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Microsoft and MTV to Launch Music Service 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the continued-reactionary-behavior dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to ZDNet Microsoft and MTV have joined forces to form Urge, a new online music service. From the article: 'The company said Urge would include a subscription component, as well as allowing individual song sales. A spokesman declined to discuss pricing, saying full details would be announced next month. The company gave no specifics on launch date beyond saying it would be sometime in 2006.'"
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Microsoft and MTV to Launch Music Service

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  • Music? (Score:5, Funny)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:30AM (#14254445) Homepage Journal

    Music?

    I know Microsoft has the music player in Windows, but what does MTV have to do with music?

    • Re:Music? (Score:4, Funny)

      by themoodykid (261964) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:47AM (#14254512) Journal
      They are doing a reality show about i.
      • No worries... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:32AM (#14254638) Homepage Journal

        I'm just glad that someone here realized what the hell I was talking about in spite of the Redundant mod. Apparently, too many folks here haven't actually watched MTV since the 1980's. Oh well, can't say I blame 'em.

        They'll figure it out soon enough, though. I wonder how long it will be before this new online music service only has content about pimping cars, playing jokes on people, weird people forced to share a house, and so on instead of, well, you know... music.

        • by greysky (136732) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @09:38AM (#14255407)
          Lewis Black put it best:

          "MTV is to music what KFC is to chicken."
          • O no, not that bad! I went to KFC in 1998 or so and I still haven't recovered. They do things to chickens you don't want your worst enemy to suffer.
        • Myself, I thought it was a good pairing. Now we can watch *both* MTV and M$ ride the "we-obviously-don't-get-it-anymore" train to obscurity.
    • Re:Music? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Monkelectric (546685)
      My first thought was (and somehow I was imaging lewis black saying this) "Oh great the people who runied computers getting together with the people who ruined music."
  • Urge? (Score:5, Funny)

    by penguinboy (35085) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:40AM (#14254480)
    Sounds more like a service for "adult material", not music.
  • Could be big (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working (720372) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:44AM (#14254496)
    I don't live in the states anymore. I'm not 'with it' anymore either. Is MTV still the main way that the kids see their videos? 'Cause if so, a whole 24 hour a day channel that's already popular is much better advertisment than any other music download service could buy.

    They could even put the website address beneath the song title, artist, etc. in every video.
    • Re:Could be big (Score:3, Informative)

      by flonker (526111)
      MTV hasn't been Music Television in many years.
      • They should throw AOL in the mix and then we'll finally get those Shakespeare sonets we've been promised: millions of AOL users typing on Microsoft keyboards while their brains are exposed to MTV "music". Or, worst case scenario, Microsoft gets their own Wikipedia.
      • It's all about reality shows these days. Lucky (relative) for us in Malaysia there are a couple tv stations following a somewhat radio-like format that shows nothing else but music videos, pretty similar to MTV during the days of "video killed the radio star"
      • Come on, don't be mean. You get to see my dawg Xzibit pimpin' your ride, ya! Who needs music?

        *shoots himself*
      • Re:Could be big (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrEldarion (114072) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:58AM (#14254726)
        It's funny, MTV became so overrun with non-music that they created MTV2 for the music. Now, the same thing is starting to happen with MTV2.

        • Yeah, it's weird. I get three channels that allegedly show music (MTV, MTV2, and Fuse) and only one (Fuse) shows videos before 1AM. Of course, the only videos that MTV seems to show are rap and hip hop. Perhaps it's no great loss that they don't show them before 1AM.
        • Re:Could be big (Score:4, Insightful)

          by courtarro (786894) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @11:19AM (#14256090) Homepage
          I'm most bothered by the fact that Viacom (who owns MTV) basically owns all music video stations on TV. They started out with just MTV, but now they own MTV2, VH1, CMT, BET, Fuse, and CTN (College Television). With that sort of monopoly, I'm surprised that people are so bent out of shape about Clearchannel, Infinity*, Jefferson Pilot, and the likes on the radio, considering how much worse the TV situation is. As an artist, you'd better not make Viacom mad or you're guaranteed never to reach the average teen or college student who doesn't make an active effort to find new music. Viacom is the music video god who determines what this demographic will consider cool, and in doing so they're destroying everything we hold dear.

