Are different digital downloads different releases?

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Are different digital downloads different releases?

Greg Thomas
Are digital downloads in different formats different releases? For example, "Fly Yellow Moon" (http://musicbrainz.org/release/924b8b54-af02-416f-90dc-9f3c14835934) can be downloaded in the UK from either;

1. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003JVBLFK (£3.99 in 256 kb/s MP3 format)

and possibly elsewhere, too.

On the face of it, these appear to be the same release as they have the same number of tracks that are the same length. 

Now, should this one entry have links to the different download sites, or should each download have it's own release? I'm leaning towards the latter, mainly for two reasons; 
a) It's only an assumption that they are the same release - it could be completely different arrangements on each and without download each and comparing, I don't *know* that they are the same.
b) The different codecs, whilst not as stark as the difference between cassette tape, vinyl and CD, are nonetheless different. Otherwise identical releases would be treated as different on physical medium, so why not different on a digital download?

But what is the MB view? The style guide doesn't really cover this, so should there be three different releases, each with their own download URL, or one release with three download URLs?

Thoughts welcome!

Thanks,

Greg

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Kuno Woudt
Hello,

On 12/31/2012 07:30 PM, Greg Thomas wrote:

> Are digital downloads in different formats different releases? For
> example, "Fly Yellow Moon"
> (http://musicbrainz.org/release/924b8b54-af02-416f-90dc-9f3c14835934) can be
> downloaded in the UK from either;
>
> 1. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003JVBLFK (£3.99 in 256 kb/s MP3
> format)
> 2.
> https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=Bjhqn5dhlu6esx2yswqkpolkqri
> (£4.49 in 320 kb/s MP3 format)
> 3. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-yellow-moon/id370394444 (£4.99
> in 256 kb/s AAC format)
>
> and possibly elsewhere, too.
>
> On the face of it, these appear to be the same release as they have the
> same number of tracks that are the same length.

I think they're different releases, yes.  The audio itself is different
because each retailer uses their own encoding (with different file
format and bitrate).  The available cover art is typically in different
resolutions.  The file names will be different.

When dealing with physical releases very small differences to the
coverart (different barcode or catalog number, different record label
imprints) already is enough for a new release, even if the audio is
identical between them.  A different release date (e.g. for
geographical regions) is already a new release in musicbrainz.  We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

Though I believe most of us agree that if a retailer of digital
downloads (such as bandcamp) offers the download in multiple formats
(e.g. flac, mp3, ogg), we consider those to be the same release.
(that is my impression based on irc discussions, I could be wrong).

-- kuno / warp.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren


On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 10:33 PM, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello,

On 12/31/2012 07:30 PM, Greg Thomas wrote:
> Are digital downloads in different formats different releases? For
> example, "Fly Yellow Moon"
> (http://musicbrainz.org/release/924b8b54-af02-416f-90dc-9f3c14835934) can be
> downloaded in the UK from either;
>
> 1. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003JVBLFK (£3.99 in 256 kb/s MP3
> format)
> 2.
> https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=Bjhqn5dhlu6esx2yswqkpolkqri
> (£4.49 in 320 kb/s MP3 format)
> 3. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-yellow-moon/id370394444 (£4.99
> in 256 kb/s AAC format)
>
> and possibly elsewhere, too.
>
> On the face of it, these appear to be the same release as they have the
> same number of tracks that are the same length.

I think they're different releases, yes.  The audio itself is different
because each retailer uses their own encoding (with different file
format and bitrate).  The available cover art is typically in different
resolutions.  The file names will be different.

When dealing with physical releases very small differences to the
coverart (different barcode or catalog number, different record label
imprints) already is enough for a new release, even if the audio is
identical between them.  A different release date (e.g. for
geographical regions) is already a new release in musicbrainz.  We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

Though I believe most of us agree that if a retailer of digital
downloads (such as bandcamp) offers the download in multiple formats
(e.g. flac, mp3, ogg), we consider those to be the same release.
(that is my impression based on irc discussions, I could be wrong).

