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Is live the new battleground for streaming giants?

Streaming giants such as Apple, Spotify and Amazon are ramping up their live music offerings with exclusive live stream series featuring some of the world’s biggest acts.

Apple Music Live yesterday (27 October) announced that Grammy Award-winning artist Megan Thee Stallion will be the latest act to feature in the inaugural, exclusive live performance series.

Her upcoming concert at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles will be available to Apple Music subscribers in over 165 countries on 21 December at 19:00 PST, and local fans can register for the chance to be in the room for the rapper’s set.

Megan Thee Stallion follows in the footsteps of artists including Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Mary J. Blige, Lil Durk and Luke Coombs, all of whom have performed for Apple Music Live.

“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work,” the company notes. “Apple Music Live is a new recurring series designed to do just that: give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance.”

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Mary J. Blige, Lil Durk and Luke Coombs have all performed for Apple Music Live

Prior to Apple Music Live, the streaming behemoth previously dabbled in live music with events including the discontinued iTunes Festival and Apple Music Festival.

Amazon Music has also announced details of a new livestream concert series, which will also feature Megan Thee Stallion.

Hosted by American rapper 2 Chainz, Amazon Music Live will be streamed live from LA, featuring “the biggest artists performing their latest hits live”.

It will air on Prime Video following Thursday Night Football in the US and premieres 27 October with Lil Baby, followed by Megan Thee Stallion (3 November) and Kane Brown (10 November), with further performers to be revealed in the coming weeks.

“With Amazon Music Live, we’ve created a new, can’t-miss series for fans to experience the most exciting new music together,” says Kirdis Postelle, global head of artist marketing of Amazon Music. “For artists, this show represents a massive new stage to share their music with fans after Thursday Night Football – the biggest game of the week, airing live on Prime Video.”

Amazon Music Live will be streamed live from LA, featuring “the biggest artists performing their latest hits live”

As well as hosting Amazon Music Live, 2 Chainz will interview each night’s performing artist during Thursday Night Football shoulder programming. Each concert will be available for fans to stream live around the world on Prime Video and will also be available to stream on-demand for a limited time.

Each week’s performance will be filmed in front of a live audience. Attendance to the show is by invitation only and will be facilitated through ticketing and event discovery platform Dice.

Amazon Music also recently livestreamed Kendrick Lamar’s sold-out 22 October show at the Accor Arena in Paris.

Fans were able to watch the livestream for free exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide, the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app.

Spotify previously stepped into the live music sphere when it launched a new livestreaming virtual concert series during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spotify launched a new livestreaming virtual concert series during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Black Keys, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, Leon Bridges, and girl in red were among the artists that delivered what Spotify called “pre-recorded live shows” – which each ran for 40-75 minutes and cost US$15 to attend.

More recently, Spotify soft-launched a new website to sell tickets directly to its users, instead of redirecting customers to partner ticketing platforms.

The streaming provider premiered its tickets.spotify.com on 10 August, enabling those with a Spotify account to purchase event tickets via debit or credit card.

Apple, Amazon and Spotify join several other digital giants that have hosted live concert performances, such as YouTube which has been livestreaming Coachella performances for years and Hulu which has been enlisted to stream Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo music festivals in 2022 and 2023.

 


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Amazon Music to livestream Kendrick Lamar show

Amazon Music and Prime Video is to livestream Kendrick Lamar’s sold-out 22 October show at the Accor Arena in Paris.

Fans will be able to watch the livestream for free exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide, the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app. The concert marks the 10-year anniversary of the release of Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city LP.

Lamar’s performance, which will provide a special look at Lamar’s 65-date The Big Steppers world tour, will be available to view on-demand on Prime Video following the event, which will also feature sets from PGLang’s Tanna Leone and Baby Keem.

Produced by Live Nation and presented by Rotation, Amazon Music’s hip-hop and R&B brand, Lamar’s tour is currently making stops in Europe, UK and Australia before wrapping up at New Zealand at Auckland’s Spark Arena on 16-17 December.

“We are thrilled to be working with Kendrick Lamar, one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists of my generation, and PGLang to collaborate across Amazon for this epic entertainment event,” says Alaina Bartels, Amazon Studios’ head of talent synergy & specials. “We continue to be the home for talent and creating special opportunities for our global customers to experience their awe-inspiring creativity.”

“For artists, this show represents a massive new stage to share their music with fans”

Amazon Music has also announced details of new livestream concert series Amazon Music Live.

Hosted by American rapper 2 Chainz, the series will be streamed live from Los Angeles, featuring “the biggest artists performing their latest hits live”.