          Back when MTV first started sucking (by sucking I mean not playing videos), I could easily move to MTV2 for a metal fix, or VH1 for a classic rock fix, or CTN for the latest in alternative. Now they're all the same blathering crap that has little to do with music, and what's left is, as has been mentioned, hip hop and rap. Even VH1's music-based TV shows like "My Generation" and "Pop Up Video" have disappared in favor of "I Love the 80's". I think CMT is the only station they haven't fully corrupted yet, and you know it's only a matter of time.

          * Owned by Viacom!

    • MTV is no longer all about Music. They now ingrain a culture on their loyal followers. The President of MTV has said that he has more influence on children than their own parents do.

      Look at that culture.... the real world... fighting, craziness, and whoring .. the beach house.... people all over each other in skimpy swimsuits talkin about how they are fooling around together... (all be it fun but is that really good for 13 year old kids to aspire to be like this)
  • by kihjin (866070) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:44AM (#14254498)
    Although offering few details, the company said it has worked closely with Microsoft to build a service called Urge that will let listeners experiment with new music, as well as offer "original, hand-crafted content" from MTV and its other cable channels.

    Mmmm. Hand-crafted. I can see it now.

    The Cyber World

    A story about seven strangers who are chosen to live in a random data center. Their lives are recorded, e-mails are logged, and IMs are monitored. See what happens when people lose their Internet connection, and start getting REAL^H^H^H^HCYBER.

    Don't forget, next fall:

    The second season of DDoS'd.
  • by Biomechanical (829805) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:45AM (#14254500) Homepage

    "I feel the Urge, the urge to Purge*."

    * I.e. Vomit.

    Seriously, the world's biggest commercial software vendor getting it together with, possibly, the world's biggest icon of commercial music?!

    It's a match made in marketing heaven, and consumer hell.

    • I thought that was from the Burger King advert?

      It'll be interesting if Microsoft can follow the success of MSN with thier music service. Unfortunately, alomost everyone I know who uses MSN trashes thier PC within a few weeks. It seems like there's alot of malware floating about out there. Anyway... ... it'll also be interesting to see what DRM they're expecting to use. How long before Dvd Jon breaks it?! :-)
      • Anyway... ... it'll also be interesting to see what DRM they're expecting to use. How long before Dvd Jon breaks it?! :-)

        Well, has DVD John gotten around to breaking the WMA DRM that Yahoo, Napster, and others use? Because that's probably what Microsoft will use.

  • Sounds like (Score:4, Funny)

    by Avisto (933587) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:46AM (#14254508)
    Sounds more like ughh.
  • E+E=E (Score:2, Funny)

    by earthstar (748263)
    Microsoft and MTV to Launch Music Service
    What do you get when you add 2 evil M's? Another Evil !
    They should have named the service 3E - for the third evil !
  • Pricing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nightspirit (846159) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:59AM (#14254553)
    If they charge $0.25 per song, or even approach allofmp3.com (although I doubt they'll go that low) I might actually start purchasing music online. Or allow my choice of format.

    If this service allows different formats (including lossless), is compatible with multiple players, has minimum DRM, and enters a pricewar with itunes it would be a good thing.

    I even might consider paying $1 a song if they sell FLAC or another lossless format.
    • Re:Pricing (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pryonic (938155)
      I don't see that happening at all, the RIAA won't let them charge prices that low or get away without he same levels of DRM as everyone else. And if Microsoft get their way, it'll be a PlaysForSure store, so won't work on many players at all. It sounds like you're dreaming to me, but it's a good dream! Just wish it would become reality. Doubt it will though.
    • Or allow my choice of format.

      It's microsoft. I really doubt they will offer anything else than Windows media. And if they want to get big labels interested, there must also be some kind of DRM included.

