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The Muse's News

Issue 12.11 - February 2010
ISSN 1480-6975

This issue sponsored by:

MasterWriter 2.0!

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I n T h i s I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
@-- New Artist Spotlight Additions
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by Ed Teja
@-- 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 - Stuck in a Musical Rut: How to Evolve the
Way You Write and Play - by Joe Hanley
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2009 - 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. Find the perfect gift for the songwriter in your
life - even if it's you!
S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

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

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

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your
life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter is one of the most
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Its unique features together with an amazing array of reference
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instant. In a world where good is rarely good enough,
MasterWriter will be an invaluable tool in helping the songwriter
consistently create the exceptional.

If you have a high speed connection, you can download a 30-Day
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Receive a special *$50* discount just by ordering through The
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Endorsed by: BMI, ASCAP, NSAI, PRS and Taxi.
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E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s :

Hello again for another month. January is almost done. Wow.
Time flies, huh? I hope things are going well for you all in
this new year! Write any great songs lately? Learned anything
you were surprised to learn? I hope reading this newsletter will
help you on that journey. :) (Please do spread the word about
this newsletter. If you're finding it helpful, chances are,
others will too!)

Lots of great stuff for you this month, including a featured
article from Joe Hanley that I really think you'll find
inspirational. There's a new Artist Spotlight you might want to
have a listen to, new CD reviews and a new book review. There's
also plenty of new articles on the site that you'll find highly

And I'm still giving away prizes! It's easy to get put in the
queue for a possible prize. Check out the page at for all the listed raffle
prizes. If any of them interest you, write to me to let me know.
Include your first and second choices for a prize, along with
your mailing address and I'll let you know when a prize is on its
way! (Please don't ask for a prize if you've already won? Allow
me to share the joy, ok? :) )

This month, the lucky raffle winners are:

* Greg Reierson, from Surrey, B.C. Canada, has won a copy of
Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software

* Marty Dolciamore, from Ben Lomond, CA, 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.

* Michael Beckley from Sheridan, Oregon has won a downloadable
version of Rhyme Genie (, a dynamic
rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30
different rhyme types.

* Derdra Brantley from Houston, TX, has won a 6 month
subscription to the Onlinegigs (
service. This valuable service is a powerful tool for musicians,
agents, record companies and managers designed to virtually
automate the administration of booking and promoting a band or

* Ricky Harris from Pittsgrove, NJ has won a copy of
"100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher Bronson
Herrmuth. (

* Colleen C. Clark from St. Petersburg, Florida, has won a copy
of the book reviewed in this month's issue: "Michael Jackson: A
Life in Music" By Geoff Brown. (

Thanks for subscribing, guys. :)

Wishing you all things wonderful and inspiring,


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S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

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


Song submissions now open for Songwriters and now Lyricists for
the 2010 Worlds Best Songs Competition. All Genres Accepted and
strongly recommended for newcomers and veterans alike. Visit the
website for a full list of prizes
and contest rules. Sign up for the monthly newsletter to receive
a FREE COPY of "The Top 5 Sites All Songwriters Should Know"


M u s i c R e v i e w s : Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Robin Kelly
* Evan Hammer
* Gioia
* Mattia

Don Sechelski:

* Doug Spears
* Desolate Sky



For bios on each of the reviewers, see . 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!

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N e w A r t i s t S p o t l i g h t A d d i t i o n s :

Great music is only a click away!
Here are just some of the great CDs highlighted in the
Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse at

New Method - Genre: ROCK 

New Method is all about having fun with a new and fresh sound.
With a lyrically inspirational message, the band reaches out to
the younger generations seeking hope. Tour dates for the group
have included shows with the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers,
L.A. Galaxy, Dallas Stars, Disney World, and many others.

S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by Ed Teja

Michael Jackson: A Life in Music
By Geoff Brown
Omnibus Press
I'll start with a confession - I am the person in this universe
who is not a fan of Michael Jackson. I have a great deal of
respect for Thriller and some of his other work, but in general,
I thought it was a mistake to break up the Jackson Five. As a
result, when this book first landed on my desk, it met with a
groan. I feared I was facing a cheap attempt to capitalize on his
death with a mere rehash of his life story.

I was wrong.

Yes, Brown does recap Jackson's life in music, but this is not
some star struck look at a pop star. It actually looks at his
recording career, album by album, with a sharp eye and ear. Brown
might be another who is not overwhelmed by the Jackson image.