It will air on Prime Video following Thursday Night Football in the US and premieres 27 October with Lil Baby, followed by Megan Thee Stallion (3 November) and Kane Brown (10 November), with further performers to be revealed in the coming weeks.

“With Amazon Music Live, we’ve created a new, can’t-miss series for fans to experience the most exciting new music together,” says Kirdis Postelle, global head of artist marketing of Amazon Music. “For artists, this show represents a massive new stage to share their music with fans after Thursday Night Football – the biggest game of the week, airing live on Prime Video.”

As well as hosting Amazon Music Live, 2 Chainz will interview each night’s performing artist during Thursday Night Football shoulder programming. Each concert will be available for fans to stream live around the world on Prime Video and will also be available to stream on-demand for a limited time.

“Every Thursday night, I’m bringing the biggest and the brightest stars in music to the Amazon Music Live stage in Los Angeles,” said 2 Chainz. “We have the people that are influencing the culture and have carved their own unique path in music, like Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stallion and Kane Brown. Amazon Music Live is the only place to be for the official Thursday turn up!”

Each week’s performance will be filmed in front of a live audience. Attendance to the show is by invitation only and will be facilitated through ticketing and event discovery platform Dice.

 


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Driift acquires Dreamstage amid Deezer investment

Livestreaming business Driift is acquiring technology and sales platform Dreamstage amid a fresh £4 million investment from French streaming service Deezer.

Dreamstage provided the platform for Driift’s global livestream for Little Mix from The O2 in London in May, facilitating sales of over 85,000 tickets worldwide.

The companies say the union will bring together their respective production and tech capabilities to create a new leader in the livestream market, with the combined business continuing under the Driift name as an independent entity, run by CEO Ric Salmon and COO Claire Mas.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Driift,” says Salmon. “Over the past two years we have become genuine pioneers in the livestreaming space. We’ve collaborated with certain of the world’s most talented artists, filmmakers and creators to deliver online events that have been part of the latest redefinition of the livestreaming format. Our team has shown a proven ability to innovate, selling hundreds of thousands of tickets and generating millions of dollars in revenues already.”

Co-founded by Salmon and Brian Message at ATC Management, Driift has produced dozens of online shows for artists including The Smile, Westlife, Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Andrea Bocelli, Kylie Minogue, Fontaines DC and Dita Von Teese, and produced the BAFTA Award-winning Glastonbury Festival: Live at Worthy Farm in cooperation with BBC Studios.

Investing in both businesses in 2021 and 2022, Deezer remained a minority shareholder in Driift and became a majority shareholder in Dreamstage, prior to the latest transaction. The latest development sees Deezer become the largest shareholder of Driift, bringing its total investment this year to around $7m.

“Through Deezer’s investment, we are confident that our upward trajectory will accelerate”

“As the home of music, this is a milestone moment for Deezer,” says Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira. “Connecting artists and fans through engaging experiences is an essential part of our growth strategy, and adding livestreaming capabilities to our portfolio is a key component to deliver on this ambition.

“Driift has already built an unparalleled reputation for bringing groundbreaking livestreams to music fans all over the world, and we consider that the addition of Dreamstage’s tech and sales platform will take the business to the next level. We have full confidence in the Driift team to deliver fantastic results.”

Salmon says Driift has now secured sufficient funds to execute on its business plan and accelerate growth.

“Through Deezer’s investment, we are confident that our upward trajectory will accelerate,” he adds. “We are delighted to welcome Dreamstage’s hugely talented team of developers, engineers and customer service personnel into the company. We can now offer a fully integrated livestreaming solution to our partners, with production, promotion and what we see as a market-leading technology and revenue generating platform under one roof. It is a major cultural shift, and we look forward to bringing an even greater range of live experiences to truly global audiences.”

Current Driift co-owners ATC Management and Beggars Group will remain significant shareholders in the newly merged entity, with ATC holding two of the five board seats.

 


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Years & Years show to be livestreamed on demand

Years & Years homecoming show from London’s OVO Arena Wembley will be available to watch On Demand via new live event streaming platform On Air.

Recorded on 26 May as part of the Night Call Tour, the show will be available to watch in 4K UHD Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision from 7pm on 11 August.

“I’m so happy and excited to share this performance from the Night Call Tour,” says Years & Years’ Olly Alexander. “I grew up loving concert videos of Britney, the Spice Girls and Madonna so this is literally a dream come true.

“This show, created with Theo Addams, is a delirious night out that begins in a phone box and ends with a cosmic impalement. There are toilet cubicles, motorbikes, a magic chair and a giant bed along the way. I had the best time. It’s not possible for me to physically take this show around the world so it’s a great feeling to have it captured like this and to be able to share it with everybody.”