      AllOfMp3 can do what it does only because the russian laws are a bit fuzzy about selling music on the internet.

      If I remember correctly, in some countries (all countries?) buying music from allofmp3 is legally the same as downloading content from p2p networks.

      • According to a story this morning on NPR, this will support only Windows Media Player and only Windows. They've specifically said that OS X and iPods aren't supported. That sounds like great marketing, sell a service to the group that is the most prolific at buying iPods and don't support iPods.
    • Re:Pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RESPAWN (153636)
      We can dream, can't we? But the reality is that this is Microsoft. What you'll get will be DRM enabled, .wma format, crappy bitrate, lossy compression files that you'll only be able to play in Windows Media Player 10 and it's derivative and future versions.

      I didn't RTFA, but I'm sure they'll release a specialized "MSTV" player or some junk with a snazzy interface that will just use Windows Media Player on the back end. You'll only be able to use that piece of software to upload to your .wma compatible pl
  • I have a subscription with Audible and each month I can download two audio books for approx. 21 USD. In one month, I got two books that would have cost me over 60 USD on iTunes to get. If MS and MTV keep up that idea with subscription pricing, i.e. cheaper than if you bought the products a la carte, then it might actually be a good idea.

    Of course, that would just leave them the difficult task of coming up with something I want to order in the first place. More top 40 stuff like there is today and no am

  • by Chris Bradshaw (933608) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:09AM (#14254581)
    I think the real question is wether or not they will be able to offer music from ALL labels. The way I see it, the major draw back to ITunes is the fact that any music on the SONY/BMG label is not available...

    More Info on the matter:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/16/parallel_i mports_australia/ [theregister.co.uk]

    • I think the real question is wether or not they will be able to offer music from ALL labels. The way I see it, the major draw back to ITunes is the fact that any music on the SONY/BMG label is not available...

      Not available... in Australia. The article doesn't mention whether it will be a US-only launch, or a world-wide launch, but these things tend to be US-only at first.

      Which means it's most probable that Urge will not have more music available than iTunes no matter where you live.

      It seems odd to me that a
    • i wish i was in australia so i could have an itunes without sony/bmg

      seriously, why would i want to buy from them? i will never buy a sony/bmg record again (rootkit).
  • by Fiar (938208) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:10AM (#14254583) Homepage

    They're going to have to make this something special to compete with existing online music services. Napster has a subscription service, as well as a "Napster-to-go" scheme whereby users can put music onto compatible mobile devices. This supports WMA DRM seeing as it uses Windows Media Player 10 tech, so it's not like MS can claim exclusive compatibility with that without cutting out the whole Rhapsody range of services. The other main service at the moment is iTunes, which caters for a per-track market, and it the only thing that works with iPods as far as I know. Due to the methods iPods deal with files and DRM, Microsoft won't be able to offer music for those either.

    As for the "Original Hand-Crafted content", won't that simply be MTV videos? iTunes already has "a range of music videos and television shows"

    It seems to me that MS are trying to fill a hole that's already been covered...

    • by node 3 (115640)
      It seems to me that MS are trying to fill a hole that's already been covered...

      Wow. If you think about it, that is the best one-sentence description of Microsoft ever written.

      It's true on so many levels, it's almost Zen.
  • Better than Sony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tenk101 (938734)
    Depite all the likely flames about big global beasties taking over the world, what's really so bad about this. Consider what happens if Sony ever succeeds in this area and end up with control of the Artist right through to the device, then there just isn't any consumer choice, Artists are forced to sign up with Sony and consumers are forced to sign up with Sony devices.

    On the counter-side you have a big evil software/device multinational (MS) doing a partnership with essentially a large music content pr
    • Oh boy where shall I start. How about MS being a company intrested ONLY in making sure its software/hardware will be in use for anything and everything. Openess or choice are not in its vocabulary. When MS talks about the freedom to choose they mean you can choose XP Home or XP Proffesional.

