TODAY'S TOP STORY: Producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold has responded to allegations of sexual harassment that have been made against him by a former personal assistant. Those claims, he insists, are part of a "calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and extort money"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Paul Oakenfold responds to allegations of sexual harassment following filing of lawsuit in LA
LIVE BUSINESS Coldplay provide update on their environmentally sustainable touring efforts
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple unveils its Vision Pro headset
MEDIA Spotify confirms restructuring and downsizing of its podcasting business
GIGS & FESTIVALS Lewis Capaldi cancels upcoming shows to "rest and recover" ahead of Glastonbury performance
Brian Eno announces first solo tour

ONE LINERS Dave & Central Cee, Superstruct, Semisonic, more
AND FINALLY... Royal Blood comment on that Radio 1 Big Weekend performance
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Paul Oakenfold responds to allegations of sexual harassment following filing of lawsuit in LA
Producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold has responded to allegations of sexual harassment that have been made against him by a former personal assistant. Those claims, he insists, are part of a "calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and extort money".

The allegations were made in a lawsuit that was filed with the courts in LA last week, in which an unnamed woman accuses Oakenfold, his manager Paul Stepanek, and the latter's companies New Frequency Management and Stepanek Management, of violating her employment rights.

The plaintiff says that she began working for LA-based New Frequency Management last October, primarily assisting Oakenfold, which involved working from the DJ's home. "Throughout plaintiff's tenure with defendants, and very shortly after starting work for defendants, plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment by Oakenfold", the lawsuits claims.

It then alleges that on four different occasions, including on the first day the plaintiff was assisting the DJ at his home, "Oakenfold touched his genitals and then masturbated in front of plaintiff when Oakenfold was aware that plaintiff could not escape".

"In each instance of masturbation", it goes on, "Oakenfold stimulated his genitals with his hand, in close proximity to plaintiff, for plaintiff to see. On each separate date of masturbation, Oakenfold masturbated for longer periods of time".

On one occasion, the lawsuit claims, this actually occurred in the plaintiff's own car. "Oakenfold sat in the passenger seat, spread his legs wide, and proceeded to masturbate with plaintiff only inches away, while plaintiff was driving Oakenfold home from the post office. Plaintiff froze in fear and shock while being in such close proximity to Oakenfold".

The plaintiff says that she made the decision to report these incidents to her employer in mid-November, making a formal complaint to Stepanek on 29 Nov.

Two days later, she claims, she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. "Rather than protect plaintiff, defendants closed rank around Oakenfold", the lawsuit states. "CEO Stepanek told plaintiff that employer defendants would fire her if she did not sign the non-disclosure agreement".

She ultimately agreed to sign the NDA under duress, the lawsuit states, and she then subsequently worked elsewhere in Stepanek's business. However, her hours were reduced and, ultimately, she was told on 13 Mar this year that her services were no longer required because there was insufficient work for her to do.

In the months between making her complaint and being laid off, the plaintiff alleges, Stepanek "repeatedly brought up Oakenfold and attorneys, making plaintiff even more uncomfortable".

"Defendants terminated plaintiff not for any legitimate reason", the lawsuit then concludes, "but in retaliation for plaintiff's complaints about the aforementioned sexual harassment, in violation of the law".

The plaintiff accuses Oakenfold, Stepanek and the management companies of violations of Californian employment law, and in particular sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination in violation of the state's Fair Employment And Housing Act, as well as wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

The lawsuit also notes that Oakenfold is seemingly no longer represented by Stepanek's companies. It says: "On information and belief, Oakenfold terminated employer defendants' representation agreement and is not currently represented by employer defendants".

Oakenfold himself responded to the allegations last night on Instagram. He wrote: "I want to address recent allegations of sexual harassment made against me. Let me be absolutely clear: I categorically deny any and all claims of improper conduct. Respect, integrity, and consent are values I hold dear, and I have always treated everyone with utmost professionalism".