On Air has previously worked with artists including Arlo Parks and Skepta

Originally formed as a band, Years & Years is now an Alexander solo project. Represented by One Fiinix Live agent Jess Kinn outside of North America, he performed on the Other Stage at last weekend’s Glastonbury festival, with upcoming tour dates including Poland’s Open’er Festival (29 July), Montreux Jazz Festival (1 July), the UK’s Wilderness Festival (4 August) and Spain’s DCode Festival (17 September)

Launched in 2020, On Air has previously worked with artists including Arlo Parks and Skepta, as well as announcing an upcoming show with Tinie Tempah. On Air events promise to create an innovative and immersive experience optimised for streaming – including high-quality production, lighting and set design.

As part of its ongoing partnership with not-for-profit charity One Tree Planted, On Air will be planting one tree for every ticket purchased from their website for the Years & Years show.

 


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Livestreaming: What happens next?

A panel of industry experts debated what the future holds for livestreaming following the return of touring.

The ILMC session: Livestreaming: On trial was presented by Eleven Management’s Estelle Wilkinson, with speakers Ric Salmon of Driift, Grazia Tribulato of LiveNow, Max Wentzler of Zart Agency and agent Steve Zapp of ITB on hand to pass judgement.

While the format flourished during the pandemic, concerns have been raised that it has fallen down the list of priorities amid the return of IRL concerts.

But Driift CEO and co-founder Salmon, whose company has sold hundreds of thousands of tickets for livestreamed gigs with acts including Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Kylie Minogue, Biffy Clyro, Andrea Bocelli and Laura Marling, said he is convinced it is here to stay.

“I’d be shocked if it doesn’t become just part of the standard lexicon of what we do”

“I think we need a couple of years for us all to work out where this is going and hopefully, businesses won’t lose too much money through that process,” he said. “Unfortunately, development in [the digital] sector tends to be slowed down and stymied by arguments and disagreement, and it would be nice if we can find a way of that not happening this time.

“But in long term… I’d be shocked if it doesn’t become just part of the standard lexicon of what we do.”

Germany-based Zart Agency launched Zart.tv in 2020, with the first hybrid livestreaming concert with AR content in the country. Wentzler said he had been left scratching his head at the reluctance of certain parties to embrace the fresh opportunities created.

“There’s a potential revenue stream… And people are shutting their doors to it”

“What I think is a bit mind boggling about this whole conversation is there’s a potential new revenue stream… And people are shutting their doors to it,” he said.

“In five years, I would love to see labels really understanding the potential, especially with younger artists and up and coming hot artists.

“What I’m seeing right now in Germany – because of state funding – is that a lot of venues now have five, six cameras, all remote controlled. The house technicians are actually learning to do sound and do video at the same time. We’ve seen this a lot in jazz clubs in Germany, and they’re doing a lot of revenue – some that I’ve talked to have been doing six figures. I would love to see that business model being extrapolated on to bigger areas.”

Zapp’s artist roster includes Biffy Clyro, who played a behind-closed-doors global livestream show from Glasgow Barrowlands in 2020 to launch their A Celebration of Endings album. He spoke of the advantages offered by the format, particularly geographically.

“[There are] certain countries that you can’t tour because it’s too expensive to get to,” he said. “The streaming scenario is an opportunity to get the artist to be seen in those countries. You could put a bit of a spend behind it and maybe try and build it to then be able to afford to tour in the future.”

“If it’s a standalone livestream, completely outside of any campaign that’s going on, it’s really difficult to market”

LiveNow’s most successful livestream to date was Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 livestream, which saw more than five million people tuning in live, according to organisers. However, more generally, Tribulato advised a certain amount of education on livestream events was still required for consumers.

“I think everybody is still quite confused on what are they going to get when they buy a ticket for a livestream,” she said. “When they get a ticket, what do they get? Are they watching the show live? Are they watching a pre-recorded show? Can they watch it after 24 hours? Can they watch it forever? There’s still a lot of confusion. and a lot of marketing is spent on actually explaining what it is.”

Tribulato suggested it makes more sense to position livestreams as part of an artist’s wider promotional campaign, rather than a one-off concert.

“If it’s a standalone, completely outside of any campaign that’s going on, it’s really difficult to market,” she said. “So what we tend to do is ‘tentpole events’, as we call them: big events… in the campaign of the artist. So I think the main task is to find a way to incorporate the livestream in the cycle.”

Salmon countered that Driift had seen considerable success with The Smile’s groundbreaking trio of gigs in London in January, where each performance by the Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood side project was held in front of a seated audience of 1,200 and livestreamed in real time for a different timezone.