      WMA is usually reviewed as bad but hey it is the format MS choose and they will damn well push it down peoples throat no matter what.

      As for MTV. A music provider? Since when? Reality tv show is more like it. A 24 hour

    • Depite all the likely flames about big global beasties taking over the world, what's really so bad about this. Consider what happens if Sony ever succeeds in this area and end up with control of the Artist right through to the device, then there just isn't any consumer choice, Artists are forced to sign up with Sony and consumers are forced to sign up with Sony devices.

      So your argument is that it is likely that Sony will leverage their non-monopoly music business (part of a cartel) and their non-monopoly

  • Another killer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pliep (880962)
    Right until now, not a single iPod-killer has killed an iPod (yet). My take is this is because of the integration between iPod and iTunes plus the ease of use that comes out of this. One-click == "buy and put on computer and on iPod". Or indeed one-click == "rip this entire CD and put on computer and on iPod including correct tracknames".

    Will the combination of a music network and a software company that does not make MP3 players beat this? Sounds more like massive advertising opportunities rather than bu

  • MTV is mistaken (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pliep (880962)
    forgot to say in my other post:

    MTV is very much mistaken. 90% of their viewers either want an iPod or have one. Hell, almost every hiphop video bling-blings an iPod around. "Urge" seems to block Macs and iPods. All very lovely, but MTV fails to recognise their target market if you ask me.

  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:19AM (#14254603)
    Dude, this is SO AWESOME. Finally, someone is combining the best things on Earth... Microsoft's quality software and MTV's quality music!!!

    Now, if only they could toss Wal*mart and McDonald's into the mix!
    • by killjoe (766577)
      Dude, Apple is going to DIE. Nobody will be buying ipods anymore, iTunes will shut down any day now!!!!. MS has entered the online music market and they will KILL everybody else!. Remember microsoft-at-work? It will be just like that!
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cherita Chen (936355) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:20AM (#14254606) Homepage
    Does this mean that in a few years, you will no longer be able to download music from them? I can already see it... They'll go from offering music, to only offering audio programs in the likeness of "The Real World", "Punked", "Jackass", "Pimp my Ride", "Made", etc, etc, etc...

    And of course, all of this will be sprinkled with advertisments for Mountain Dew, Microsoft, and Slim Jim.

  • by McNally (105243) <mmcnally&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:23AM (#14254612) Homepage
    I'm psyched about this. Microsoft and MTV are two of the high-profile music-industry players that I have the least interest in doing business with. If they can partner with Sony and its DRM suppliers and hire a few RIAA execs I can have all the big players I want to avoid in one place for convenient one-stop non-shopping.. Obviously they've hired one of more of the naming & branding consultants whose work I despise, that's a nice bonus..

    Seriously, though, it's very nostalgic to see MTV get back into the music business. I just hope they remember how it works, it's been, what, fifteen years now since they gave it up to make low-budget drama programs and reality television?
  • Now is the time to put together a package for musicians to build their own CDs and mp3 sites. If that gets done cheap (perhaps as an OSS set-up), AND a bit of marketing is done, this could really expand.
  • First they merge with adult TV programming with MS-NBC to insure US news is fair and objective. Now they want to do the same for the MTV generation(s). At least Microsoft does not limit predetory practices to software anymore. Diversification is the key to survival.
  • Stupid Unless... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shihar (153932) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:47AM (#14254685)
    This is going to be a failed experiment by MTV and Microsoft unless they realize what Apple has that no one else does. Appple has control of the iPod. If you have an iPod, you can't use DRMed WMA. If MTV and Microsoft think that they are going to make a substantial profit off in the saturated field of non-iPod MP3 players, they are insane. The money is in a service that can compete for the iPod, in addition to other MP3 players.

    What MTV and Microsoft has to do to get their foot in the door is offer a service that works with iPods AND offers a different pricing model then iTunes. That is the only way they can possibly compete with iTunes. Anything short of this is going to result in them fighting every other online music company for that tiny sliver of remaining non-iPod users.

