Madonna news - March 2003


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15 March - AL's chartbeat
Hello Fred,
I just purchased Madonna's "digital" single American Life on her official Web site for a cheap price of $1.49 and I am anxiously awaiting [for it to arrive] on March 24, but until then I'm hoping you would be able to fill the void by explaining exactly how this "digital" single will count toward Billboard's singles chart.
If it does indeed appear on that chart a few weeks before the commercially-released maxi single, which I still intend to buy, could you let us know if you think this will debut strongly on the Hot 100? Will Madonna be the first artist to debut on the Hot 100 on digital points? I am rather excited at this prospect of new chart policies!
And lastly, please let your readers know if you've heard her new single or album at all. What did you think of it? Will we possibly see a 13th No. 1 single and another No. 1 album?
John Stephenson

Dear John,
I haven't heard Madonna's American Life single or the new album yet, but I'm looking forward to both. I've been receiving a lot of mail from Madonna fans on this topic, as has Keith Caulfield for his "Ask Billboard" column. Keith might also be receiving a lot of this mail because he's an avowed Madonna fan.
The latest information is that SoundScan will be tracking paid downloads of American Life, and these sales will count toward the song's position on the Hot 100. It is not the first time a digitally available MP3 track has been counted, but in the past the number of paid downloads per song was so small that there was no effect on chart position.
In this case, American Life will be the first digital-download-only single to appear on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. As you mentioned, the downloads can be purchased now, but the track won't be sent until March 24. That means sales will be counted in the tracking week that ends March 30 for the charts that are compiled on Wednesday, April 2. Those charts will be for the week ending April 12 and will appear in that issue of Billboard. They will be posted on Billboard.com on Thursday, April 3.
A commercial CD single will be released on April 8, so those sales figures won't kick in until American Life is already on the sales chart because of the paid downloads. Where the song appears on the main Hot 100 will depend on how much airplay it receives, and how many copies it sells. A potent combination of sales and airplay could indeed mean Madonna will collect her 13th chart-topper. We'll just have to wait and see. (source: Billboard)

15 March - Madonna switches agency and prepares musical
Madonna has returned to CAA, signing for representation in all areas. The move brings her back to the agency, which has repped her on and off during the past 13 years, most recently from 1997-2000. The move comes as the Material Girl is prepping for the release of her latest album, American Life, due out April 22 from Warner Bros. Records. Madonna is collaborating with an unnamed director on an original big-screen musical that she will star in, the performer revealed in the April issue of W. Although her management team declined comment on the project, sources said it is called "Hello Suckers" and is to be directed by Scott Elliott ("A Map of the World"), with Barbara De Fina ("You Can Count on Me") producing. (source: Hollywood Reporter)

15 March - More excerpts from W Mag interview
- ON HER HAIR COLOR...."Well, I am a brunette after all...and I just I just like to match my pubic hair sometimes! People who have nothing better to do than talk about my hair color have no lives."
- ON CANCELLING HER GOLDEN GLOBES APPEARENCE..."I wanted to hang out with my kids. On my list of priorities, it wasn't that important. I have a hard time with award shows. They're just dumb. They're just fashion shows and ratings for TV and they don't mean anything."
- ON SPENDING HERB RITT'S LAST DAYS AT HIS BEDSIDE....."Yes. He was a friend. That's what friends are for. Herb was a good egg., He didn't want people to know he was sick. He just got on with life."
- ON SWEPT AWAY....."My husband and I set out to make a small movie. People wanted it to fail before it came out. Would I work with him again? Sure!"
- ON THE MOVIE FRIDA & SALMA HAYEK...."I didn't like it. Not at all. I think Salma Hayek did a great job. The movie didn't scratch the surface of who she was and what she went through"
- ON A LAS VEGAS SHOW...."That's insane. I hate Vegas. I couldn't bear it for 5 minutes."
- ON WHY SHE GIGGLED WHEN SHE MET THE QUEEN...."Well, There's nothing to say, really. I met the queen"
- ON LONDON...."I've already said this. I love London. And I live there a good part of the year."
- ON SEAN PENN....."It didn't work out and that's just the way it was. I do think my first husband was my equal in many ways. He was intellectually challenging.But that's not always what you need to make a marriage work"
- ON FASHION...."I can enjoy fashion sometimes. Some of my very good friends are designers. Jean Paul Gaultier is a real artist. And I can see the beauty and the art that is involved with couture & design. I totally respect it. But with everything that's going on in the world right now....I just feel that we are preoccupied with the wrong things."
- ON HOW PEOPLE LABEL HER...."People always see the evolution of my career as marketing. I change, I evolve. People cannot understand that, so they put a label on it like "marketing". I call it growing.
- ON WHAT SHE'LL BE DOING AT 50....I do not think about it! It's not productive to think about what Ill be doing in years. I just have to get through the next few months of responsibilities. But my real responsibility is to bring light to the world and make the world a better place"
American Life promo American Life promo Madonna in Q Mag
14 March - Amazing promo pictures
Check out some more promo pictures that appeared on various fansites; from left to right: picture from Q Magazine, a promo picture, and a picture from the album booklet. Click to enlarge.

