Is SPIN really circling the drain?

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The magazine has been especially bad in the past two years; is this finally it? (and yeah, the pun is intended for that starf*cking rag)

Spin Scratched ... The Finer Things in Life ...

SCRATCHED: Is this Spin’s last stand? The music magazine’s transformation into the fanzine of the Seventies rock-redux movement has done nothing to slow its three-year slide in ad pages, and chairman Robert Miller has apparently had enough. Vibe/Spin Ventures chief executive officer Alex Mironovich, who had been acting publisher, and Spin associate publisher Michael Zivyak both resigned under pressure Monday and Miller, who is based in Los Angeles, appears ready to get his hands dirty selling ads himself.

Miller, a former Time Inc. executive, will be joined by former Budget Travel publisher Jacob Hill, who certainly has experience doing more with less.

“This could just be a last ditch effort by management,” said a source close to the magazine. “The thinking is: ‘Let’s give them a respectable ad sales team and try to turn things around a little bit.’”

But then what? Miller is under intense pressure himself from his backers at the venture capital firm Freeman Spogli to show some sort of return on the $100 million it gave him in the mid-Nineties to build what is now Miller Publishing. He bought the company’s crown jewel, Vibe, from Time Inc. in 1996 for just $20 million, but forked over $42.5 million for Bob Guccione Jr.’s Spin a year later. He nearly had to give them up just two years after that, when Freeman Spogli forced him to put the pair on the block for around $200 million. There were no takers then, but Miller flirted with selling again in late 2000, when the future dot.com flameout Urban Box Office came calling. The potential price tag then was said to be just over $100 million. what would the pair be worth now?

While Vibe has held steady since then on the advertising front, resisting up-and-comers like The Source and XXL, Spin has slowly been crushed by the twin pincers of Rolling Stone and Dennis Publishing’s upstart Blender, which actually finished 2003 with more pages (673) than Spin (661). Keep in mind the latter finished 2000 with 1,211 pages, when editor Alan Light and publisher John Rollins were still at the helm. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall for the sector, they left together in early 2002 to start the older listener-skewing music magazine Tracks, which launched last fall. — Greg Lindsay

source:
http://www.wwd.com/content/article.cfm?ID=%25%22%2DD%22RE%20%20%0A&xart=1&CFID=28460&CFTOKEN=88223667

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:34 (eighteen years ago) link

as a charter subscriber, I'd hate to see it go.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:34 (eighteen years ago) link

spin's been a very mixed bag lately, but they do have some things I like....like where an artist picks their most influential CDs....occaissionaly there is still an article I'm really glad I read...like the one of Morrissey's latino fans or the roadie one the the last issue...I hope it stays in business....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:47 (eighteen years ago) link

I can't remember the last time I bought an issue of SPIN.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:50 (eighteen years ago) link

Their reviews section is horrible. They used to be more harsh towards certain things. Like Matt said, there's a few things it has going for it, but it's worse than it's ever been.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:09 (eighteen years ago) link

I think it's time they let me take it over. I've got a great idea for a T.A.T.U. cover.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I could make that magazine cool and hip with my hands tied behind my back! Shit, now I've given away my T.A.T.U. cover idea.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:22 (eighteen years ago) link

They should make an all-T.A.T.U. special issue with Hit Parader-style posters included.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Getting paid to write = not being able to write.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:23 (eighteen years ago) link

hey Chris last time you and I went about, you were telling me how P*tchfork was getting ready to pimp themselves with some massive web presence. What's up with that?

SPIN's pimping of the Strokes has been totally embarrassing. I mean, does anyone at that place actually believe, as a sub-head read, that "Room On Fire" was "stunning"?