    I personally would jump at an all you can eat service for my iPod. Hell, I would jump at any sort of pricing options that or ability to escapes AAC lock in for my iPod. I got my iPod as a gift. I would love it if there was a way to escape Apple's monopoly short of throwing out a $300 piece of equipment. If MTV and Microsoft, as much as I loath the both of them, can do it I'll jump. It isn't like I have any love for Apple either.

    If they have a plan to defeat Apple, then this will be newsworthy. If they are just jumping in on Napster's model and hoping to sell via the shitty MTV brand, this is a yawner that no one is going to give a shit about.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:51AM (#14254702)
      I personally would jump at an all you can eat service for my iPod. Hell, I would jump at any sort of pricing options that or ability to escapes AAC lock in for my iPod. I got my iPod as a gift. I would love it if there was a way to escape Apple's monopoly short of throwing out a $300 piece of equipment.

      Something wrong with allofmp3.com?

      • by Psiren (6145) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @08:34AM (#14255110)
        Something wrong with allofmp3.com?

        Ask the artists whose music they sell...
        • Let's see... The music industry does not give me the service I want, but instead just tells me to bend over again and again (high prices, DRM, preventing fair use by technical and political means, non-standard "standards" all over the place, cartels), and justifies all this with "Hey, copyright is copyright: we're the good guys 'cause everything we do is legal.".

          Fuck, I can play that game too. Allofmp3 is legal and follows Russian copyright law. If the music industry doesn't want to abide that law, then

        • Because I'm sure they're so happy with what they get from everywhere else.
      • "ability to escapes AAC lock in for my iPod."

        It's called eBay. There are doubtless hundreds that would pay well to be in that AAC lock you're looking to escape.
      • Actually there are programs that will convert it to mp3 easily and cleanly.

        I use one to convert my audible files to mp3

        it's called DB PowerAMP music converter [dbpoweramp.com]

        works great with the right plugins.
    • If MTV and Microsoft, as much as I loath the both of them, can do it I'll jump. It isn't like I have any love for Apple either.But of course they cannot, and it's not their fault. Apple owns the patent on their FairPlay DRM (the only DRM the ipod can use) and will not license it to anyone else unless forced to by antitrust lawsuits. Sorry, loyal Apple consuming unit, it is Apple and Apple alone that is coring you.
    • Oh sure Apple is just as evil as MS if not more so. At least MS has some people working for it who seem to think that DRM is not actually a good move for a software company. But apple fortunally is tiny so that is alright.

      But you got yourselve an iPod. Good for you but this hardly then locks you into Apple. You can A: sell it and get another player or B: not use iTunes. There is still the shocking capability that only the most leet people know about getting your content on a revolutionary new media called

      • First, this is Slashdot, it is okay to say the word fuck. What this. Fuck fuck fuck fuck, shit fuck shit fuck, cock. See? You don't need to censor yourself. Sure, you be modded down, but well, fuck the mods. Getting the most karma doesn't make you win.

        Second, my point was about an already bought in market and what it takes to break into that market. If you are arguing that Microsoft/MTV can break into the current market without breaking into the iPod, you are fooling yourself. Yes, people can sell
        • Yeah the current pricing system is expensive especially if your looking to fill a 30gb iPod BUT I always thought the price was set by the music business. Apple I had understood is very willing to go lower. The music industry wants to go higher. So it is not really apples fault.

          The entire industry is incredibly immature but then just try to buy a new car from a non-brand dealer. You know like a car supermarket where the fords and fiats are next to each other? We the consumer are always screwed. Get used to

  • by farrellj (563) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @05:57AM (#14254724) Homepage Journal
    Great, a Music Video station that doesn't show music videos anymore, teaming up with a software company that no longer produces good software. Did Dante dream this up? What rung of hell am I in now?!?!?

    ttyl
              Farrell
    • "No longer" produces good software?

      Was there ever any Microsoft-produced software that was "good"?

