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Band Complains About Massive Downloads Destroying Sales; Researchers Can't Find Any Downloads

from the how-do-you-spell-publicity-stunt? dept

We’ve mentioned before the Recording Industry astroturfing site in Canada, called “Balanced Copyright for Canada,” which is about anything but setting up a “balanced” copyright system in Canada. However, apparently, there was a recent “debate” on that group’s Facebook page about some poor Canadian band (who I’m not going to bother naming, for reasons that should become obvious), who put out a press release claiming that it had “gone platinum,” if unauthorized downloads were counted. The band claimed that its album had been downloaded over 100,000 times, and complained about people “stealing” from them.

Of course, one curious participant in the debate, Wayne Borean, began to question this press release. He went out and searched the various torrent search engines/trackers, and even searched Google with the filetype:torrent search and came up with no results. In other words, it’s not just unlikely that the band’s work has been shared 100,000 unauthorized times, it’s unlikely that it’s being shared at all. TorrentFreak jumped into the fray, and noticed very few Twitter followers, and almost no YouTube views on the band’s channel, and also began suspecting stuff. After pressing the band’s manager for “proof,” TorrentFreak discovered that it came from an search form that returns fake results.

Thus, it does not appear that the band purposely mislead people, but it appears that they don’t seem to realize that you can do searches on pretty much any made up thing on certain sites and it will tell you there are tons of results. Of course, since this info has been presented, the band claims that “the music thieves are after us now.” Or, they’re not. Which might actually be a bigger problem for the band.

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Comments on “Band Complains About Massive Downloads Destroying Sales; Researchers Can't Find Any Downloads”

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Irate Pirate says:

Re: Re:

Those involved could easily help the bands image (a lot) by coming forward and admitting they made a mistake. I can only surmise the reason they haven’t yet is for fear of looking like fools. What they fail to realize is that they already do thanks to a bit of simple sleuthing that anyone can do. The real question is why they all seem intent on digging the hole even deeper for themselves. Stupidity or malice, its hard to tell which. Both perhaps?

blah says:

My favorite part of the TorrentFreak article

I especially laughed at this part:

In response to the initial crisis, lead-vocalist Salem Jones had said that while the piracy was unacceptable, the band were ?flattered that people could love our music that much.? Does it now follow that band aren?t flattered? Dare I venture that they?re now quietly disappointed? Would it be better for 100K new fans to have sampled their music after all, rather than continuing with the relative obscurity they currently enjoy?

That’s classic, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when they came to this realization.

HothMonster says:

Fucking arrogant flappy headed bastards

I read the torrentfreak story. I really liked it and liked how at the end they asked people to go check out the band and follow them on twitter and what not. Show the band and the industry that just because people read torrentfreak it doesnt mean they are out to rape your wallet. Then I got to the part about the bands insulting twitter post, after torrentfreak called for people to check out and support(if you like them) the band.

Fuck these guys.

Anonymous Coward says:

“We have the screen-grabs which started the story, and we have screen grabs from after the release which show that the album isn’t being downloaded as much…suggesting that the pirates chose to keep their heads down”

My favorite part is lack of said screen grabs. Maybe i have just been spending to much time on here and expect people to back up what they say with proof.

Irate Pirate says:

Re: Re:

I’m hoping the real torrent sites, now that they are all aware of this story, delete everything that shows up by this band from this point forward. That would be the icing on the cake. Considering the response of those involved with this band, I think it would be a justifiable reaction, and one that would illustrate to all the other bands out there how the music industry would rather burn bridges for the sake of their own lost cause than use the technology to build better ones, allowing upcoming artists to better connect with potential fans. Sigh, when will they ever learn that the people they keep labeling as pirates are also the consumers and fans who support them? Never apparently.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Saw This

Saw this on TorrentFreak earlier. While I did mock them on my Twitter, there are lots of technologically illiterate people in the world, and often they can be forgiven for being so (though it would be highly preferable they not make loud public statements based on said illiteracy).

But the fact that the CRIA was using this as a PR platform is staggering. Being able to do data collection and analysis like TorrentFreak did is the entire job of the CRIA. This leads us to only two possible conclusions:
1. The CRIA is lying outright – deliberately attempting to deceive – with their PR statements
2. The CRIA is so hopelessly incompetent that they cannot be expected to serve a useful purpose to musicians or anyone else

So which is it: malice or incompetence? Though I guess both imply the very same corollary: the CRIA should not exist.

“Of course, since this info has been presented, the band claims that “the music thieves are after us now.” Or, they’re not. Which might actually be a bigger problem for the band.”

