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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 13.9
December 2010

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa, Jean-Baptiste Collinet, Cyrus Rhodes & Dan Cohen
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
* Featured Article: Learn How To Sell Your Music & Beat The Torrents - by James Moore
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2010 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.


All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters, negotiated so that you get the best price possible. You'll find means of promotion and distribution, songwriting aids, educational products, musical instruments and their accessories, and lots more. Any of these items would make a wonderful present for a songwriter in your life (even if it's you! :-) ) Check it out!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


7th annual IAMA!

The best way to learn about writing it to write - and what better way to learn than under the mentorship of Berklee College of Music songwriting instructors., the online extension school of Berklee College of Music, offers a number of instructor-led online songwriting courses that provide the tools, the support, and the practice environment you'll need to express yourself more effectively in words and music. You can also blend your musical ability with business savvy in forward-thinking online music business courses covering music publishing, marketing, management, music licesing, music supervision and more.

Over 130 courses and programs in music production, songwriting, guitar, bass, voice, music theory, arranging, orchestration, and music business are enrolling now for Berkleemusic's January 10, 2011 Term.

Click here to take a free online sample course!

Editor's Musings:

Welcome to another Muse's News. And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who just celebrated it! I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends. Aaaaand now the stores can start playing Christmas music. ;) It's already started here in Canada (our Thanksgiving was in October). It starts earlier and earlier every year. Always amazes me. I'll bet those of you who write holiday-related songs are really enjoying yourselves though! And a very Happy Holiday to you all too, since the next newsletter won't come out until it's mostly over. Again, I hope you spend it with many loved ones and don't end up with too bad a hangover the next morning. ;-)

Anyway, lots of great stuff to pass your way this month, so I'll get right to the raffle winners - and remember, if you'd like a raffle prize of your own, write to me! I'd love to hear from you. :) Instructions on what I need from you to consider you for a raffle prize are below this month's raffle winners.

And here those lucky folks are:

  • Martha Ann Brooks from Trion, GA, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.

  • Stanley Cornfield, from Vancouver, BC Canada, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

  • Rick Stephenson, from Johnson Creek, WI, has won a free 3 month membership to SongU, an Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.
  • Robert Graham from Brockville, ON Canada, has won a copy of SongFactory - the software program reviewed back in April of this year. Click here to read that review.

  • Rudy Spivey, from Florence, SC, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

If you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)

Enjoy your Holidays, whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year. It should be very inspiring (one way or another. ;-) )

Wishing you all the very best,


Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online. Windows and Mac compatible.

Music Reviews: By: Ivan Nossa, Jean-Baptiste Collinet, Cyrus Rhodes
& Dan Cohen


Ivan Nossa:

* Neil Thomas
* Neil Kelly Quartet
* Kai Brant
* David Stern

Jean-Baptiste Collinet:

* Neil Thomas
* Phil Celia
* David Silva
* Ian Evans
* The Workers

* The Love Load

Cyrus Rhodes:

* D.B. Rielly
* Clay McClinton
* Paul Haasch
* Cheryl Fare
* Kelly Pettit

* Dan O Mara
* Mick Byrd
* Arienette

* Eric Skye Acoustic Groove Trio
* Fallback

Dan Cohen:

* Dashdown

Click here for bios on each of the reviewers. If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

Artist Spotlights:

Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
in the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.


Moebius Cat - Genre: ALTERNATIVE

Moebius Cat is a fluid and dynamic project, creating melodic and emotional music in an experimental fusion of dark wave, progressive rock, gothic ethereal, world, electronic and neoclassical styles. Sounds intriguing? Then go to the website, listen to Moebius Cat music and download the entire CD to your hard drive or iPod. If you’re a musician or a singer and feel that your talent can contribute to Moebius Cat unique sound - Contact Moebius Cat!


Naz B - Genre: RAP & HIP HOP

This Zurich-based Rapper talks about the real streets and real stories, about real people - stories from all over the world, anthems for a global Hip Hop generation, not some diamonds and cars fantasy world. Naz B brings together a creative crew around him from all over the world, mixing different flavours together in a cultural melting pot.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

How To Write A Hit Song
By Molly-Ann Leikin

To be honest, when I picked up this small book – 137 pages – I was convinced that it would be somehow… incomplete. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that, although small in size, it’s huge in content. And it means business too; right from the get-go, inspiration is thrown at you, with exercises starting on page 2 to get your creativity flowing.