From what I've seen people actually *do*, pretty much every digital release with the same tracklist is being treated as the same (and a fair amount of people don't even see the point of having the digital releases as separate from the physical at all, amazingly enough). I don't know if people would actively *disagree* if someone was to add one release per format, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone do it.
 
--
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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Greg Thomas
In reply to this post by Kuno Woudt
On 31 December 2012 20:33, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

OK, thanks for the clarification. It may be that not every one actually does it, but if that's what should happen in an ideal world, it at least gives me something to aim for!

Thanks,

Greg 

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren


On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Greg Thomas <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 31 December 2012 20:33, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

OK, thanks for the clarification. It may be that not every one actually does it, but if that's what should happen in an ideal world, it at least gives me something to aim for!

I'm curious to see what other users think about this issue :) Any other opinions around?

--
Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Lemire, Sebastien-2
I think it doesn't make sense to have a different release for every digital download site around.
The OP gave an example of a release from 3 different sites. I'm sure it wouldn't be very difficult for someone to come up with an example of a release available on hundreds of different download sites worldwide.
Having 

These music downloads often don't have a barcode or label information. I would prefer perhaps a single "special" Digital download release, and then linking it to the various download sites. I agree that the audio format, bit rate, etc... are important, perhaps they could preserved as attributes when linking.

Sebastien


On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren <[hidden email]> wrote:


On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Greg Thomas <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 31 December 2012 20:33, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

OK, thanks for the clarification. It may be that not every one actually does it, but if that's what should happen in an ideal world, it at least gives me something to aim for!

I'm curious to see what other users think about this issue :) Any other opinions around?

--
Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

lorenz pressler
In reply to this post by Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

imho they should not be, we would just list different shops.



Am 01.01.2013, 15:36 Uhr, schrieb Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren  
<[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Greg Thomas <[hidden email]>  
> wrote:
>
>> On 31 December 2012 20:33, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> We
>>> shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
>>> differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
>>> database.
>>>
>>
>> OK, thanks for the clarification. It may be that not every one actually
>> does it, but if that's what should happen in an ideal world, it at least
>> gives me something to aim for!
>>
>
> I'm curious to see what other users think about this issue :) Any other
> opinions around?

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Paul Taylor-2
In reply to this post by Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
On 01/01/2013 14:36, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren wrote:


On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Greg Thomas <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 31 December 2012 20:33, Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We
shouldn't treat digital versions differently in that regard, there are
differences between them, so we should have separate entries in our
database.

OK, thanks for the clarification. It may be that not every one actually does it, but if that's what should happen in an ideal world, it at least gives me something to aim for!

I'm curious to see what other users think about this issue :) Any other opinions around?

--
Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

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I dont see any worth in having seperate release for each, its just clutter.

Paul

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

RocknRollArchivist
In reply to this post by Greg Thomas
Hello all,

I'm generally very skeptic about "digital releases" and especially about their addition to Db.
A well-known artist which performs during a half of century (e.g., Jerry Lee Lewis) has a thousands of recordings. Anyone who knows a little the combinatorics can compute (or simply imagine) the number of possible combinations from these thousands by 10, 12, 15, 20, etc. (not billions, but much more), and each one can be titled by anyone as a "digital release". When we will add to them the number of possible combinations of recordings by Jerry Lee with the ones by other rock 'n' roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Bill Haley, etc., we can imagine (not compute!) this infinity of possible "digital rock 'n' roll compilations".
Do we need this infinity here in MB?
Valeriy Orlov
(RocknRollArchivist)
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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Frederic Da Vitoria
2013/1/2 RocknRollArchivist <[hidden email]>
Hello all,

I'm generally very skeptic about "digital releases" and especially about
their addition to Db.
A well-known artist which performs during a half of century (e.g., Jerry Lee
Lewis) has a thousands of recordings. Anyone who knows a little the
combinatorics can compute (or simply imagine) the number of possible
combinations from these thousands by 10, 12, 15, 20, etc. (not billions, but
much more), and each one can be titled by anyone as a "digital release".
When we will add to them the number of possible combinations of recordings
by Jerry Lee with the ones by other rock 'n' roll artists such as Elvis
Presley, Little Richard, Bill Haley, etc., we can imagine (not compute!)
this infinity of possible "digital rock 'n' roll compilations".
Do we need this infinity here in MB?