"It is disheartening to see these baseless accusations", he added, "which appear to be nothing more than a calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and extort money. I am committed to fully cooperating with any investigations to clear my name and will exhaust all legal remedies available, including the option to countersue, to protect my reputation and seek justice. Thank you for your unwavering support and understanding during this challenging time".


Coldplay provide update on their environmentally sustainable touring efforts
Coldplay have provided an update on their work to reduce the environmental impact of their touring activity. As you may remember, back in 2021 the band said that they were introducing an assortment of measures with the aim of ensuring that their current Music Of The Spheres Tour produced 50% fewer carbon emissions compared to their last global outing in 2016 and 2017.

They provided an update on those efforts at the end of last week. "The emissions data from the first twelve months of the tour has now been collated, assessed and independently validated by Professor John E Fernandez of the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative", they confirmed.

"On a show-by-show comparison, the Music Of The Spheres Tour has so far produced 47% less CO2e emissions than our last stadium tour. This is a good start - and something that our incredible crew should be very proud of - but clearly there's still room for improvement".

"Now that we're into the second year of the tour, we've started to run the entire show - audio, lights, lasers etc - from an electric battery system that allows us to use 100% renewable energy as efficiently as possible", they went on. "We have been using electric vehicles and alternative fuels wherever we can, as well as reducing waste and plastic usage to a minimum. Thank you to all the brilliant people and creative minds who've helped us so far".

Coldplay's fans have also been encouraged to play their part in all of this. Noting that, the band's statement continued: "You have helped charge the show batteries on the power bikes and kinetic dance floors; travelled to shows by foot, bicycle or public transport; used the recycling bins; ride-shared; brought refillable water bottles; returned the LED wristbands after the show".

"And just by coming", they went on, "you have had a tree planted and helped a range of environmental organisations like The Ocean Cleanup and ClientEarth, a team of lawyers who defend the environment. Thank you all and hopefully this time next year we will have made big improvements".

You can access a bunch more stats about Coldplay's eco-friendly touring initiatives and suggest ways that they could make their shows even more environmentally sustainable on this webpage here.


Apple unveils its Vision Pro headset
Apple yesterday unveiled its long anticipated 'mixed reality' headset, the Vision Pro, which is the tech giant's big play in the virtual and augmented reality space. Or, if you prefer the official blurb, "a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world, while allowing users to stay present and connected to others".

The unveiling of the headset at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference was closely watched by those actively involved or particularly interested in the VR and AR space, of course, given the potential for Apple to impact more widely on the evolution of that technology, in the same way it did with personal computers, smartphones and tablets.

And there was some positive feedback around the launch. Tim Bajarin of tech consultancy Creative Strategies, who has tested the headset, told the Financial Times: "When you actually test it and see it in action, it's staggering. If you're watching a sports game, you're actually on the field. You're in front of the action. And if the movie is 3D, you're almost in the 3D world".

Meanwhile, The Verge noted that "the display itself is absolutely bonkers", with reviewer Nilay Patel adding that he'd "gasped" when that display had changed to show him a person who was talking to him out in the real world.

Though, don't get too excited just yet. When the headset goes on sale next year it will be priced at $3500. And while Apple has never sought to compete on price when innovating in the hardware space, the FT confirmed that this price point is "even more than most analysts had expected and nearly twelve times the price of Meta's Quest 2, the biggest-selling VR headset".

That price point will obviously limit the reach of the new product in the short term. Though Apple boss Tim Cook was keen to stress that the initial Vision Pro is just the start. "Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing", he declared.

"Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing", he continued. "Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before - with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers".

As for how the Vision Pro will actually be used, gaming is an obvious priority for anyone innovating in this space. Though Apple is expected to also push the potential of the technology in the workplace with plenty of business uses. And at yesterday's launch it also seemed to be keen to stress how the headset will impact on the wider world of home entertainment as well.