Leikin suggests that one of the best exercises for an aspiring songwriter is to listen to and study as many songs as you can. And she offers some fun and interesting ways to get exposed to some new songs that you’ve never heard before – because when we hear songs that we know, it’s harder to break them down and study them when we’re too busy bopping to the music, or belting out our favourite line.

Also, there is a whole chapter dedicated to the title of the song. There are some really interesting tips to be found here on making your title more interesting. And still another essential subject in the craft of songwriting: collaborating. One of the most valuable lessons you will learn in a songwriting book is how to work with others. And it’s not always about the pen and paper aspect of the collaboration process, so a good book should include tips on what to look for in people when choosing a collaborator. Leikin takes us through some trying personal experiences that she’s had with people in various areas of the music industry, and although we can laugh with her now, we just know it wasn’t so amusing at the time.

We all know that, in order to write, we need to sit down and, well, just do it. But we also all understand how difficult it can be to find time to write every day, especially with full-time jobs and days filled with all-important, seemingly never-ending tasks. Leikin proposes ideas to make every single minute of our writing time beneficial. No time goes wasted. And if you need stimulation in the creative department, you’ll find many useful “games” to get you going.

There’s also advice on finding a publisher for your songs, and again, filled with personal stories from the author herself. Sure, we may experience our own horror stories somewhere down the line, but the information shared here is sure to help minimize those experiences for us. Meeting with potential publishers is also covered. Tips from what to wear to where to sit during a lunch meeting are found within these pages of a small but weighty book.

Finally, the book includes a special treat at the end – an interview with Melissa Etheridge. Leikin give us a detailed analysis of one of Melissa’s song as a lesson, and she gets a very candid interview from the singer as well.

So, if you’re looking for a quick read with concise information, you’ll find it here. From the outset, Leikin shares here motto for writing a successful hit song: “Give them what they want.” And with this book, she certainly sets us up with the tools to help us do just that!



Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber.  When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her  to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.

If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let us know!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world's most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

Learn the one mistake even professional singers make, that drains away 3 times more vocal energy and yields only half the needed vocal power. Find out about the 3 simple exercises that allow even a "beginner" to make rapid increases in range (this also eliminates vocal strain). Learn Brett's secret for "dissolving" your break, so you'll never have to flip into falsetto again, but you'll still sing as high as you want--in full voice - and LOTS more.

The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at &
Please check there regularly for updates!


The highly recommended Great American Song Contest is open to amateur songwriters everywhere. This international event features prestigious awards for 45 winners in 9 style categories and provides over $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written evaluations of their songs. GASC music-industry judges include prominent publishers, music producers and recording artists. Songwriters, lyricists and composers are welcome. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere.

Submission deadline has been extended to December 10, 2010.
For details, visit:


Enter your songs now. Over $150,000 in cash and prizes including a $25,000 cash prize to the 2010 Overall Grand Prize winner! This is an excellent opportunity for songwriters, artists, and bands that are looking to gain exposure in the music industry. Winning ISC isn't just about the cash and prizes. The recognition, exposure, and kudos of winning ISC add to the reasons to enter and benefits of winning. ISC is looking for great songs and songwriters - so, whether you're a professional songwriter or just starting out, ISC welcomes your entries.

Called "the songwriting competition to take note of" by the New York Times, ISC is the premier international songwriting competition in the world. Renowned for its high caliber of judges, ISC offers you the chance to have your music heard by some of the most high-profile and influential figures in the music industry, including Peter Gabriel; Rihanna; Kings of Leon; Tom Waits; Ben Harper; Chris Hillman (The Byrds); Jeff Beck; Kelly Clarkson; Timbaland; Keane; McCoy Tyner; Ben Folds; Train; Robbie Williams; Michael W. Smith; Terence Blanchard; Jerry Lee Lewis; Adele; Dan Zanes; Black Francis (The Pixies); Robert Smith (The Cure); Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Regina Spektor; Jeremy Camp; and many more. Also judging are record label executives Monte Lipman (President, Universal Republic Records); Amanda Ghost (President, Epic Records); Rick Krim (Exec. VP, Talent & Music Programming, VH1); and many more. To enter, go to to


The 2011 Tipperary International Song of Peace Contest will take place in Tipperary Town, Ireland. What kind of song is Tipperary Peace Convention looking for? A song of Peace, Love and Harmony, about people, places or things, in fact anything that one feels constitutes a 'Sense of Peace'. The organizers are most anxious that the contest embraces all musical tastes. Entries must be submitted on a compact disc or cassette tape with one copy of the type-written lyric. The entry fee is €25 (euro) or equivalent amount in your own currency. 