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:41 (eighteen years ago) link

Yep, Chris. You're right. That's exactly what that means. Perhaps there should be zero standards in journalism, and those standards should be reduced even further by allowing anyone with a computer to destroy the English language in print. While we're at it, let's never pay an artist for their work since, by making a simple leap like yours, they must not be talented if they're getting paid for it. I know David Blaine is a publicity whore, so maybe we can get him to shit in a bucket for free and call it art. Since it's free and all.

another scott, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:46 (eighteen years ago) link

I'd actually say the writing in SPIN is very good. It's just that the editorial direction has been abysmal--driven by the bean counters or what, I dunno, but it's been adrift for awhile.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:50 (eighteen years ago) link

Spin has become so insular in the last two years. I think it lost itself up the ass of NYC and the White Stripes. It's more about the editors stroking their ego and pimping their presence in NYC than trying to reach an audience. The design has become restrictive and overbearing, it almost overshadows the stories. The magazine has alienated its audience. No wonder it's not doing well.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:51 (eighteen years ago) link

I actually like Chuck Klosterman, he's really the only writer in Spin who has anything remotely interesting to say (even though he's often full of shit).

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:55 (eighteen years ago) link

I would give him his own sports column if I were in charge. Only minor league hockey and baseball though. And indoor soccer. And lacrosse.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:57 (eighteen years ago) link

I think he's a good writer, too, though I agree he's full of shit sometimes. But how can you not be when writing for Spin? It just happens. It would happen at Rolling Stone, Blender, whatever. Part of the job. I just think that he suffers the same dreaded image disease they all get when thrust into the NY scene, which I think is unfortunate about so many magazines these days.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:59 (eighteen years ago) link

It is sad. They are all scared of their own shadows.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:01 (eighteen years ago) link

I mean if you are gonna lose money anyway, why not make your magazine really good?

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:02 (eighteen years ago) link

Does anyone have George Soro's phone number? I've got a proposition for him.(he likes russian teenagers, right?)

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:04 (eighteen years ago) link

But what would make it good? Good in terms of reaching an audience while simultaneously pushing the boudaries created by current glossies? Or good meaning finding a niche and a genuinely passionate voice, even if it means obeying certain publishing conventions?

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:06 (eighteen years ago) link

Chuckie has a page in Esquire now, where he can write about whatever he wants. He's written about basketball there (or maybe it was GQ.)

The only reason I hang onto my subscription is because I keep hoping it will get better. But it's just not.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if a non-fashion magazine has a fashion spread multiple times a year, the moral compass is long gone.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:06 (eighteen years ago) link

Wait a sec...I know these are people who could lose their jobs, so I don't mean to sound callous. No one wants anyone to lose their jobs or livelihood.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, but you almost HAVE to have a fashion spread. No clothing companies will look at you for ad space until you do. It's the way of the game. Lame? Yes. Part of publishing? Unfortunatley.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:09 (eighteen years ago) link

My comment was more about Scott's "they are all scared of their own shadows" watering-down, not a grammatical or stylistic complaint.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:22 (eighteen years ago) link

What music magazines are good these days? I have no idea.

Debito (Debito), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:42 (eighteen years ago) link

I find the idea that it's "gotten" insular in the last two years sort of mystifying, if only because the typical non-music-geek complaing about Spin is that it's ALWAYS been insular. I mean, five years ago they were writing about turntablism and sound-boys, stuff that, for better or worse, is WAY more insular than rock bands with hooks and attractive frontpeople.

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm not arguing insularity Andy, they're ambulance-chasing. And driving on the left.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:29 (eighteen years ago) link

What's wrong with driving on the left? And I have to say I have no problem with music magazines subsidising their music section with fashion spreads (and the resulting ads), as long as the music section is unaffected. Better that than downgrading your music section by talking about inconsequential musicians in a trite way to bring in a broader audience.

Jedmond (Jedmond), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:44 (eighteen years ago) link

I can't understand Chris Ott's posts on this thread at all.

Except he doesn't like brits?

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Thursday, 26 February 2004 10:11 (eighteen years ago) link

SPIN used to be way more New York-ish, with more of a snobby attitude, sort of this subversive nature and snarky editorial that was more SPY than Rolling Stone. I miss that aspect; as SPIN has drifted more and more towards the mainstream, it has lost its sense of identity and verve. Without cheerleading the Strokes and the White Stripes on every issue, they'd barely be hip at all. And that feature where the artist names their influencial albums was a concept blatantly lifted from Blender. The elephant in the room here is that Blender is eating SPIN alive.