13 March - AL commercial prospect
Dear Keith,
Madonna's new album, American Life, is causing quite a stir even before the single has been heard by the public. I am excited to see that our pop goddess continues to play it risky. Do you think this album will do well commercially? I am wondering, how many copies has each Madonna album sold according to SoundScan? Any information will be greatly appreciated!
Zheng Wang

Hello Zheng,
Considering Madonna's track record, it's probably a safe bet that her new album -- due April 22 on Warner Bros. -- will do well. The first single from the set is the title track, and it will debut on U.S. radio on March 25.
To tide you over until the single's bow on airwaves, you can pre- order an MP3 of the song on the diva's official Web site. For only $1.49, fans can purchase the track and it will be delivered to their E-mail account on March 24. Once downloaded to your hard drive, the MP3 can be burned to a CD. It will be interesting to see how this affects her placement on the Billboard Hot 100, as these "digital download" purchases will count towards the SoundScan and Billboard singles charts.
Additionally, Warner Bros. will release a conventional CD single to retail stores on April 8. There is no word yet on what the single's tracklist is, but it's a good bet that remixes of the track will eventually see a commercial release. Producers on board for remixing duties include Missy Elliott, Peter Rauhofer, Paul Oakenfold, and Felix Da Housecat.
As for your other question, here is a list of all of Madonna's SoundScan-era (1991-present) albums and their sales:
1992's Erotica (1.85 million),
1994's Bedtime Stories (2.28 million),
1995's Something To Remember (2.02 million),
1996's Evita (1.98 million),
1998's Ray Of Light (3.74 million),
2000's Music (2.87 million),
2001's GHV2 (1.21 million).
(source: Billboard)

12 March - WBR press release
A new Madonna album, American Life, has been set for a worldwide release on April 22nd, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Records.
The enduring icon's first new collection of original material since 2000's multi-platinum smash Music, American Life is being hailed as Madonna's most accomplished, original and intensely personal album to date; a resonant and revealing emotional journey that marks a new highpoint in a career that has for all time redefined the expressive potential of contemporary music.
Recorded over a full year in London and Los Angeles, American Life, the artist's tenth studio album, features eleven new Madonna compositions, including the title track and debut single, which ships to radio March 25th.
"All of these songs reflect my current state of mind. I feel like I have just woken up out of a dream. They range from dismay and anger to joy and certainty. Hopefully, I have taken the personal and made it universal," stated Madonna regarding her new album which she wrote and produced with Mirwais Ahmadzai with whom she also collaborated on her previous release Music.
The American Life CD includes the title track, as well as the following songs: Hollywood, 'I'm So Stupid', 'Love Profusion', 'Nobody Knows Me', 'Nothing Fails', 'Intervention', 'X-Static Process', 'Mother & Father', 'Easy Ride', and Die Another Day, the hit theme song from the James Bond film of the same name.
The American Life single is also the subject of a brilliant new video from the pioneering multi-media visionary, an artist who single handedly invented the short music film medium. In a stunning collaboration with director Jonas Akerlund, American Life expresses a panoramic view of our culture and looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna set against a backdrop of current cultural obsessions. It's a penetrating examination of our national psyche. The video is scheduled to air the first week in April.
Remixes of the American Life single by, among others, mega-hot hip hop diva Missy Elliott, Peter Rauhofer, Felix da Housecat and Maverick Records artist Paul Oakenfold will be available in various configurations over the next several months.
An extensive schedule of appearances, performances and special events has been set in conjunction with the release of American Life including an appearance on an episode of the hit NBC-TV comedy "Will And Grace."
One of the most original and innovative artists of the modern era, Madonna has sold hundreds of millions of albums, topped charts across two decades, created an enormously influential body of work in video and film and stood at the forefront of socially conscious artists worldwide. With American Life, Madonna has once again reached deeply into her own life as the source and substance of her extraordinary artistry. (source: BusinessWire)