      MS-DOS don't count. They bought that [wikipedia.org], and IBM was responsible for a lot of the "goodness" that was MS-DOS 5.0.
  • I'm scared. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattpointblank (936343) <(mattpointblank) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @06:02AM (#14254735) Homepage
    I really fear for modern music. Not sure how well the /. community is familiar with guitar tabbing, but it's essentially an ASCII way of rendering guitar music that even AOLers can understand. Now all the major tab sites are being forced to close or remove all tabs for signed artists due to a new music industry function. It's insane; how are such things possibly hurting the bands? Similarly, Microsoft and MTV are two corporations (a word that has nothing to do with music) that really don't appear to understand music as anything more than a marketable economy, which is just sad. Just like Orwell said the hope is in the Proles, for music, the hope is in the indies.
  • by Tom (822)
    If this is anything close to the MTV we get over here in Germany, then the only thing they'll offer will be ring tones for your cell phone. But 25 billion of those.
  • Lets combine the two and what do u get??

    very expensive Emo Mp3s that crash your computer and advertise every chance they get

    sounds pretty convincing.......
  • Launch Date (Score:3, Funny)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @08:05AM (#14255032) Homepage

    The company gave no specifics on launch date beyond saying it would be sometime in 2006.

    For those not paying close attention, please note that this is a Microsoft launch date. You'll be lucky if you can still hear music by the time they actually get this launched.

    • the scratching of #2 pencils on accounting entry forms.

      This is going to end the same way as Microsoft begins an project.

      Microsoft is buying MTV as a loss-leader in the hopes of accomplishing something usable by the third version.

      If it turns out they were wrong, they spin it off into oblivion. (Heard from 'Slate' lately? :-)
  • #1 microsoft already has a music store
    #2 since when did MTV have anything to do with music?
  • Last year the CEO of MTV Europe visited my buinsess school and at that time I had asked him if they wanted to enter the online music business, with all the brand awareness, the reach and all. To this he replied that MTV wasn't even remotely interested in this business, with its low profit margins and volumes .He even accused apple of cross subsidizing their music sales with ipod sales and hence making the price point ($0.99 per song) unattractive for most pleayers. Basically he went on and on about how much
  • The realization that to get DRM'ed content will require you to do so though Windows XP and/or Microsoft ...

    [ With deepest apologies to Mark Knofler and Dire Straits ]

    "Money for Microsoft" by Dire Warning
    Sung by Steve Ballmer, backing by Bill Gates

    You must buy ... You must buy Win-XP

    You must buy ... You must buy Win-XP

    You must buy ... You must buy Win-XP

    You must buy ... You must buy Win-XP

    Now look at them bozo's that's the way you do it
    You lock them always on the Win-XP
    That ain't workin' tha

  • MS and MTV. Two great tastes that taste great together. One sticks to the roof of your mouth and the other makes you break out.
  • There's been speculation about why Microsoft's anti-spyware tool only tries to "correct" or "fix" Sony/BMGs rootkit instead of flat-out removing it, and now I think we know why: they intend to do something similar.
  • MTV is not a record label, they don't have any music artists signed to them. They'll have to secure a licensing agreement for each and every song to get music to this service. That means not only does MTV/M$ get a cut, the labels get a cut. And from their history of whining about iTunes, they'll demand a hefty cut. It's no surprise that the prices haven't been announced yet, I doubt they'll be able to compete with iTunes with so many hands in the pie.
    • MTV is not a record label, they don't have any music artists signed to them. They'll have to secure a licensing agreement for each and every song to get music to this service. That means not only does MTV/M$ get a cut, the labels get a cut. And from their history of whining about iTunes, they'll demand a hefty cut. It's no surprise that the prices haven't been announced yet, I doubt they'll be able to compete with iTunes with so many hands in the pie.

      That depends a lot upon MS. MS may, for example, take

  • Where else am I going to download my Top 100 lists, like Top 100 Songs Featuring Bands With Big Hair?
  • The name makes me think of finding a Urinal.

    Or maybe that's the coffee I've just drunk. Whatever.
  • Overkill?

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