I fully understand that embracing "lifestyle" brings in the big advertising dollars (fashion), but in this case it has made the magazine much less enjoyable.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Not-as-good-as-it-used-to-be it may be, but give me Spin over Rolling Stone ANY DAY of the week. You?

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:34 (eighteen years ago) link

OTM

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:40 (eighteen years ago) link

True, but you can say that about any magazine, give me O over Rolling Stone any day of the week.

Jedmond (Jedmond), Thursday, 26 February 2004 14:02 (eighteen years ago) link

I prefer Rolling Stone. Music coverage is equally bad in both, but Rolling Stone occasionally has interesting political features.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 26 February 2004 14:39 (eighteen years ago) link

Magazines suck.

Jasper Patches (Dating Ikea), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:01 (eighteen years ago) link

yeah, i agree about R.S. Rollong Stone's non-music reporting/coverage has always been its strong suit.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:02 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, but seeing features on Toby Keith and DMB is just too depressing..

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:05 (eighteen years ago) link

SPIN used to have some really great pieces in the back of the magazine about non-music stuff that were real eye-openers. I haven't seen any good ones lately. What irks me is how the staff has turned itself into celebrity figurines. I read the magazine thinking, "I feel too uncool to be reading this shit." And I'm a frickin writer. I imagine it's incredibly off-putting for some kid in her bedroom.

Jeanne Fury (Jeanne Fury), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:14 (eighteen years ago) link

Remember when Spin had like 10 features about how HIV and AIDS were not causally related? This was late 80s.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:27 (eighteen years ago) link

Last time I read Spin, Guccione Jr was still at the helm, pimping John Mellencamp. So I guess Hank Rollins and Legs McNeil don't write for 'em anymore either?

I feel old.

doug watson (solid air), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, they still have non-music features, like... "Friendster more addictive than crack!!!"

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Celia Farber's AIDS coverage was overall pretty impressive, especially considering the venue.

I agree with you Jeanne that the staff thing is getting annoying; Sia Michel's Letter From the Editor has been completely cloying from minute one (complete with all the "Look at me, I'm at the cool places with the cool people pictures") and the endless pimping of staff tomes is a chore. Spitz' gossip column is unbearable. But I still like the reviews quite a bit.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:35 (eighteen years ago) link

SPIN needs to be put out of its misery. It hasn't mattered since about 1988.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:38 (eighteen years ago) link

I think it's been even longer than that...

Jasper Patches (Dating Ikea), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:41 (eighteen years ago) link

what did Sia Michel do before Spin? I had never heard of her until i saw her picture in Spin.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:55 (eighteen years ago) link

She was a receptionist somewhere.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:56 (eighteen years ago) link

Once SPIN lost Legs McNeil and John Leland it was all over (though I still like Klosterman).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:57 (eighteen years ago) link

man, Spin hasn't mattered since 1972 when I was reading it

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (eighteen years ago) link

Don, all "letter from the editor" pieces in any given magazine are like that. It's sort of the purpose. But I know what you mean. The mag feels like a big Friendster publication or something.

Jeanne Fury (Jeanne Fury), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (eighteen years ago) link

really? and then she became the editor in chief of Spin? cool.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (eighteen years ago) link

for someone who didn't like charles aaron he sure didn't mind biting his style at the time

balls, Tuesday, 21 July 2015 02:39 (seven years ago) link

I'm not really buying tweets 171-174 where he says he's being punished to the tune of 16k for a tossed off line in a Coup review.

lil dork (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 21 July 2015 02:54 (seven years ago) link

That's not the end. Here's the whole thing:

https://twitter.com/bookofriot Haven't talked to him in a while but congenial etc also a really good poet

dow, Tuesday, 21 July 2015 13:39 (seven years ago) link

I'm saying I'm not really buying the narrative that SPIN pursued the $16k out of some sense of malice for what he said in that review, as opposed to like, the many other reasons a company might pursue money from someone

lil dork (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 21 July 2015 15:01 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, somebody else might (may) tell it quite differently, and even in his version, looks like everything turned out okay (oops spoiler).