The closing date for entries is February 1st, 2011. From the entries received, 10 songs will be chosen to compete 'live' in the Grand Final in Tipperary Town, Ireland. The winning song will receive a cheque for €1,500 (euro) and a specially commissioned Tipperary Crystal Trophy. Entry Forms are now available and can be downloaded from the organizers website: or on 
Further information from the Contest Secretary, Martin Quinn on


The Next Classic are free internet song contests for original holiday, country and wedding songs. TNC showcases songs that may not always be "cutting edge" according to current music trends, but rather, may stand the "test of time" for years to come. The Next Classic is also a new approach to the old "songwriting contest" concept. First of all, there is currently NO entry fee. Secondly, while winning the contest will be reward enough in itself, we'll also be working to make it only the first step in the exposure of your music. Thirdly, instead of relying on old technologies that stretched contests out for months at a time, we're working in the internet age. Submission, judging, voting, as well as determination and notification of winners can now be accomplished in a matter of a few weeks.

Upcoming Contests: The Next Holiday Classic , The Next Wedding Classic and The Next Country Classic Song Contests

NEW THIS YEAR! We welcome Springbarrel Songwriter Services as a major sponsor. Springbarrel has a distinguished history of representing the catalogs of some of the best songwriters in Nashville and we are honored by their participation. Their songwriting services provide an additional cash value of $1800 for qualifying songs which they will be actively seeking to license with major artist and media outlets.


Stars Uncharted is a new website that was created in order to feature the best music out there and encourage originality, creativity, imagination and authenticity. If you know a great solo artist / songwriter / band or want your music featured, Stars Uncharted offers prizes to whoever helps it feature extraordinary music. At the moment SU offers Sony PCMM10 Portable Linear PCM Recorders (List Price: $399.99) to anyone who introduces them to great music. Blow their virtual socks off and the music you suggest will be featured and you'll win a digital recorder.



MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse readers on a single song consultation: MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over 1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson

©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

I've come across a great little gem of a blog for this month's Muse's Clues. It's called the Beatles Songwriting Academy ( You might say "Beatles?? Come on, they're so Yesterday" (little joke there :-), but actually you're going to find a lot to ponder on Matt Blick's blog.

Matt is spending his sabbatical studying the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, or as he says on his main page "Sitting reverently at the feet of Lennon & McCartney...& then stealing their shoes." What is the point of his blog? Essentially the point is to dissect 211 of their songs and discover all of the tricks they used to write them. You'll find a long list of songs he has already analyzed, along with other musings and articles. One such example is where he takes a look at a classic Beatles chord progression and discovers the minor 4 chord ( which shows up in a number of their songs. Not only does he analyze the Beatles' writing, he encourages you, the songwriter to try these same tricks in your songs. In the case minor 4 chord article, he gives you four different chord progressions including the minor 4th in each for you to experiment with.

On another page called Tickets to Write, Matt spells out a number of tricks that the Beatles used more than once in various songs. As an example, staying off the root chord in a progression, especially not using it as the first chord in the song, changing time signatures, and even (gulp) writing less lyrics! I've read other analyses of the Beatles songs and recordings before, but not necessarily from a songwriter's perspective. Their influences were many, and as it turns out they have in turn influenced many songwriters that came after them. It could be that you'll discover something in Matt Blick's blog that will help you to write something new. Yes, everything old is new again :-)

Even if you don't like the Beatles (What?? You don't like the Beatles??), there is a lot to be gleaned from Matt's Beatle's Songwriting Academy. And it looks like there will be still more to come, so you might want to bookmark it!


Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and a songwriter's messageboard.

Songwriting Tips:

Featured Article - By James Moore

Learn How To Sell Your Music & Beat The Torrents

Most independent musicians complain about the dominance of free torrent websites. No matter what they try to sell and how they try to sell it, people just aren't buying anymore. I hate to be the bearer of perceived "bad news", but the temporary solution is to stop selling. The new business model in the digital world is to give your product away, and don't do it begrudgingly either! You won't be competing with the highly popular torrent sites and tech savvy viral artists by offering a download of your new CD for $10. You'll also miss out on thousands of potential fans.