I thought the same thing. The only thing worse than nobody paying for your product is nobody taking it for free, as that means your product is so abysmally bad it’s not even worth taking for free.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

colour favourite honour humour favour glamour analogue catalogue dialogue analyse criticise memorise surprise advertise improvise enrolment fulfil skilful paneled enroled fulfiled empaneled canceled centre metre theatre fibre kilometre lustre sabre sombre encylopaedia manoeuver mediaeval cheque judgement defence licence

The noise you are now hearing is your Spell checker imploding from correctness πŸ˜‰

blah says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think he said it wasn’t available, he just said it was unlikely that anyone was sharing it:

In other words, it’s not just unlikely that the band’s work has been shared 100,000 unauthorized times, it’s unlikely that it’s being shared at all.

One hit doesn’t mean people are actively sharing it – just means it got shared once.

Rich says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t think those two statement are mutually exclusive. The first says it available for download (i.e., there is a torrent for it). The second says that no one is supporting the torrent (i.e., no one is downloading it, which means they are also not uploading it. Thus, not sharing it.).

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think the context is being lost here. The first statement is: “it’s unlikely that it’s being shared at all.”

The comment in reference to that statement is: “I don’t think he said it wasn’t available”

The two comments were reversed because the first in my post was me quoting the person I was responding to. The second was clarification.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Aaaaha. I went back and reread the TorrentFreak article (the researcher you say “did very poor research”) several times and for the life of me couldn’t find that quote you quoted. It turns out it wasn’t from “the researcher” at all, but rather by Mike. That makes much more sense.

Now, I have no idea whether he was being serious (and wrong) or hyperbolic (and right), and I don’t really care. Though it is worth noting that the latter is an entirely plausible explanation, as “not being downloaded at all” is a perfectly valid hyperbolic statement corresponding to “being downloaded almost none”, which is virtually certain given the complete lack of presence in the entire BitTorrent ecosystem.

But I see you’re absolutely certain he was being serious, so I won’t argue. I really only agree with Mike maybe 70% of the time, to begin with.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:


Are you a native English speaker? Because all I can say to that, as a native speaker, is that such hyperbole is very common in actual use. Hence why I and all the other native speakers interpreted the original statement as hyperbole without so much as a conscious thought.

I (and it seems others) responded to your posts because I believed that you had to be arguing something else, as nobody could be so obsessed with splitting such a small hair. But I guess I was wrong, in which case there isn’t a need for me or anyone else who isn’t similarly obsessed to respond to you again.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

It’s also common use to call piracy a form of theft. That doesn’t mean the usage is accurate. Using hyperbole to represent something one way when it is actually the other is worth correcting.

The title of the article is “… Researchers can’t find any downloads.” Except that you could find downloads in less than a minute if you understood how to look. You might think it’s splitting hairs to point out the title of an article is 100% misleading. I don’t. Sorry if I prefer my facts factual.

Irate Pirate says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Just because you found the album on one obscure torrent site doesn’t mean people are actually sharing it. That is why the total number of seeders and leechers is important. Page hits don’t count for obvious reasons, nor do the number of times the .torrent file itself has been grabbed. I will often grab a .torrent file while waiting for something better to comes along, especially when I’m surfing sites that tend to have connectivity issues, and never actually load it into my torrent program.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, then please provide the link to the real files that are being shared on the warez site that you found it so we can ascertain the veracity of your claims, because from searches I did do you will be hard pressed to find a) a real file b) a torrent and finally c) it reached anywhere near 100k downloads.


cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’m surprised people are having trouble finding that. I found it just by sticking “one soul thrust 1st download” into Google.

Looking at the results in a bit more detail, it does indeed appear that this is a scene group release of the band’s music. There aren’t many real links to files, but those that seem ‘legit’ do link to file-lockers, to a file about 80MB. Sounds about right for a low-quality mp3 rip. I really don’t care enough to download and check, maybe other people here are more into that sort of thing.

Another thing that you can discover by examining the results is that they are all forum posts. A handy thing about forums is that they keep track of how many times each thread was viewed. While the download number is most likely smaller than the number of thread views, each of the ~5 forums seems to have about 20 views. That adds up to a number near zero.

In summary: No such torrent. Was released by scene group, nobody cared. No 100,000 downloads.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Aha, data. Let’s see…

realraptalk.com: global site ranking #4256, with ~0.0012% of page views
warezfox.com: #28,403, ~0.0002% of page views

For comparison:
thepiratebay.org: #88, ~0.06%
isohunt.com: #240, ~0.03%
mininova.org (prior to the collapse in 2010): #~90, ~0.06%
torrentfreak.com: #5017, ~0.0007%
techdirt.com: #10,803, ~0.0003%

warezfox.com is quite small, though realraptalk.com isn’t that small (for a very niche site on the order of TorrentFreak and TechDirt). Though the fact that only two sites on the entire internet picked up this link certainly suggests it’s phenomenally unpopular.