11 March - Another excerpt from W Mag interview
Madonna W Magazineposes for the most amazing photograph of her career — with her leg bent behind her head. Yoga-mad Madge, 44, was snapped in the position during a stunning photoshoot after calling normal poses 'boring'. She said: "I'm not interested in just going for a fashion shoot. If I don't feel like I'm creating something that means something, I don't want to do it." Madonna — whose hit films included the documentary In Bed With Madonna — also talked about her marriage to Lock, Stock director Guy Ritchie in the interview with US magazine W. And she admitted once "just being an ego-driven nutcase". The Queen of Pop said of her relationship with Guy, 34: "I actually think marriage is a very important thing. I had to work hard to get a good marriage. Everyone does. You have to make a lot of efforts and compromises. I knew Guy was the right person in five minutes but it took me several years to actually make it happen." But the mum of two denied rumours of a third pregnancy, saying: "Do I look pregnant to you?" She called her daughter Lourdes, six, and son Rocco, two, "my real works of art". And she says one of her priorities is to "hang out with my kids". The singer and actress admitted her first marriage to actor Sean Penn "wasn't an easy time in my life". She added: "You can't just share a few hobbies and think each other's hot. You have to be heading in the same direction."
Talking about her 1992 Sex book — which caused a storm — she said: "I do certainly wonder, why did I make that choice? It wasn't just about sex. It was about money and power and the way things looked — getting people's approval — all that stuff. I was just being an ego-driven nutcase. I thought I was doing a service to mankind, being revolutionary, liberating women. I wasn't." She claims she now realises she is famous "for a reason". Madonna added: "My real responsibility is to bring light to the world and make the world a better place." The star — who also poses as a pole dancer in the magazine shoot — talked about her constant changes of image. She said: "People always see the evolution of my career as marketing. I change. I evolve. People can't understand that, so they put a label on it like 'marketing'. I call it growing."
Madonna, who has been pictured recently back to her natural brunette look, says having the same hairstyle all her life would be "so boring".
She claims following the Jewish mystic cult Kabbalah has taught her not to gossip or criticise others. Madonna said: "If we truly believed that every act of denigrating somebody is a small form of murder — the negative energy you create by talking badly — we'd never do it again. All anybody does any more is slag everybody off. Isn't it important to speak up against that?" She denied she refused to attend the Golden Globe awards where she was due to sit next to Elton John, after he said her single Die Another Day was "the worst Bond tune of all time". She added: "Every once in a while you do get caught up in that — 'Oh, they said this about me'." Madonna is working on a musical project for the cinema after Swept Away — her film with hubby Guy — flopped. (source: The Sun)

11 March - Pre-order MP3 single
Madonna will release her new song, American Life, as a Digital Single. Fans who pre-order the Digital Single for $1.49 will have it emailed to their desktops along with a special audio message from Madonna, on March 24th, the Digital Street Date. Once you have the file you can listen to it on your computer, transfer it to a player, or burn it to CD. It's yours to keep. Click to pre-order the mp3 or click to pre-order the album. (source: Madonna.com)
~ Note that the 'digital single' is only available for fans in the United States.