These days, if people can't find a free download of your CD on your home page they will immediately check Google for a torrent. If you're not listed, you've lost a potential fan. That's if this individual was interested in your band in the first place, which you will need some smart self-promotion to encourage. So why waste the opportunity by being stingy in a decidedly non-stingy environment?

The new motto is: Give first. Sell later.

When I say give, I'm saying you should become your own torrent site. You should also use the major torrent websites to promote your band as well. Many people don't trust torrent websites, so offering your CD as a free, high quality digital download on your home page is a major promotional plus for your band. It gives people a reason to have your album. You don't lose any money because these are people who would have ignored you otherwise. You may say "Well, those aren't the people I'm trying to reach."

Wrong attitude.

If you believe in your music you should be trying to get it into as many hands as possible. Offer your CD for free digital download. Now, when you get press, the music blogs and websites can post your free download link at the bottom of every review and feature about your band. In fact, many places will talk about your album specifically because it's free. Exploit this opportunity. Research the places that do this. You will get hundreds, and eventually thousands of new fans.

Make sure that your site is set up so that people must give their email address or sign up for your mailing list in order to download the free album. This ensures that you build your fanbase and you can let these people know about specialty products in the future. Web template sites such as Bandzoogle offer these features. Write a press release about your free album and send it everywhere you can.

Once you have the fanbase, you have momentum, and you can start selling specialty items (physical products). You've built a strong group of fans, and some of these people will now want to buy physical products from you - deluxe CD offers with autographed photos, hats, hooded sweatshirts, vinyl releases, and remixed tracks. Be creative. There are no rules. Once your audience is there, selling these items are easy. So stop crying about torrents stealing your fans. Be proactive and steal them back!


James Moore is a Canadian music consultant and author of the independent musician's resource guide "Your Band Is A Virus! Behind-the-Scenes & Viral Marketing for the Independent Musician". The book has consistently done well on the Amazon Kindle Music Business charts and is affiliated with the Indie Bible. His home page is The book can also be purchased in Amazon Kindle format here. He also maintains a blog at


Do the Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails marketing methods actually work? 
by James Moore

There has been much debate over whether the effectiveness of the modern viral marketing methods practiced by Radiohead (the 'pay-what-you-want' method) and Nine Inch Nails (the 'download the album for free' method) actually work for independent musicians with limited fan bases. I believe that both of these methods are effective, but only if the independent artist has a strong marketing campaign.


Sonic Activity: Making Your Songs Radio-Active - by Bill Pere

A song with a great story or message but "flat" sounding lyrics is like champagne without any fizz.  Sonic Activity is the aspect of a lyric that creates "ping-points" which are the little tingling phonetic bubbles that tickle your ear.   This article will help you master that important part of song crafting.


Giving Graces and Thanks - by Mick Polich

Time of the season to reflect, and give a short view on a few reasons to give grace and thanks...

Classifieds & Useful Services


The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles.

The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs!
500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!

Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as phone and fax numbers.

Click here for details and to order online.


GMC is a video lesson archive & community. GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons. GMC also features forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats + content for bass, drums, singing, piano etc. All genres and styles are covered - Rock, metal, shred, blues, jazz, country & acoustic, funk.. We want you to have fun while learning - so get rocking NOW!

Get instant access to:

-14273 videos, 2262 lessons and 37 instructors.
-Register at GMC forum - join a virtual band, chat with any instructor etc
-Backing tracks at different speeds & jam loop with every lesson
-Daily updates (average of ~10 new videos per day)
 -EXTRAS: Gear-, singing-, recording-, bass-, piano- and drum lessons. GMC Theory Grimoire eBook !!!

Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
Get a 10$ discount for your first month of subscription!


Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line Copyright Link.

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features - all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $54.95! (That's $5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review link at!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist today!


Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program is specifically created for the songwriter based on those findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!

Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering page.


One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the web, has been serving the Independent Music Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews, huge industry search directory, success-building resources, classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in today's competitive music industry.

For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I do make exceptions), where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to:

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

Contact Info & Credits

Jodi Krangle, Editor:

The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors.

Back issues and other information will be available here.

The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at

Back issues of the newsletter can be read here or in an archive at the National Library of Canada ecollection.


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