“I don’t think you can make a blanket rule that they don’t work in isolation,” he said. “Admittedly, it was with a couple of famous people from a very famous band, but it was the definition of ‘in isolation’, because it was a launch event, and the first time they’d ever done anything, and the first time anyone had ever heard any of the music.

“Now it’s slightly different, of course, because it’s an offshoot from Radiohead so you’ve got a ready made fan base. But it was phenomenally successful and vastly outperformed our expectations.”

“The pandemic accelerated the understanding of the sector so rapidly”

Driift sold more than 85,000 tickets for Little Mix’s livestream from The O2 in London last month, which marked the final date on the group’s Confetti Tour.

“There’s loads of evidence that consumers want this stuff,” said Salmon. “There’s a convenience to it and there’s a geographical reach that you can achieve with with livestreams that you can never reach with physical shows, so there’s a demand for it.

“We were very fortunate that we were working in this vacuum of the pandemic, so we had this captive audience. But it accelerated the understanding of the sector so rapidly. It’s now a case of us as an industry catching up with that and working out how best to use it. Because, frankly, we’d be fucking mad not to find a solution for it going forward.”

Salmon also addressed discussions with performance rights organisations (PROs) over the livestream tariff, including the well-documented dispute with PRS for Music.

“One of the biggest realisations we had at the beginning of all of this was there was there was no precedent,” he said. “There was no licensing structure for this stuff, which was kind of remarkable in the fairly advanced industry we think we are, and so it’s been a challenge.

“The labels have  a very vocal view. The publishers have a very vocal view. Artists, managers, songwriters and everybody in between have a very vocal view. Some PROs have been very robust in their negotiations, others have been a lot more understanding and open-minded. But generally speaking, we’ve got it to a fairly good place and I think we’re getting to a point now where [Driift] will be signing some licensing agreements with the PROs that don’t set a terrible precedent.”

 


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Deezer to livestream sold-out stadium concert

French streaming service Deezer is to host a global in-app and web livestream of Jul’s hometown stadium show on Saturday (4 June).

The sold-out 60,000-cap concert will be broadcast from Marseille Orange Vélodrome Stadium from 9pm in “the first large-scale livestream of its kind” on the platform.

The event will take place the day after the French rapper – consistently the most-streamed artist on Deezer – releases his new album Extraterrestre.

“Jul is a superstar, not only in France and his hometown of Marseille, but around the world,” says Nigel Harding, Deezer’s VP of artist relations. “We’re thrilled to be part of bringing this unique experience to an international fanbase.

“This livestream is the first of its kind for Deezer, but there will be many more to come”

“This livestream is the first of its kind for Deezer, but there will be many more to come as we continue to explore ways of bringing artists and fans together.”

The gig will be livestreamed in its entirety in HD quality on the Deezer app and on Deezer.com.

Jul has regularly collaborated with the streaming platform in the past, including on two exclusive shows leading up to the 2020 release of the album 13’Organisé.

 


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Driift sells 85k tickets for Little Mix livestream

Online event promoter and producer Driift sold more than 85,000 tickets for Little Mix’s livestream from The O2 in London last Saturday.

Broadcast live on 14 May and directed by Liz Clare of Gold Dust Films, the show marked the final date on Little Mix’s Confetti Tour.

The livestream of the sold-out concert was watched by ticket buyers in 143 countries including 29,000 cinema-goers, who watched a simulcast of the event via a partnership with Rippla in association with CinemaLive.

“The format is clearly here to stay”

“Now the music business has emerged from lockdown, and with gigs and festivals once again in full flight, we are only now seeing the full potential of livestreaming,” says Ric Salmon, Driift co-founder and CEO. “The format is clearly here to stay, and with the right artist and the right creative and technical team in place, we can expand a single one-off performance into a genuine global event.

“The reaction from fans has been astonishing. I would like to congratulate Little Mix, their brilliant management team, and all our partners on this incredible achievement, and I’m delighted so many people around the world could share in such a unique and special moment.”

Co-founded by Salmon and Brian Message at ATC Management, Driift has now produced more than 40 online shows for artists including The Smile, Westlife, Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Andrea Bocelli, Kylie Minogue, Fontaines DC and Dita Von Teese.

“It’s been a real pleasure to repeat our partnership outside of lockdown”

With livestream tickets priced at £13/€15.50/US$17/AUS$23, the original 8pm UK broadcast for Little Mix was later retransmitted for audiences in North America and Asia. Ticket buyers could also enjoy on-demand, replays for up to 48-hours after the concert ended. Driift estimates that over 200,000 fans will have accessed the show online – equivalent to 10 times The O2’s 20,000 capacity.