11 March - Madonna's concept behind W Mag photo spread
Madonna is back. Kicking off the hype for her new album American Life, which is due next month, is a 44-page photo spread in the April issue of W magazine, part of a collaboration with photographer Steven Klein. "I'm not interested in going to a fashion shoot and just trying on a bunch of clothes," she explains. "It's so boring. If I don't feel like I'm creating something that means something, I don't want to do it." These pictures, some of which also will be on view at Deitch Projects in SoHo beginning March 27 (W is out March 25), are the result of several months of e-mails with Klein. Showing off her yoga-honed flexibility in limbs-akimbo poses, Madonna's concept was "a performer in her rehearsal space where she creates and brings her ideas to life or death." Klein says Madonna "talked about how, when she's rehearsing for a show or a video, sometimes those bits are more interesting than the final piece. Most people don't get to see that process." Explains Madonna: "I always approach visual projects in the same way. We always start with a character, and what we want to get across. It's often a combination of my own clothes and things we find. This is the inner landscape of a performance artist. And I think, if you look at the pictures, they're not even in the most flattering positions, you know? It's not about that." (source: USA Today)

10 March - Hollywood lyrics
Fansite MadonnaInternet revealed the lyrics of Hollywood. Click here to read.

10 March - Liz Smith on Madonna's W Mag interview
Just W Mag coverbecause Madonna is a Kabbalah-practicing, nongossiping, anti- war wife and mother of two doesn't mean she's off the radar. Far from it. Upcoming in W magazine will be 44 - I said 44 - pages of photos devoted to M. This "concept" portfolio is a creative collaboration between Madonna and Stephen Klein. (Some of the pictures - arty, athletic, odd - will be on view at Deitch Projects, 76 Grand St. in SoHo, later this month.) The increasingly private star also sat for an interview with Merle Ginsberg. But except for one mildly risque remark concerning her hair color (she's back to brunette), Madonna wants to talk seriously.
She brushes off criticism with remarks about her "spiritual studies" ... says she'd work with hubby Guy Ritchie again, "Swept Away" reviews be damned (or darned - M's not big on profanity anymore) ... thought Salma Hayek was great in "Frida" but didn't think the film did artist Frida Kahlo justice ... disses Internet rumor-mongering ... dismisses awards shows and says her interest in "fashion per se" has ebbed in light of world events ... loves London, despite rumors to the contrary ... and refers to her past self as "an ego-driven nutcase."
Of course, all this photography and chat is in preparation for the release of her coming "American Life" album. (If she could promote the CD without ever speaking to the press, she would.) But even her music takes a backseat. At one point, Madonna whips out a Polaroid of her two children, Lourdes and Rocco. "These are my real works of art," she says. It's a long way from the sexual provocateur who posed nude, save for a purse and high heels, on a highway for her "Sex" book. I'm sure Madonna is happier now, but I kind of miss all that. There was never a dull moment. (source: NY Newsday)

10 March - AL to push anti-war alliance
Music's loose anti-war alliance should get a vigorous push with the world premiere of Madonna's American Life video on MTV this month. Using a fashion show as a backdrop, the clip "examines the horrors of war" as an audience applauds grenade-lobbing models in haute-couture army fatigues, spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg says. In a statement, Madonna disputes misconceptions about the video: "I am not anti-Bush. I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro-peace. I hope this provokes thought and dialogue." Madonna is the first high-profile artist to directly confront the Iraq standoff in her work. Other efforts are falling beneath the pop-culture radar. (source: pressconnects)

10 March - Strike a pose? Boring!
Madonna has transformed herself from the Material Girl into the Human Pretzel for the new issue of W. Why did she go on a bender for photographer Steven Klein? "I can't tell you how boring it is posing for pictures," she explains. "I'm not interested in just going to a fashion shoot and trying on a bunch of clothes." (source: New York Post)

08 March - Official release dates and art work *official*
American Life single American Life advert Madonna.com has posted the following release dates:
- American Life radio date 3/24
- American Life video date 3/31
- American Life commercial single on sale 4/08 in the US, 4/14 in Europe
- American Life album on sale 4/22 in North America, 4/21 rest of the world.
The first picture (left) is an advert for American Life (click to enlarge). Madonna.com posted this picture as the album cover, but several sources deny this. Rumour has it that the second picture (right) is the single cover. Hopefully more clearness about this soon.