"With two ultra-high-resolution displays, Apple Vision Pro can transform any space into a personal movie theatre with a screen that feels 100 feet wide and an advanced spatial audio system", it declared.

"Users can watch movies and TV shows, or enjoy stunning three-dimensional movies. Apple Immersive Video offers 180 degree high-resolution recordings with spatial audio, and users can access an exciting lineup of immersive videos that transport them to entirely new places".

So that all sounds fun, doesn't it? Though, for most people, probably not three and half grand's worth of fun. But remember, this is just the beginning.

Elsewhere during yesterday's WWDC announcements, some changes to Apple Music were promised as part of the roll out of the tech giant's next mobile operating system iOS 17.

As part of that: "Apple Music introduces Collaborative Playlists that make listening to music with friends easier than ever before, and SharePlay in the car allows all passengers to easily contribute to what's playing. Listeners can control the music from their own devices, even if they don't have an Apple Music subscription". Good times.


Spotify confirms restructuring and downsizing of its podcasting business
Spotify yesterday announced a restructuring and downsizing of its podcasting operations, with about 200 jobs set to be cut, which constitutes about 2% of the company's total workforce.

The streaming firm really started ramping up its podcasting activities back in 2019, acquiring a number of podcasting platforms and production firms along the way, and entering into partnerships and exclusivity deals with some of the most successful podcasters in the business.

It was part of a bid to make Spotify the home of audio, rather than just music. The ultimate plan being to boost the company's long-term profit margins, based on the assumption that, with podcasts - unlike music - it wouldn't have to hand over 65-70% of its revenue every month to its licensing partners.

However, that plan to boost long-term profit margins was very expensive in the short term and further delayed the prospect of the streaming giant becoming properly profitable. And while the big splash in podcasting secured Spotify decent market share in terms of audience and listening figures, growth of the podcast business in terms of revenue has been much slower.

This meant that when Spotify started to look to cut its overheads late last year, reductions on the podcasting side of the business were inevitable. And when that search for cost savings resulted in a round of downsizing in January, the most senior exec to leave the business was Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff, who had overseen the big push into podcasting.

In a statement yesterday, the firm's Head Of Podcast Business Sahar Elhabashi bigged up Spotify's achievements in the podcasting space, outlined a restructure that is "focused on delivering even more value for creators", and then confirmed: "We have made the difficult but necessary decision to make a strategic realignment of our group and reduce our global podcast vertical and other functions by approximately 200 people".

As part of the restructure, two of the podcast production companies Spotify bought back in 2019 will be combined "into a renewed Spotify Studios operation". A third, The Ringer, will continue to operate as its own unit. Both Spotify Studios and The Ringer - Elhabashi added - "will greenlight new shows with an increased focus on always-on programming that drives strong, loyal audiences and attracts advertisers".

As for the job cuts, Elhabashi went on: "We know news like this is never easy, especially for those impacted. These decisions are not something we take lightly. I want to express my appreciation for everything those leaving have done for podcasting and Spotify".

"Those impacted by this change have already received an invite for a one-to-one conversation today with a member of our HR team", she explained, "and we are focused on ensuring that each step in this process is taken with the utmost empathy and respect. The company will support these individuals with generous severance packages, including extended healthcare coverage and immediate access to outplacement support".

Elhabashi's statement then concluded: "Our continued success in growing the podcast ecosystem is predicated on the necessity that the Spotify machine is always in motion".

"And with these changes", she reckoned, "we will accelerate into the next chapter for podcasts on Spotify with strong discovery and podcast habits for users, thriving monetisation and audience growth for creators, and a valuable, high-margin business for Spotify. I want to thank everyone for your continued understanding and collaboration. I firmly believe in this team and that this next phase brings opportunities beyond anything we've seen".

The formal announcement of cutbacks at Spotify's podcasting business follows reports that the company is also ending an exclusivity deal with one of its high profile podcast partners, sports journalist Jemele Hill and her Unbothered Network.


