supposed to.
    • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:51PM (#34758710) Journal

      While on the subject, it has long been a pet peeve of mine that music players don't recognize such songs exist and allow you to group them together, so when a random playlist is created, these songs still run together like they're supposed to.

      iTunes has a feature called "Join CD Tracks," under the "Advanced" menu, but it only works for music you rip from a CD. It prevents the songs from playing separately if you are playing a random list.

      • Does it have to be music I ripped from a CD in iTunes then? Why would iTunes care? All my Pink Floyd stuff was ripped years ago on an old PC before iTunes existed, then imported much much later so I could sync to my iPod.

        I'll have to look at it tonight, but if really only works with CDs ripped locally then it's a stupid, stupid implementation of an otherwise useful feature.

      • by mooingyak (720677)

        I've had so many unused mod points lately, and now when I need them I don't have any. Thanks for the tip though.

    • by smbarbour (893880)

      Use Audacity to do them justice. It's fairly easy, and with a little patience, you can even cut out the audible click between the tracks.

      Also with your example from The Wall... "Comfortably Numb" is the only song that is completely standalone. Everything else blends with either the previous track, following track, or both.

  • ... just saying ...

  • that means I get to select tunes from all kinds of albums, from all kinds of artists ... and I play them in any order that I feel like. I sometimes play a SINGLE SONG from an album. I wouldn't imagine for one minute that any of the artists involved thought I was not treating their artistic output with appropriate respect.
  • ...with artistic integrity, especially when you listen to some of their older albums (Meddle, DSOTM, Animals, etc.) where the songs tend to "flow" and work together in unison.

    That being said, they shouldn't completely condemn the digital download era we live in. Besides, if I were a member of the band, I would be more appalled at the shitty hardware kids use today to TRY and listen to good music than the music itself. Sorry, I don't care how "bad-ass" those earbuds are, an iPod is far from a quality liste

    • I bought a shit Motorola Cliq and plugged my headphones into it, since I can carry a cell phone and not worry about the iPod and HOLY SHIT SOUND QUALITY! iPod is CRAP!
  • I want to see some Rock Band 3 Pink Floyd DLC! I still have the 9 CD box set for Pink Floyd. I would love to have some tracks in Rock Band.
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      I have thus far not purchased Guitar Hero mostly because of the same reason I don't buy albums these days, a few good songs and a bunch of crap. A Pink Floyd version would be awesome, but then I don't know how well it could really be done in Guitar Hero. Most of David Gilmour's solos are not particularly fast paced, which is one of the things that guitar hero hinges on. All of Gilmour's work from a guitar player's point of view is just amazing. He does something interesting to EVERY SINGLE NOTE. Bend up, be
  • Even with concept albums, the songs need to be good enough to stand on their own. That's one reason why I'm not bothered by individual tracks being released from the legendary Floyd albums.

    Yes, with all songs taken together, the albums "Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", and "Animals" are insanely good and provide an interesting flow. But all of the songs on those albums are just this side of genius even when taken one-by-one.

    On the other hand, if you listen to "The Wall"... a good 30% of those

  • I didn't pay attention to 45's back in the day but did Pink Floyd release any of their songs as singles on 45's? The 45 rpm seems to be the analog equivalent to the modern single digital download.

    On the other hand digital downloads do take things a step farther since very few songs on albums were released as 45 singles. However I have seen stuff on iTunes that were available only as part of an album but it was not quite like the LP/45 situation. IIRC only a few song were available only via the album down
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      45's are akin to a modern single track download from a track standpoint, but from a sound quality standpoint, a modern digital download is the opposite of the 45. The higher spin speed of the single offered higher fidelity as you traversed a longer linear distance in the same amount of time. Whereas a digital download sometimes, but not always is at a decreased bitrate from the original recording.
  • "And by the way, which one of you is Pink?"
  • Where can I buy just the first song off Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" album?

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