08 March - American Life promo campaign
It's promising to be an exciting Madonna time the coming weeks and months. Check out these American Life details (thanx to Madonnarama, MadonnaVillage and NJMOBOY):
  • SINGLE: American Life goes to radio for March 24 adds. An mp3 single, with added message from Madonna, may be purchased the same day through madonna.com, fan and radio station sites and retailers. The commercial single features remixes by Missy Elliott, Paul Oakenfold, Felix Da Housecat, Peter Rauhofer and Layo & Bushwacka.
  • VIDEO: American Life reaches MTV around March 23.
  • TELEVISION: Madonna performs during a highly promoted appearance on 'Late Show With David Letterman' on April 22. Also that day a 'Today Show'/'Dateline' hour-long special/interview, in-studio performance and special programming on MTV will air. On April 23, she appears on 'Live With Regis And Kelly', and she stars on 'Will & Grace' on April 25. Exclusive network promos for American Idol will feature American Life.
  • PROMOTION: An American Life Pro-CD with remixes and edits reaches radio before album release date. Madonna will be available for radio syndicated interviews, and on-air flyaway promo contests (for the 'Will & Grace' taping and airing) are set for March 10.
  • PUBLICITY: Expect massive press coverage, from entertainment news (E!, Access Hollywood, ET, CNN, etc.) to interviews/features in Q (April cover), W (April Cover), Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, People, USA Today, and more.
  • NEW MEDIA: Madonna's image will grace the AOL May-June campaign, including retail displays and 1-3 million 'free offer' CD-ROMs. Tentatively, she will also be Artist of the Month on AOL, MSN and Yahoo!, each with major ad campaigns. Sprint will feature her in conjunction with a ring-tone promotion in March. The CD is enhanced with links to the 'AOL Session' performance, the online player, madonna.com, etc.
  • SPECIAL EDITION: The Special Edition is tentatively scheduled as a Combo Pak adding an AOL branded DVD featuring Madonna's 'AOL Sessions' interview, the unreleased remix video of Die Another Day, and other links.


08 March - W Magazine preview
Entertainment Tonight showed a preview of Madonna's ballet-inspired photo shoot that will appear in W Magazine. Check out some screengrabs at Madonnalicious.

07 March - BBC previews the album
Radio 1's had a sneak preview of Madonna's new album, American Life. The style is similar to Music, and with both Mirwais and Jacques Le Cont (LRD) having worked on it, you can expect a good mix of electronic, guitar and pop. Some of the tracks are quite humorous - she raps on the single, also called 'American Life', and criticises herself for liking material things. There's also an 80s disco-style tune, a down tempo song called 'Nobody Knows' (sung with The London Community Gospel Choir), as well as other tracks called 'Hollywood' and 'Love Profusion'. The single's out on 14 April and also has remixes by Missy Elliot and Layo & Bushwacka. The album's released on 21 April. (source: BBC Radio 1)
~ Note that earlier rumours said that the gospel song (and rumoured third single) would be 'Nothing Fails' and not 'Nobody Knows Me'. Let's also hope the single release will be on March 31st (as rumoured) instead of April 14th (which seems quite late).

06 March - Madonna wants 'rap cred'
PeopleNews spewed their irony (already) on M's attempt to do rap: "Singer. Actress. Children's writer. Now Madonna has decided she wants to be a rapper and has roped in Missy Elliott to help her. An amused source commented: 'Madonna is obsessed with Eminem and Missy, and wanted to do something in the rap world to get some street cred.' Madonna reportedly spent hours on the phone to the Get UR Freak On rapper before heading into the studio to record a hip-hop version of forthcoming anti-war rant American Life. Madonna recently called white-trash rapper Eminem 'an inspiration,' but PeopleNews can't help but wonder what in the hell inspired the 44-year-old mother of two's recent example of lyrical virtuosity - 'I drive my mini cooper and I'm feeling super-dooper' - and how she expects to be able to rap it with a straight face? Sorry Madge, rap credibility is looking as elusive as ever... "

06 March - AL preview clips
Check the flash version of Madonna.com, where you'll find three streaming clips of American Life: one verse, the chorus and a loop.