“Having worked with Driift on Niall Horan’s Royal Albert Hall livestream back in 2020, it’s been a real pleasure to repeat our partnership outside of lockdown,” Harry Magee, co-founder, of Modest! Management, which represents Little Mix. “We are delighted with the results, and particularly that such a genuinely global audience could share in the celebratory experience of Little Mix’s last show at The O2.”

Driift, which counts Beggars Group and Deezer as investors, also co-produced the Live At Worthy Farm livestream for Glastonbury Festival. It has now sold more than 700,000 tickets and won recognition from BAFTA, the Royal Television Society and The Webby Awards.

 


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Live Nation, Hulu extend deal to stream C3 Presents fests

Live Nation has extended its partnership with American subscription streaming service Hulu, after a successful turn as the official streaming destination of Lollapalooza in 2021.

Under the new deal, Hulu will become the official streaming platform for C3 Presents’ largest festivals – Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits – throughout 2022 and 2023.

For all three festivals, select performances will be livestreamed exclusively to Hulu SVOD (subscription video on demand) subscribers at no additional cost. Additional special footage and behind-the-scenes looks will also be available.

Two streaming channels will be made available for performances taking place between Friday and Sunday at each of the festivals. For Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, only one streaming channel will be available on the Thursday of each event.

The deal marks the first time a streaming platform has had streaming rights to all three of the iconic festivals.

“The demand for live music is at an all-time high and the live experience has never been more connected to digital”

“Hulu and Live Nation are both committed to delivering exceptional entertainment to fans, so we are thrilled to be collaborating with them, again, as we expand our offering to include these three legendary festivals,” says Hulu president Joe Early. “Each event is unique, but all three bring people together for incredible music, artistry, and experiences, which we are fortunate to be able to share with Hulu subscribers.”

Charlie Walker of C3 Presents adds: “The demand for live music is at an all-time high and the live experience has never been more connected to digital. By expanding our partnership with Hulu, even more fans will be able to tune into each of these incredible festival experiences in real-time and enjoy live performances from their favourite artists with the fans on-site.”

Bonnaroo is set to take place 16–19 June as it returns to the farm in Manchester, Tennesse for the first time since 2019, with Lollapalooza slated for 28–31 July and Austin City Limits will return for two weekends from 7–9 and 14–16 October.

 


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Rock am Ring to be streamed live, free of charge

This year’s edition of Rock am Ring will be streamed live, with fans at home able to watch the broadcast free of charge.

The German festival is set to take place between 3 and 5 June at the Nürburgring, with performances from acts including Green Day, Muse, Volbeat, Placebo, Måneskin and more.

Thanks to a partnership between CTS Eventim and RTL+, fans around the world will be able to watch performances from all 70+ acts without restrictions, via the web browser on RTLplus.de and the app for RTL+ premium users.

With around three million paying subscribers and up to 7.01 million unique users per month, RTL+ is the leading German entertainment service in the streaming market.

“It’s great that we can now share this experience with even more people”

The stream will be produced by Eventim Brand Connect, which is responsible for brand partnerships, media marketing and sponsorships at CTS Eventim.

“We are delighted to have gained an outstanding new media partner in RTL+. After an enforced two-year break, this Rock am Ring festival promises to be extra special. It’s great that we can now share this experience with even more people,” says Dr Frithjof Pils, MD of Eventim Live.

“Our partnership with RTL+ underscores our strategic objective to massively grow Eventim Brand Connect as a business segment in the near future.”

Frauke Neeb, programme director at RTL+: “We are in the process of growing RTL+ into Germany’s largest entertainment platform, where we will also be offering an extensive range of music to stream in the future. We are delighted that this new partnership with Eventim is already giving us the opportunity to offer our customers a live stream of Germany’s largest music festival featuring top acts.”

 


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Harry Styles to kick off Apple Music Live series

Apple Music has announced the launch of a new recurring live music series, Apple Music Live.

Kicking off with Harry Styles: One Night Only in New York at UBS Arena in Long Island on 20 May, the livestream series promises to “give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance”.

The show will be streamed exclusively to Apple Music subscribers at no extra cost at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT and coincides with the release of Styles’ third album Harry’s House. There will also be encores on 22 May at 12pm EDT/9am PDT and 26 May at 4 pm BST.

“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work”

“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work,” says the tech company. “Apple Music Live is a new recurring series designed to do just that: give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance.”

Details of other acts set to take part in the series are yet to be revealed. Apple previously ran the iTunes Festival (later the Apple Music Festival) in London from 2007-16, which starred artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Oasis, Elton John, Britney Spears and Robbie Williams.

 


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