As a songwriter I found the book's analyses interesting. Brown
looks at various influences that left distinctive marks on the
Jackson sound. Thus it ranges from the Motown sound and songs of
Holland-Dozier-Holland and Smokey Robinson, to the sweet Philly
sound of Thom Bell and William Hart, to the brilliance of Quincy
Jones (I did mention that I liked Thriller, which was written by
Rod Temperton). Along the way, Brown catalogs the missteps (those
of Jackson, his producers and labels) that tried to cash in on
various levels of his fame. But the good music is what prevailed.

Brown has something to say about every track on every record.
Sometimes the comments are insightful, showing what made the song
or sound click or flop. (It's all well and good to say that
someone failed because they had personal problems or showed up
drunk, but what a songwriter wants to know is what makes a song
work.) Sometimes the comments are just dismissive, suggesting
that the track was a big mistake on everyone's part. But,
throughout, they provide a look at the way albums are put
together, sequenced, and songs selected - at least, at the major
labels. The landscape might be changing now, but the things that
made great tracks then still work, and that is the value of this
book for a songwriter.

The latter part of the book deals with a look at the careers of
Michael's siblings - primarily Tito, Janet and Jermaine, although
the others (Jackie, Marlon, Randy,and La Toya) are discussed
Again, if you are interested in working with artists, maybe
producing artists who are singing your songs, there is a lot to
be learned from this short section.

Here is an example. After the breakup of The Jacksons, Janet
Jackson, acting on the advice of a VP of A&R at A&M Records (John
McClain) connected with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They
were doing a tight funk sound and got writers Jellybean Johnson
and Monte Moir to write simple songs that emphasized Jackson's
strengths (which Brown explains). The resulting album defined
Janet Jackson and set her apart from Michael.

Stories like these, when the explanations are included and clear,
raise the level of a book about a star from fluff to substance.
If you are writing pop, and interested in how it ticks, and what
keeps it alive, this is worth a read. And, if you are a fan as
well, there are a number of interesting photos and insights into
the personal fortunes and misfortunes of the entire Jackson



Ed Teja writes a broad range of music. His songs and
instrumentals have appeared in television shows (Court TV and
Discover Channel) and in a variety of videos. He has had two CDs
released by Morrhythm Records ( and is
currently cowriting songs with an exciting singer who is working
on her second CD. As a performer, Ed has appeared at strange
venues in Hong Kong, Canada, St. Martin, Bequia, Venezuela,
Grenada and Trinidad, as well as the Silver City (New Mexico)
Blues festival, Pickamania, and the Tucson (Arizona) Folk

You can hear some of Ed's music at:

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!


S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

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



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M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including
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!

We’re excited to repeat the Sandra James Music Foundation
Songwriting Contest for the 3rd year. Our contest in 2009 was a
great success! We are a non-profit organization committed to
supporting the causes that were important to Sandra; positive
changes involving children, music, peace, and the protection of
the environment. First prize is $1,000 and recognition of the win
on the Sandra James Music Foundation website. The contest will
run from January 1st 2010 to March 31st 2010. The winner will be
announced May 1st. Please visit our website for more information
and send us your songs!

Fee: $25.00
Rules and application from may be found at:

Contemporary Christian Music Network's International Songwriting
Contest is bigger and better this year! More than $20,000 in cash
and prizes, four separate contests – one each quarter, 1st, 2nd,
and 3 rd place winners for each quarterly contest, one
"Songwriter of the Year Award" will be selected, progressive
songwriting critiques (you can enter, receive your critiques,
work on improving your songs, enter them again in a different
quarter, receive your critiques, etc.). For complete details, go
to http:

Are you ready for a new songwriting challenge in 2010? Join
pro-songwriter/recording artist Janey Street (who has several
cuts in film and TV and has recorded for Warner Brothers, Capitol
Records and Arista Records) for an intensive and interactive
four-week course as she challenges you to take your writing to
another level. With extensive focus on song development,
structure and emotional impact, participants will receive weekly
feedback and critiques on their songs, as well as fun writing
activities designed to further develop and apply techniques
presented in class. All genres and styles are welcomed. Classes
held Mondays in February (Feb. 1, 8, 15 & 22) from 6-8:30 p.m. in
West Nashville.

Visit for all

Point Blank College is currently recruiting enthusiastic
freelance tutors with music industry experience to teach our
Music Composition course. Candidates must have practical and
demonstrable knowledge of music theory, song structure,
arrangement, lyric writing, vocal production and recording
techniques. Songwriting skills should extend across a broad range
of contemporary musical styles, including both acoustic and
electronic music. Knowledge of copyright, royalties, and
songwriting career strategies are also required.

We are looking for a team player who is reliable and keen to work
in an educational environment with a diverse group of students.
Excellent communication skills are essential, as is attention to
detail. Ability to work to a deadline is also extremely important
as all tutors are required to complete detailed course
documentation and student evaluations each term. A PGCE or other
teaching qualification is an advantage but not essential. We also
offer an in-house accredited tutor training course. Please
submit your current CV along with a covering letter to .