Incidentally, I’m finding it amusing how you can use Alexa to find the most popular illegal download sites.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Perhaps he’s concerned that he’s much more knowledgeable about how to pirate stuff than at least two sites publicly decried as promoting piracy?

Personally I have the opposite problem: despite being an avid fan of TechDirt and TorrentFreak, I’m really quite ignorant when it comes to how to illegally acquire most things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


Warez website != torrents(P2P Filesharing)

That explain why nobody found anything about that band on torrent sites.

Kind of sad that not even the pirates want that stuff.

On another note I tried to look for it but what I do find are fakes and websites like that one there, are you sure that what you found is an downloadable audio file? specially from a warez website they are know to not have real files.

ps: Specially if you are not part of the inner group of a warez ring.


blah says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I would say that since you’re the only one of us so far that has found “evidence” of this band being shared – there are a couple clear things going on: 1) they’re unknown (otherwise this should be dead easy) 2) you know a lot more about finding pirated materials than the rest of us and 3) you’re just being an ass.

blah says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I went back and re-read the original article… I think I see why you got so bent out of shape about the “research”:

Supposedly it?s been downloaded 100,000 times from torrent sites.

and that links back to the article alleging the 100,000 downloads:

A random polling of several torrent site?s downloads?ILLEGAL downloads?has shown that 1ST, the debut cd by ONE SOUL THRUST has been downloaded over 100,000 times.

So, the entire premise of the research was to find torrents… and you still haven’t done that?

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:






I could keep doing this but im not gonna waste my time. Either thats one amazing site you wont share or you results are fake (or your a liar but ill give you the benefit of the doubt). Seeing as how none of these or my favorite site had any hits, im gonna go ahead and agree that if it was pirated nobody downloaded it and it disappeared, or it was just never pirated.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Ha ha, the Pirate Bay site actually did bring up a hit. Here’s the description:

Note from uploader: I got a hold of this after seeing the article mentioned and thought Id share with the community. Good for a laugh, and to be fair, I agree the music aint half bad, but definitely not 100,000 illegal downloads. None at all, until now, so please feel free to share and post this anywhere you please πŸ™‚

Ok, this story is to funny to believe. This (nobody) band (who admittedly isnt bad), did a search on a malicious torrentsite and got (advertisements) claiming to have their new album.

Note: You can type any real or fake name in their search and get the same results. Try it!


Now go throughly read the article on TorrentFreak


Now if you can manage to stop laughing, have a listen to their music. There album was Pre,d by the Scene, but only ONE torrentsite even offered it (that we could find), and it got ZERO downloads.

The bottom line is…


My goal is to change that, so Enjoy!!!

Btw, the three songs were ripped directly from the Bands Flash Player on their own website. I guess theyre too dumb to know that by the time it plays in my speakers, the files are already on my computer lol

Oh yeah, you can only listen to two of the three songs with out joining their (Fan Club)??? well… thats true, but I had no problem ripping the mp3 even if thier lame flash player stopped the song after 30 seconds lol (Id love to see their faces if I showed them how easy that was).

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

In case you really missed teh funny, read this again:

the three songs were ripped directly from the Bands Flash Player on their own website.

Even someone who wanted to get the album from a torrent site couldn’t do it. It wasn’t available anywhere, so they had to rip the music from the Flash player on the band’s own website.

Now, let’s check back in a few days. Maybe, by then, someone or other will have found the CD rip that’s being offered on the one (one!) file locker site, and put it on The Pirate Bay or IsoHunt or whatever.

Here’s the question: Even with the Streisand Effect in full force, will it reach 100K downloads? I’m betting it won’t.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Did you download it? Is it really music or a virus?

Does the filesize match what the content should be? If its kilobits it is a virus, if its >100mb its bullshit.

You are aware that just because you get a return on a warez site that doesn’t mean you actually found what you are looking for? Search on that same site for something that clearly doesn’t exist like “bullshit results 44” does that get a hit?

http://madhatter.ca/2011/03/30/one-soul-who-is-lying-to-them/ -looks like a decent amount of research, and while he found hits its pretty clear that none of them are actually the bands music.

“To expand: The researcher searched through Google? Who pirates by searching through Google? Please correct me if I am mistaken, but wasn’t Google being raked over the coals recently for censoring warez and torrent sites?”
They got raked for taking warez and torrent related terms out of autocomplete, they don’t screw with the results if you enter those terms yourself.

Even if what you did find is the bands music (which i HIGHLY doubt) did anyone download it? I find it hard to believe that a band with less than 200 twitter followers and 79 views of their youtube page would be downloaded more than 200 times. People have to know who you are to want to download your music, people dont just type random names into piratebay and download it or download every album ever released by anyone. Plus you would think they would notice if their fanbase grew by a power of 500 (and you would hope they would be excited).