I understand the numbers, although I believe you are slightly exaggerating them, but I agree that digital releases are probably going to be in much bigger numbers than physical releases. But I am not sure we have a choice: physical releases are probably going to disappear in a few years, already some artists release their albums digitally before doing it physically, some even do digital-only releases. So we can't simply say that we don't include digital releases, this would mean excluding entirely a growing part of all releases.

--
Frederic Da Vitoria
(davitof)

Membre de l'April - « promouvoir et défendre le logiciel libre » - http://www.april.org

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Kuno Woudt
In reply to this post by Lemire, Sebastien-2
On 01/01/2013 04:10 PM, Lemire, Sebastien wrote:
> I think it doesn't make sense to have a different release for every
> digital download site around.
> The OP gave an example of a release from 3 different sites. I'm sure it
> wouldn't be very difficult for someone to come up with an example of a
> release available on hundreds of different download sites worldwide.

I'm not saying we should have different releases when there are no
differences.  For example the Ubuntu One music store is backed by
7digital, so a release purchased in the Ubuntu One music store and the
same release purchased at 7digital.com is the same release.

But when there are differences, I certainly want to be able to
distinguish between them.

-- kuno / warp.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Kuno Woudt
In reply to this post by Frederic Da Vitoria
Hello,

On 01/02/2013 12:24 PM, Frederic Da Vitoria wrote:

> 2013/1/2 RocknRollArchivist <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>>
>
>     Hello all,
>
>     I'm generally very skeptic about "digital releases" and especially about
>     their addition to Db.
>     A well-known artist which performs during a half of century (e.g.,
>     Jerry Lee
>     Lewis) has a thousands of recordings. Anyone who knows a little the
>     combinatorics can compute (or simply imagine) the number of possible
>     combinations from these thousands by 10, 12, 15, 20, etc. (not
>     billions, but
>     much more), and each one can be titled by anyone as a "digital release".
>     When we will add to them the number of possible combinations of
>     recordings
>     by Jerry Lee with the ones by other rock 'n' roll artists such as Elvis
>     Presley, Little Richard, Bill Haley, etc., we can imagine (not compute!)
>     this infinity of possible "digital rock 'n' roll compilations".
>     Do we need this infinity here in MB?
>
>
> I understand the numbers, although I believe you are slightly
> exaggerating them, but I agree that digital releases are probably going
> to be in much bigger numbers than physical releases. But I am not sure
> we have a choice: physical releases are probably going to disappear in a
> few years, already some artists release their albums digitally before
> doing it physically, some even do digital-only releases. So we can't
> simply say that we don't include digital releases, this would mean
> excluding entirely a growing part of all releases.

I don't understand the numbers as you both described them.

When a new album comes out, often with physical releases a CD has
different barcodes and release dates in various countries.  For a new
pop album I expect there to be at least a dozen different physical
releases we could enter into musicbrainz.

Whereas with digital the releases in each region are usually the same.
On occasion a UK version of an album on iTunes is different from the US
version, but usually they're identical.  So, for digital releases we
would have separate entries for iTunes, Amazon, Zune and 7digital but
not for the UK iTunes, US iTunes, NL iTunes, because those are all
perfectly identical.

There are only a few major online retailers, so I would think digital
downloads reduces the amount of releases compared to physical.

(Again, I'm only saying that digital releases should be kept seperate
when there are actual differences between them -- different cover art,
or different audio, digital booklet included or not, stuff like that).

-- kuno / warp.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Frederic Da Vitoria

I supposed he was referring to compilations. I guess low-cost "digital" compilations could become more frequent because all the editor would have to do would be assemble any number of often public domain recordings and do a little of internet marketing. I can understand why RocknRollArchivist is reluctant to add such releases.