For more information about Point Blank, please visit . We are an equal opportunities

The Singer/Songwriter Awards from We Are Listening is about the
hottest international songwriting contest in the world. It's no
surprise that participating artists have gone on to sign with top
management, license their music for film and television, as well
as collaborate with renowned producers and enjoy substantial
uplifts in independent record sales.
Deadline: 1st March 2010
Fee: $30

The Lyric Writer Awards from We Are Listening is the ultimate
contest for writers seeking to turn their lyrics into
professionally produced songwriter demos. If you long to have
your lyrics set to music by a published songwriter and have some
of the world’s most prominent session musicians play on your
demo, this could really be the chance of a lifetime!
Deadline: 31th March 2009
Fee: $20

Eskal-8 Media Ltd are running an international songwriting
contest aimed at songwriters rather than producers. With the
focus on promoting the value of great songs that stand on their
own merits, submission may consist of a clearly recorded
piano/vocal or guitar/vocal version of the song. The first prize
is a full, master quality production of the winning song and
inclusion on Eskal-8's sampler CD. The judging panel is made up
of international industry professionals from major publishers and

Entry details on our website - Deadline: March
15, 2010
So! If you have great lyrics, melody and harmony...this contest
is for you!
Good Luck from The Eskal-8 Team

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. Offer is good until 12/1/09.

ARE YOU an unsigned act, songwriter or producer?? Looking for a
Record, Publishing, Management and Licensing deal worldwide,
especially in the UK and USA? Each month the BANDIT A&R
NEWSLETTER publishes features on Labels, Publishers, Managements
etc looking to sign acts, songs or masters. Get yourself a FREE

Feed The Muse presents a simple model for creators and audiences
to join together and keep the arts flourishing and is a simple
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friends to contribute financially in the artists’ evolution.

If an artist has 5,000 MySpace "friends" and each contribute
even $2 that totes up to $10,000 for the next tour or recording
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artists and want to see them continue creating, the opportunity
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Visit to see how easy it can be to get the
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Receive 10% off your entire order when you enter the coupon code
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The author of The Little Black Book Of Band Profit Secrets has
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And be sure to check out The Little Black Book Of Band Profit
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STUDIOTRAXX.COM: BREAKING NEW GROUND - FOR YOU! provides an e-commerce platform that allows
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StudioTraxx is actively building its talent network and is
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1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today!
for more information!

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M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson

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


Editor's Note: Irene is taking a month off. She hasn't done this
in a VERY long time (if ever), but she'll be back next month with
another insightful article about a web resource that should not
be missed.


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:

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F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : by Joe Hanley

Stuck in a Musical Rut:
How to Evolve the Way You Write and Play

Have you ever become bored with your own playing? Does everything
you write sound like something you've written before? Are you
struggling to come up with new ideas? My friend, you are stuck in
a musical rut. Here's a few ways to change things up:

1. Learn new music. Your personal sound and style is actually an
intertwined mixture of the music that has influenced you
throughout your life. So, if you expose yourself to something
new, your writing and playing will begin to change. But it's not
enough to just listen to a new song. You have to recreate it in
whatever way you know how. And whatever you choose must be
something you connect with. You've got to at least like it, if
not love it, so that your sound and style will welcome it in with
open arms. So, pick a song you like, but have never played. Then
sing it, memorize the lyrics, learn the guitar part, program the
beat on your sampler, or do whatever it is you do. And not just
once, but over and over again until you can play it easily,
without thinking. Then it will truly become part of you and begin
to morph and change the songs you write and the way you play.

2. Take an idea from the song(s) you learned and write your own
song around it. The previous method in #1 will have the strongest
effect on your style. But it can take some time before you notice
any change. In order to dive right in, take a specific element
from the new song you learned and write a song around it. It can
be anything, big or small, just make sure it's something you've
never used before. Maybe it's a chord progression, a drum groove,
a guitar riff, a rhyming scheme, or any element that piques your
interest. This will get your creative juices flowing in a whole
new direction. SIDE NOTE: Be weary of passing off a song that you
write with this method as one of your own. Depending on what
element(s) you use, you might get yourself into legal trouble, or
at the very least be seen as an unoriginal copycat. It may be
best to treat this song as an exercise and keep it in the vault.

3. Set limitations and boundaries. If you always write long
melodies, force yourself to use no more than 5 notes per phrase.
If you tend to use only a few chords in your songs, use at least
eight different chords in your next song. Always writing about
love? Love is now out-of-bounds. Try live drums instead of
electronic drum loops. Put yourself in unfamiliar territory.