Approved: DreamTX
Nick Das has worked on a number of musical ventures in recent years - including co-writing and co-producing Maggie Rogers' 2017 single 'On + Off'. He began working on solo 'post-post-rock' project DreamTX in 2019 and is now set to release his debut album under that name, 'Living In Memory Of Something Sweet', next month.

The singles from the record - 'Elated' and 'In Too Deep' - have a kind of dreamy, degraded feel to them, which comes from the laborious process that went into creating them - Das intentionally working slowly on his writing and recording.

"What happens to a song when you rewrite it one hundred times over again?" he asks. "With each subsequent track, I dedicated longer periods to produce them. I spent nearly nine months on a single song. I wanted to learn how that song might unfold, to see how many of my own hands could touch it. Our impressions, ears, perceptions are changing all the time".

"I wanted to make whole songs that feel like they contain all of me", he goes on, "the quiet, erratic, raw, inward, obscure and bristling power that passes through me. I wanted to notice these changes and document them. Some artists think their best songs are written in fifteen minutes, but for me, I'm not so sure".

As for how new single 'In Too Deep' came together, he explains: "'In Too Deep' is out of time and placeless now, looking back on it. I conceived the song on New Year's Day, programmed most of the drums in public libraries in Dallas, and wrote and recorded everything else in a DIY studio inside a pool house designed by Vanilla Ice. I'm not sure what I was thinking about then, but there was confinement in my existence. Dallas, barista, living with mom".

"I was extremely pilled by the millennial new age movement… attending zen temple every week for an hour of meditation, and micro-dosing LSD every few days", he goes on. "I was tight, wound up, constricted, and maybe this song was some externalised way of breaking free. It's the song that broke the album, where I discovered that sampling all the awful songs I was writing could be turned into something grand and beautiful, expressive".

'Living In Memory Of Something Sweet' is set for release on 26 Jul. Watch the video for 'In Too Deep' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Lewis Capaldi cancels upcoming shows to "rest and recover" ahead of Glastonbury performance
Lewis Capaldi yesterday announced he is cancelling all of his current commitments ahead of a performance at the Glastonbury Festival later this month, which includes scheduled shows in Leeds, Glasgow and London, and a planned set at the Norwegian festival Neon.

The musician said he needed some time away from the spotlight to "rest and recover" and "to be at my best and ready for Glastonbury".

A statement on social media read: "This is a really difficult message, and one that hurts me a lot to have to type, but I'm really sorry to say that I'm going to have to cancel all commitments from now until I play Glastonbury on 24 Jun".

"It's been such an incredible time leading into this new album, and seeing all of the support from everyone has been beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of", he went on. "That said, the last few months have been full on both mentally and physically, I haven't been home properly since Christmas and at the moment I'm struggling to get to grips with it all".

"I need to take a moment to rest and recover", he then confirmed, "[in order] to be at my best and ready for Glastonbury and all of the other incredible shows coming up so that I'm able to continue doing what I love for a long time to come. I need to take these three weeks to be 'Lewis from Glasgow' for a bit, spend some time with my family and friends, and do normal life things that are an important part of me feeling better. I hope everyone understands".

"I know many of you will have spent money on travel or hotels", he continued, "which I appreciate more than ever with how difficult things are economically at the moment, so I'm extremely sorry for the impact this will have. The fact you're willing to come out and spend your time, money and love on these shows is beyond comprehension and I feel incredibly lucky"

He then concluded: "I'm getting all the help and support I need from the incredible people around me who I'm so grateful for. I take none of this for granted and can't wait to be back doing it again".


Brian Eno announces first solo tour
Brian Eno has announced his first solo tour, nearly 50 years after the release of his first album under his own name. He has announced seven shows around Europe, including two in London at the end of October.

Titled 'Ships', the new show is an adaptation of Eno's 2016 album 'The Ship', and will see him joined on stage by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, guitarist Leo Abrahams and keyboardist Peter Chilvers. Actor Peter Serafinowicz will also make a cameo appearance.