--
Frederic Da Vitoria
(davitof)

Membre de l'April - « promouvoir et défendre le logiciel libre » - http://www.april.org/

Le 2 janv. 2013 16:37, "Kuno Woudt" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Hello,

On 01/02/2013 12:24 PM, Frederic Da Vitoria wrote:
> 2013/1/2 RocknRollArchivist <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>>
>
>     Hello all,
>
>     I'm generally very skeptic about "digital releases" and especially about
>     their addition to Db.
>     A well-known artist which performs during a half of century (e.g.,
>     Jerry Lee
>     Lewis) has a thousands of recordings. Anyone who knows a little the
>     combinatorics can compute (or simply imagine) the number of possible
>     combinations from these thousands by 10, 12, 15, 20, etc. (not
>     billions, but
>     much more), and each one can be titled by anyone as a "digital release".
>     When we will add to them the number of possible combinations of
>     recordings
>     by Jerry Lee with the ones by other rock 'n' roll artists such as Elvis
>     Presley, Little Richard, Bill Haley, etc., we can imagine (not compute!)
>     this infinity of possible "digital rock 'n' roll compilations".
>     Do we need this infinity here in MB?
>
>
> I understand the numbers, although I believe you are slightly
> exaggerating them, but I agree that digital releases are probably going
> to be in much bigger numbers than physical releases. But I am not sure
> we have a choice: physical releases are probably going to disappear in a
> few years, already some artists release their albums digitally before
> doing it physically, some even do digital-only releases. So we can't
> simply say that we don't include digital releases, this would mean
> excluding entirely a growing part of all releases.

I don't understand the numbers as you both described them.

When a new album comes out, often with physical releases a CD has
different barcodes and release dates in various countries.  For a new
pop album I expect there to be at least a dozen different physical
releases we could enter into musicbrainz.

Whereas with digital the releases in each region are usually the same.
On occasion a UK version of an album on iTunes is different from the US
version, but usually they're identical.  So, for digital releases we
would have separate entries for iTunes, Amazon, Zune and 7digital but
not for the UK iTunes, US iTunes, NL iTunes, because those are all
perfectly identical.

There are only a few major online retailers, so I would think digital
downloads reduces the amount of releases compared to physical.

(Again, I'm only saying that digital releases should be kept seperate
when there are actual differences between them -- different cover art,
or different audio, digital booklet included or not, stuff like that).

-- kuno / warp.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Alex Mauer
In reply to this post by Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
On 01/01/2013 08:36 AM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren wrote:
> I'm curious to see what other users think about this issue :) Any other
> opinions around?

From what I’ve seen, digital releases when they include artwork usually
just include the artwork of a physical release they correspond with
(meaning it’s either wrong, or they actually have all the exact same
details, except maybe release date).

That combined with the lack of verifiability (it’s relatively easy to
revise the history of a digital release and make it look like some
earlier version never existed) makes me generally nervous about trying
to keep track of the differences at all.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Davi Figueiredo
In reply to this post by Kuno Woudt

2013/1/2 Kuno Woudt <[hidden email]>

(Again, I'm only saying that digital releases should be kept seperate
when there are actual differences between them -- different cover art,
or different audio, digital booklet included or not, stuff like that).

Most digital releases get encoded from the same source; there are even services which allow the artist to upload the content once and have it submitted to several services simultaneously, and stores which let you download the release you bought in multiple formats. The encoding is generally an automated process and can change at any time even inside the same store (think of when iTunes started offering 256kbps "plus" files instead of the previous 128kbps ones and reencoded all the releases). Even the artwork can change over time: iTunes previously offered 600x600 covers, but now has 1200x1200 versions; eMusic once had only tiny cover thumbnails, then started offering huge 1400x1400px images, then they recompressed those images to make them smaller without changing the resolution, and now only offers 600x600 ones. Should each of these changes trigger a different release?

For physical releases, we generally consider different pressings of the same release to be a single entity, even though there can be minor differences in the disc (such as a few more sectors in the last track, which results in a different disc ID) or artwork (one pressing can have more faded colors than another, or a different "pressing number" as is common in Brazilian releases). It seems to me that we already use an ArtistIntent-like approach for them, and only consider releases as different when it was actually the artist's or label's intention to make them different; we should do the same for digital releases. If the album in one service has a digital booklet which is not available on the others, or the artwork is actually different (as opposed to being simply resized, recompressed or slightly cropped to each service's standards), or it has been mastered differently (such as the "Mastered for iTunes" releases), or has a different label than another, then a new release is justified, but not simply encoding differences.