06 March - AL clean version and limited edition with DVD
Madonna has revealed the track list for her highly anticipated new Maverick album, American Life, due April 22. The 11-track set will be led by the title track, which is expected to be sent March 25 to U.S. radio outlets for airplay consideration. The album includes the cut Die Another Day, Madonna's soundtrack contribution to the recent James Bond film of the same name. It reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The as-yet-unseen American Life video has already courted controversy for its anti-war stance. Last month, Madonna's publicist described the Jonas Akerlund-directed clip as "a panoramic view of our culture and looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna." It is not known if and when the video will premiere on music networks.
Perhaps with an eye toward the clip's violent content, American Life will be available in a "clean" version without profanity. There will also be a limited-edition version of the album that will include a DVD with as-yet-unspecified contents. (source: Billboard)

05 March - Madonna goes gospel *rumour*
According to fansite MadonnaInternet, the song 'Nothing Fails' will not only feature string arrangements by Michel Colombier, but also vocals by the London Community Gospel Choir, arranged by Nicki Brown!

05 March - M on VH1 Divas Live? *rumour*
Inside sources at VH1 say that the network is trying to get Madonna to headline they're annual "Divas Live" show in May. Insiders say that Madonna has NOT YET agreed to do the show, but says that she is considering it and has not yet declined the invitation. Madonna is also being courted by NBC to do a primetime concert that would air during May sweeps. Both TV specials would be perfect timing for Madonna to promote the American Life CD and she IS said to be seriously considering doing one of these specials. (source: Madonnarama)

05 March - Rauhofer's AL remix at Roxy
Peter Rauhofer played his remix of Madonna's new single American Life this past Saturday (March 1, 2003), at his residency at New York's Roxy. The mix seemed still to be a work in progress, and did not include the "Soy latte" rap section. Peter played his mix right at the peak of his set, around 4 AM. Later in the morning Peter also played the album version in its entirety and then parts of it backward. (source: Madonnarama)

05 March - Madonna popular in Iraq
Madonna has a new fan - Saddam Hussein. Iraqi radio is playing more songs by the Material Girl than any other Western pop act thanks to the anti-war stance on her new single, American Life, which is out here on April 21. They're even playing her 1984 hit Like A Virgin - even though it was once banned for being too raunchy for the strict Muslim country. (source: The Sun)

04 March - Confirmation of tracklisting *official*
Madonna.com has finally confirmed the tracklisting, that has been circulating for a while already:

  1. American Life
  2. Hollywood
  3. I'm So Stupid
  4. Love Profusion
  5. Nobody Knows Me
  6. Nothing Fails
  7. Intervention
  8. X-Static Process
  9. Mother and Father
  10. Die Another Day
  11. Easy Ride

04 March - The old lady still rocks
In their april issue, Sp!n Magazine calls Madonna the no. 1 of "Old Ladies Who Are Still Sexy To Rock Boys", winning to the likes of Deborah Harry, Marianne Faithful and Tori Amos. They also place Truth Or Dare on no. 17 of Best Music Movies Ever. (source: Sp!n, thanx to Madonna.com)

03 March - 'The English Roses' is first of five children books
Singer, actor, now writer — Madonna has taken up the pen. Penguin Group announced Monday that the singer has written five illustrated story books for young readers aged 6 and above. The first title, "The English Roses," will be published in hardcover in September and distributed simultaneously worldwide, Penguin Group said. No further details were given. "Madonna is an artist with a universal appeal and these books will touch children of all backgrounds everywhere in the world," said chairman and chief executive John Makinson. Penguin Group has bought the English language rights to the five books, each of which will feature a different celebrated illustrator, from Callaway Editions, the New York-based publisher of illustrated books, which will publish the books in the United States. In all other English language markets, the books will be published by Puffin, the children's imprint of Penguin Group (UK). Nicholas Callaway, founder and publisher of Callaway Editions, added that the singer "has drawn on a lifelong passion for and deep familiarity with literature and children's books to create contemporary classics that combine great storytelling with ravishing art. "With these books, Madonna has accomplished something rare and wonderful. Despite the astonishing range and variety of her stories, they all evoke the secret that the red fox shares with the Little Prince: 'It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.'" Puffin is Britain's leading publisher of children's books; other children's authors on its books include Roald Dahl, Eric Carle, Raymond Briggs and Allan and Janet Ahlberg. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company. Callaway titles have included many highly acclaimed illustrated books, including the best-selling "Miss Spider" series, written and illustrated by David Kirk and Hilary Knight's "When I Have a Little Girl/When I Have a Little Boy." (source: AP)

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