dow, Tuesday, 21 July 2015 20:49 (seven years ago) link

https://twitter.com/1000timesyes/status/623123039950098432

― lil dork (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, July 20, 2015 11:14 AM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

loooool

WE WANT FET WAP (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:36 (seven years ago) link

I have not thought abt that song in like 15 yrs

WE WANT FET WAP (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:36 (seven years ago) link

Thank you for giving the hearty lol I thought that tweet deserved. I got one RT total on that!

lil dork (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 01:41 (seven years ago) link

what can i say, i love aaron carter

dude, you totally were watching that on the Bad at Rap thread weren't u

you are extreme, Patti LuPone. (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 04:08 (seven years ago) link

Of course!

lil dork (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 04:21 (seven years ago) link

<3

you are extreme, Patti LuPone. (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 04:44 (seven years ago) link

whiney that was a good tweet

balls, Wednesday, 22 July 2015 05:51 (seven years ago) link

it's all iconclastic poet michael robbins' fault!

https://twitter.com/alienvsrobbins/status/622570735211520000

scott seward, Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:42 (seven years ago) link

what isn't

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:56 (seven years ago) link

This guy sounds like an unbelievable tool.

nabisco mr snrub OTM

got the club going UP on a tuesday (m coleman), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 16:01 (seven years ago) link

it's all iconclastic poet michael robbins' fault!

https://twitter.com/alienvsrobbins/status/622570735211520000

― scott seward, Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:42 AM (29 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

what isn't

― Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:56 AM (15 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

lol

maura, Wednesday, 22 July 2015 16:11 (seven years ago) link

I stay with a friend in Stuyvesant Town, 20th & First in Manhattan. It's near the best bagel shop in the world, now closed

truth bomb.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 22 July 2015 17:10 (seven years ago) link

Don't look for it etc etc

Credit: howtokeepapositiveattitudedotcom (stevie), Wednesday, 22 July 2015 18:15 (seven years ago) link

it's all iconclastic poet michael robbins' fault!
https://twitter.com/alienvsrobbins/status/622570735211520000

― scott seward, Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:42 AM (29 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

tbh this framing story is my favorite part

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 22 July 2015 19:04 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

spin has hired good people lately but the periodic (general music media) bloodletting of laying people off then immediately hiring other people is still vampiric and awful

http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7486920/spinmedia-sale-layoffs-spin-report

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Saturday, 27 August 2016 05:09 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Also from billboard.com, via Brad Shoup's twitter bitlink: SpinMedia sells several sites to Hive(?), hangs onto Go Fug Yourself etc.: http://ht.ly/Yx1A304swa3

dow, Thursday, 22 September 2016 17:56 (five years ago) link

from what I understand SPIN will no longer publish reviews. I haven't approached the new editor to confirm.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 22 September 2016 18:01 (five years ago) link

i'm filing one today

J0rdan S., Thursday, 22 September 2016 18:48 (five years ago) link

welcome back!

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 22 September 2016 18:50 (five years ago) link

same

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Thursday, 22 September 2016 21:24 (five years ago) link

well, that's reassuring

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 22 September 2016 21:27 (five years ago) link

Meanwhile... http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/business/media/rolling-stone-brings-in-a-singapore-based-investor.html

“We really were looking for a strategic partner,” Mr. Wenner’s son Gus, who is currently the head of digital for Wenner Media, said in an interview. “This was kind of as strategic as I could possibly find because we have a shared vision and they’re going to be extraordinarily additive as we continue to evolve and transform our business.”

He added: “This is purely a move and a partnership that is aimed at setting ourselves up with a plan and a strategy to be successful.”

Frozen CD, Monday, 26 September 2016 00:52 (five years ago) link

extraordinarily additive

tongue and cheek (stevie), Monday, 26 September 2016 13:53 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

lmao oh my god how many times has this thing changed hands in the past 5 years? like 8?