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

lorenz pressler

very well said
+1

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Crystal Hamaker
I'm confused by all of this. Don't many new/indie bands ONLY release digitally? With physical copies available by order through CDBaby, Reverbnation etc.? Wouldn't you be excluding a lot of music if you don't do digital releases? ---Crystal

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 2, 2013, at 10:05 AM, "lorenz pressler" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> very well said
> +1
>
> _______________________________________________
> MusicBrainz-users mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.musicbrainz.org/mailman/listinfo/musicbrainz-users

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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

jacobbrett
In reply to this post by Lemire, Sebastien-2
Lemire, Sebastien-2 wrote
I think it doesn't make sense to have a different release for every digital
download site around.
The OP gave an example of a release from 3 different sites. I'm sure it
wouldn't be very difficult for someone to come up with an example of a
release available on hundreds of different download sites worldwide.
Having

These music downloads often don't have a barcode or label information. I
would prefer perhaps a single "special" Digital download release, and then
linking it to the various download sites. I agree that the audio format,
bit rate, etc... are important, perhaps they could preserved as attributes
when linking.

Sebastien


On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren <
[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>
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I'd be fine with release/recording–store relationships that specify the encoding, assuming the various encodings were sourced from the same lossless files. 16-bit and 24-bit releases should probably be separate and I've in fact added a 24-bit release which had a different barcode the the 16-bit release: http://musicbrainz.org/release-group/5f7b384f-cb70-40c7-9570-6139ccb0be73 This being the case, sample rate/bit rate info could be an attribute of the medium itself (oh dear, how specific do we get? Perhaps release-level URL attributes are too inspecific?).
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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

Kuno Woudt
Hello,

On 01/08/2013 02:09 AM, jacobbrett wrote:
> I'd be fine with release/recording–store relationships that specify the
> encoding, assuming the various encodings were sourced from the same lossless
> files. 16-bit and 24-bit releases should probably be separate and I've in
> fact added a 24-bit release which had a different barcode the the 16-bit
> release:
> http://musicbrainz.org/release-group/5f7b384f-cb70-40c7-9570-6139ccb0be73
> This being the case, sample rate/bit rate info could be an attribute of the
> medium itself (oh dear, how specific do we get? Perhaps release-level URL
> attributes are too inspecific?).

I've seen various artist netlabel releases where each track is published
as they received it from the artist.  So that means different audio
formats and bit rates for each track.

(Obviously that is very rare, and we shouldn't necessarily support it in
musicbrainz, but it illustrates that even medium level is not specific
enough in a few cases).

-- kuno / warp.


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Re: Are different digital downloads different releases?

MeinDummy
In reply to this post by Davi Figueiredo
I fully agree with Davi's statement.

Different encodings do IMO not justify new releases. Neither do file naming differences or different cover art resolutions.
One reason is that all of these can change over time for a given download site as Davi said before.
Another reason is that we all probably get the same types of differences in our CD-based music collections. Everyone rips their own CDs with different encoder settings, gets cover art from his preferred sites and names the files according to his own file naming scheme. And all those different local versions are (of course) represented in MB by the same CD release. The only difference to the digital media releases is that ripping and cover art scaling and embedding into ID3 tags are usually done by the download service providers and therefore some users may actually end up with identical releases on their hard disks.
A third reason is that we would probably end up separating everything just because we don't know if releases from two different sites are really the same. And tons of separate releases in MB are more likely to remain incomplete than a single "container" release.

Rather than having one release per download site I'd even prefer to have all downloads with identical tracklists combined into one single digital media release.
Release events as they were pre-NGS would help to track different availability dates at the individual download services. But as long as MB doesn't support this we could use start dates for the release-URL ARs instead.
And I like Sebastiens idea of assigning attributes like format or bit rate to the release-URL ARs.

Cheers,

Christian (MD)
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