The whole thing has been commissioned for the Venice Biennale Musica festival and will premiere at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice with two performances on 21 Oct.

"The album 'The Ship' is an unusual piece in that it uses voice but doesn't particularly rely on the song form", says Eno. "It's an atmosphere with occasional characters drifting through it, characters lost in the vague space made by the music. There's a sense of wartime in the background and a sense of inevitability. There is also a sense of scale which suits an orchestra, and a sense of many people working together".

"I wanted an orchestra which played music the way I would like to play music: from the heart rather than just from the score", he goes on. "I wanted the players to be young and fresh and enthusiastic. When I first saw the Baltic Sea Philharmonic I found all that… and then noticed they were named after a sea. That sealed it!"

Baltic Sea Philharmonic conductor Kristjan Järvi adds: "Brian is a great artist who has been an immense personal inspiration for a good part of my life. Now to be presented with an opportunity where we work on the presentation of a piece that reflects and shapes the world that we live in, is very meaningful and truly an honour".

"The freedom of expression is the key element in this presentation", he continues. "Every person in this performance is just as important as the next. Everyone matters equally as much as the other and is not replaceable or expendable. To have an orchestra that is really a band rather than an orchestra, which executes a performance but 'is the performance' itself, is what Brian and I see as the uniqueness of this collaboration".

There will be two performances of the show in London at the Royal Festival Hall on 30 Oct at 6.30pm and 9pm. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.



Superstruct has bought majority stakes in three more festivals, London-based Mighty Hoopla and Cross The Tracks, and the Austrian festival Snowbombing. IQ says that it believes those acquisitions are the result of a deal between Superstruct and various companies owned by Gareth Cooper, who was the founder and former CEO of Broadwick Live.

Beyond Music - one of those music investment firms, based out of Seoul in South Korea - has announced it has completed a new fundraising round totalling $170 million. Says CEO Jangwon Lee: "Home to all-time hits comparable to the Bon Jovis, Led Zeppelins and Whitney Houstons of Asia, Beyond Music has already established itself as the region's market leader with the deepest pockets, quantitative disciplines and proven value-up records. Through this investment, we hope to continue our purpose of serving Asia's most respected artists and their works".



Warner Chappell has promoted Steve Butler to the role of Head Of Legal & Business Affairs for North America. He will continue to report into the publisher's Global Head Of Legal & Business Affairs, Peter Rosenthal.

US-based music distributor ONErpm has appointed Nnamdi Okirike to lead its operations in Ghana, reporting into Osagie Osarenz, the firm's Director Of African Operations, who has been expanding the company's presence in Africa since 2020. Okirike was previously with African streaming service Boomplay.

Warner's artist services division WMX - which includes the major's merch, direct-to-fan and brand partnership operations - last week announced a number of hires and promotions. Karl Walsh joins as Head Of Global Commerce; Brian Furano as Global Head Of A&R; and Robbie Owens-Russo as SVP Of Creative Services. Meanwhile, Tracy Stone has been promoted to Head Of Artist And Fan Experiences, North America; Bob Workman to the combined roles of Head Of WMX Artist & Fan Experience, UK & ROW and SVP Of International Artist & Brand Partners; and Angela Nguyen to Head Of Global Commercial Operations.

UK record industry trade body BPI has appointed Hailey Willington to the newly-created post of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Manager. She will "provide knowledge and advice across the organisation and to its members and the wider industry to assist in developing and implementing a coordinated DEI strategy".



Central Cee and Dave have released new collaborative EP 'Split Decision', which marks both rappers' 25th birthdays on 4 Jun and 5 Jun respectively.

Semisonic have released two new songs, 'Little Bit Of Sun' and 'Grow Your Own', as they head out on tour for the first time in 20 years, supporting Barenaked Ladies in the US.