Fluffy Saint-Bernard (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 22 December 2016 21:55 (five years ago) link

imo billboard's editorial direction has declined in quality drastically since janice min started heading both it and thr. i barely read it anymore. last time i checked there were still a small handful of quality pieces and analyses, but they were far outweighed by the volume of clickbait aimed for maximum social media shares thru twitter stans and such. also the airheaded video '''content''' -- much of which gives the mag's pop charts superficial horse-race coverage like they're a sports game -- has been a disaster.

looking forward to a similar decline for spin and stereogum!

dyl, Thursday, 22 December 2016 22:18 (five years ago) link

tbh i've never really been able to decide if popstan/sportsfan mirroring is like the stealth truth bomb of our time or just if it's just so tediously obvious to everyone it's not worth mentioning

r|t|c, Thursday, 22 December 2016 22:36 (five years ago) link

one year passes...
one year passes...

so apparently no one at spin works there anymore and upon the news I just realized I never emailed someone back in my attempt to resolve back invoices (which to be clear is largely my fault and I hate and am ashamed of it). but the new managing editor/apparently the only employee now? has no contact info anywhere and standard email format is bouncing. does anyone know who I need to talk to?

(also just to be clear this is not me attempting to pitch, I am just trying to be paid for past work, I’m really sorry if that’s still scabbing)

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:04 (two years ago) link

I don't think anyone would consider trying to collect backpay scabbing fwiw sorry I don't know who to contact atm.

Mordy, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:23 (two years ago) link

Sincerely hope you get your money. A magazine I worked for in 1988/89 went bankrupt, just after Christmas but before I'd cashed my most recent paycheque. (ATMs were around, but I wasn't using them yet, so I usually took a couple of extra days to get to the bank.) Pleaded with the publisher via a long-distance call to Quebec--it was something like $700 or $800 for two weeks, money I definitely needed--never got a cent of it; learned very quickly where employees are in the bankruptcy line.

clemenza, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:37 (two years ago) link

🚨Some personal news 🚨Today is my first day as managing editor at SPIN. Stoked to get started with this legendary publication and yes, I'm taking freelance pitches

— Daniel Kohn (@danielkohn) February 4, 2020

Says he wants pitches, offers no way to contact him.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:03 (two years ago) link

katherine, you should hit me up privately, i can try and help you out

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:28 (two years ago) link

(not thru my ilx email)

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:28 (two years ago) link

to clarify for anyone who is wondering: roughly half of spin's remaining staff (like 4 of 8 people) were laid off in september, including myself. the parent owner sold spin to a PE firm a month or so ago (at the same time stereogum bought itself out) and as part of that deal, the remaining staff was told they would not be offered full time employment at the new company. spin was officially transferred between companies this week which is why daniel kohn popped up as the "managing editor of spin" today.

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:33 (two years ago) link

my understanding is that the PE firm has no intention to staff spin back up in any real way and will mostly be relying on freelancers

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:37 (two years ago) link

Man

Ainsley James Gryffyd Lowbeer Holdsworth (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:57 (two years ago) link

That explains the responses to Kohn’s tweet

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 01:17 (two years ago) link

I never emailed someone back in my attempt to resolve back invoices

fwiw i have been there. i think somebody owes me back money right now!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 21:39 (two years ago) link

Yeah trying to get paid for work you did before a company went to shit is noble! I hope it works out—I've been in your position before and it's incredibly frustrating.

maura, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 23:19 (two years ago) link

thanks, headway seems to be happening at least

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Thursday, 6 February 2020 03:15 (two years ago) link

New editor Kohn hasn’t tweeted in 3 days ( was called a scab in 1 comment)

curmudgeon, Friday, 7 February 2020 19:31 (two years ago) link

hang tight

Fantastic. Great move. Well done (sic), Friday, 7 February 2020 19:53 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Longtime former Spin writer Charles Aaron has cancer . There’s a Go Fund Me to help him

https://www.gofundme.com/f/tuawbp-charles-aaron-cancer-treatment-fund?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&fs=e&s=cl

curmudgeon, Friday, 5 August 2022 15:53 (one week ago) link


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