4. Do a cover. Instead of just learning a new song, recreate it
in your own way. The more drastically different from the
original, the better. It's like taking a bunch of foreign ideas
and making them your own. It will force you to stretch and grow
in all sorts of interesting ways.

5. Collaborate. Get together with another musician and write a
song together. Having to make your style mesh with someone else's
will make you find new ideas when yours don't work. Or it'll make
your old ideas twist and bend into new shapes in order to click
with your partner's.

6. Get random. I heard that Frank Zappa used to draw shapes on a
musical staff, and then write notes wherever the corners of the
shapes intersected with the staff. He then used that sequence of
notes to generate new ideas. Whether this story is true or not,
it illustrates the concept of randomness. Take your influences
out of the equation and you're bound to come up with something
new. Try playing random groups of notes on the guitar or piano to
create unexpected chords. Write a random melody and build a song
underneath it. Pick a bizarre subject by blindly pointing at a
page of an encyclopedia and use it as a lyrical concept. Once
again, you're forcing yourself into unfamiliar territory.

Just remember that whatever method you use, the idea is to take
yourself out of your comfort zone. Then you'll have no choice but
to come up with something new.


Joe Hanley is a composer and songwriter in NYC and has spent 29
long, A.D.D.-ridden years on this big, beautiful Earth, jumping
frenetically from one part of the music world to the next. He's
toured with Universal-Motown recording artist Tina Parol,
released a CMJ chart-ranking jazz album, and written and composed
music for advertising, websites, artists and TV. Joe writes for
the blog which publishes articles about
the challenges musicians face bringing their music to reality.
His original compositions and songs can be heard on his website

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" O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E :

Musicianaries: Songwriters with a Message and a Mission
- by Mary Dawson

Throughout history great songs and songwriters have sparked the
conscience of their nations. But to effectively write songs about
sensitive social issues requires great skill and sensitivity. In
this article, Mary Dawson gives some thought-provoking
suggestions for writers who feel moved to craft songs to touch
the issues of our day.


Blue Collar's Guest Blog: Dave Powell!! - by Mick Polich

I'm letting my good buddy Dave Powell take over this segment - he
came up with the interview on the topic of the quality of
teaching jazz improvisation in high school jazz band programs.
So....take it away, Powelly!


Take the 5M's Pop Quiz - by Cyrus Rhodes

Typically if you possess the 5 M's as a band or artist you
definitely have what it takes to become a signed professional.
Read on to find out what those M's are.


Songwriting Techniques -- WMD'S: Weapon of Musical Destruction
- by Paul Babelay

Most songwriting tips let us know all the things we should be
doing for success. But there are some things that we also should
not be doing if we want success. This is written
"tongue-in-cheek", all in fun. It will help you identify some of
the major song killers. Enjoy!


Establishing a realistic set of Expectations - by Cyrus Rhodes

O.K. how about for now we put aside the Limousine, the Hot tub
parties & Playboy Mansion Invitations, and set a much more
realistic goal for yourself. Let's start by making a career for
yourself an Independent Artists first like we previously


The Basics of Legal Contracts - by Cyrus Rhodes

In the Music Business a "handshake" or verbal agreement is quite
acceptable, not to mention it can even be used in the court of
law. However when things don't go according to plan, I've seen
the golden handshake turn into bad situations in a hurry,
especially when the things that don't go as planned involve


Free Songwriting Tips that Point You to Simplicity
- by Paul Babelay

You have probably heard before "keep it simple." But how do we do
that? It's easier said than done sometimes. Let us point you to
some keys of simplicity that will help you keep the main thing
the main thing.


SXSW Music Festivals - by Cyrus Rhodes

Music Festivals and Conferences are a great place for artists to
come together, share their ideas, their music, their
performances, and have fun doing it. Not only will you have fun,
but you will have an opportunity to showcase your music, while
meeting other artists and other prominent people within your
local music scene.


C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s :


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

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.

For details and to order online visit:

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 $44.95! (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

You Can Play Guitar author and publisher Scott Morris now offers
7 Free email guitar lessons that include easy to learn guitar
tablature, a sound file and free guitar lesson videos of his easy
to learn Billboard top rated guitar method that includes learning
guitar scales and theory used by professional songwriters. The
Free Guitar Lesson Videos - teach samples of learning the names
of the notes, sharps and flats, easy to play guitar chords and
more great information for beginner to professional level

But not only that - his lessons are currently $60 off their
regular price - AND he's offering free shipping within the US!
There's never been a better time than now to improve your guitar
playing (and there's a bass guitar course there too!).

Want to know more? Visit

Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding
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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


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,
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C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s :

Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR
Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER
The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about
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