Kristen Hersh will release new album 'Clear Pond Road' on 8 Sep. Out now is new single 'Dandelion'. She will also be touring the UK and Ireland in September and October.

Broken Records have announced that they will release new album 'The Dreamless Sleep Of The 1990s' on 2 Oct. Out now is new single 'Night Time'. The band will also be touring the UK following the album's release, including a show at The Lexington in London on 20 Oct.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Royal Blood comment on that Radio 1 Big Weekend performance
Royal Blood have spoken about their meme-tastic performance at last month's Radio 1 Big Weekend in Dundee, during which frontman Mike Kerr repeatedly berated the audience for not enjoying their set enough.

"It was somewhat of a blip on my part because, it would've taken me three minutes to think 'maybe these people don't know who you are', but I wasn't going through that thought process", Kerr tells Radio 1's Greg James. "I was very pumped backstage. And I actually really enjoyed playing. I had a great time".

Now, he is misremembering things somewhat there, because he actually noted on stage early on during his set that the duo might be unfamiliar to a Big Weekend audience that was mainly expecting to see pop acts - with Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan and Anne-Marie all due to play later in the day.

That said, Royal Blood were sandwiched between Wet Leg and Nothing But Thieves, which you could call the rock music section of the Radio 1 event.

"Well, I guess I should introduce ourselves since no one actually knows who we are", he told the audience at Dundee's Camperdown Park. "We're called Royal Blood and this is rock music. Who likes rock music?"

On mic it doesn't sound like he got a terrible response to that question, but it clearly didn't feel like a particularly energised acknowledgement from the stage, because Kerr's retort to the cheer for rock music was to say, "Nine people. Brilliant".

Later in the set, he claimed that the band were having to clap themselves because the crowd's response was "so pathetic", after which he stared into a camera and pleaded with people watching at home to applaud for them instead.

At the end of their set, Kerr threw down his bass guitar and walked off with his middle fingers in the air. Meanwhile, drummer Ben Thatcher stayed behind for a few moments to signal to people in the front rows that they should try smiling.

Watching the videos back, Kerr's on-stage comments do seem like very dry humour rather than genuine anger. But the problem with very dry humour is that it's quite easily mistaken for genuine anger.

But dry humour was definitely the tone he was going for, Kerr confirms in this new Radio 1 interview. Noting the subsequent response to his on-stage remarks and dramatic walk off, he says: "I'm amazed, honestly, how that escalated".

"Walking off from that show", he explains, "I felt I was being entertaining - in a way of trying to make light of the situation, perhaps. I was doing a performance where I felt a little bit out of place. I expected to be a little bit bemused and maybe confuse a few people, but not to that kind of scale".

"The ending, to me, I felt like a sort of pro-wrestler", he goes on. "I felt like a kind of pantomime villain. I didn't feel like I'd done anything, sort of, morally wrong. It felt like a bit of a wind-up, honestly. That's kind of how I felt".

Thatcher then adds: "Mike walks out of the pub like that, it's not unusual. It was just stupid".

"When I'm in that zone, there's a part of my personality which only exists on stage", Kerr continues. "I can't find any other context in which I'm that energised. I feel like I look different when I'm on stage. Off-stage I'm very quiet and quite awkward, whereas on-stage, I don't know - that's why I love it, cos there's an energy to it".

"It's very easy to get swept up in that energy", he concludes. "Honestly, it's quite fun, and I don't mean any offence. My intention isn't to kind of alienate anyone or push anyone away".

It is sort of weird how Royal Blood skirt the pop world and this isn't the first time they've been slightly perplexed about finding themselves there.

Way back at the start of their career the duo won the BRIT Award for Best Group in 2015. Then, Kerr used their acceptance speech to note that, as well as being a surprise to them, their win was "probably more of a surprise to everyone here, as you may not even know who we are".

So maybe the big question here is how, the best part of a decade later, Royal Blood are still being put in front of audiences who they at least feel have no clue who they are.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
[email protected] (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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