Do that backwards, if 100,000 people did download their music and only 200 friended them and 79 took the time to look at their youtube page, that album must really blow.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“You are aware that just because you get a return on a warez site that doesn’t mean you actually found what you are looking for? Search on that same site for something that clearly doesn’t exist like “bullshit results 44″ does that get a hit?”

Again, I know how to search for pirated material. And I already shared links to the bands music available through Megashare.

As for the veracity of the 100,000 download claim: I never made any comment in regards to this. Simply that the album was easy to find in less than a minute, and that the original researcher did an exceptionally poor job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Didn’t their album just come out?
It was hard to figure out what the issue was, and then I saw the twitter comment and the truly dumb comment the “band” made on the Canadian Copyright thingy on Devilbook.

They think that people are PAYING the pirates to get copies.

Ummm wasn’t the CRIA membership on the hook for about 6 billion for stealing from their artists and then settled for 35 cents that they promptly took back from the artists to cover their legal costs?

During the TPB spectrial someone made a webpage that churned out fake screengrabs of torrents being shared, why is it the Luddites only embrace the technology when they think they can fool other people. Oooh he makes fire, him truthteller. And many of us just look at it and point out all the Photoshoping errors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry I was delayed…

I was looking at the bands Devilbook page and there was a link to a comment they made in the Group CRIA started…
it was about the story about them being ripped off..

Lemme finds… I stuck it on the TF thread…

“One Soul Thrust One of the deepest wounds for us is the fact that many people paid pirates for our work. So those well-intentioned souls believe they’re financially supporting us. That sick twist defies decent description.

They think people are paying…
they are delusional or their “manager” handles their online presence and they are unaware he is making sure they fail by ruining their name. “

and an nice mushroom in the TF thread pointed out –
“I believe that if you click on these “sponsored” fake links you’re redirected to a paying site. If they were naive enough to believe that 100K people downloaded their album through said links, it makes sense that they thought said 100K people paid money to do so. “

Overcast (profile) says:

Don’t worry – even for free… I don’t want it, lol.

See.. some people need to GET A FOOKING CLUE…

Music.. has been FREE on the Radio (as far as a ‘user’ is concerned) since like 1930 or thereabout.

There has been PLENTY of profit in it, despite that fact.

Prior to radio – a musician, by and large couldn’t make a living – even if they were good.

The real problem isn’t the artists or the downloaders, it’s an age old business model that new technology has made OBSOLETE – doesn’t matter if bands, band managers, record companies or any of that like it – it’s a fact.

But I digress.

Would anyone who thinks the internet is killing the music business care to explain how NetFlix is running almost all other movie business into the ground when I can download movies for free too?

I can download movies for free, yet I pay a lot for cable each month – I pay for all the movie channels available.

And you know what – I pay for CD’s too, if they aren’t 90% ‘b-side’ garbage, anyway. But then you know – I wouldn’t pay for a movie/show series if I only cared for 10% either now, would I?

It has to be a ‘fair deal’ – an audio CD with 2 good songs on it for $15.00 is anything BUT a good deal.

Irate Pirate says:

Re: Re:

I can download movies for free, yet I pay a lot for cable each month – I pay for all the movie channels available.

Same here, despite how tight money is right now. This is why I don’t feel bad about downloading TV shows, which makes up 99% of my bittorrent usage. I have a decent cable box that can record high def programs, but torrents are just so much more convenient. The site I use tracks all my favorite shows for me. All I have to do is log in and click a button. Less than that if I felt like setting up RSS. Plus all the ads have been removed so that is another convenience I like. The quality of the HD material tends to be a slightly better than that of my cable provider too.

I pay my dues and because of that will never feel one iota of guilt. If only all forms of entertainment were so simple. I dream of the day when I can access everything ever made past/present/future, on demand 24/7 with no windows, all for a small monthly fee. Sadly I doubt I will see such a thing in my lifetime. Pirates want to pay, so why won’t they let us?

Overcast (profile) says:

In summary: No such torrent. Was released by scene group, nobody cared. No 100,000 downloads.


And too bad for the band – In reality.
I’ll submit another question to people in general, the band, the music industry.. Answer to yourself – honestly.

**How many CD’s do you own that are ‘random purchases’ – ones purchased without *ever* hearing the song or band before?**

Honestly now.. πŸ™‚ Don’t need to answer here – just think about it.

My answer is maybe out of my 200+ CD’s… maybe 2. And trust me they were ‘next to nothing’ in cost, like a buck or two.

blah says:

Re: Re:

Unknown, never heard?

From the used rack at the record store, or some random garage sale, yes… maybe one or two (and usually regretted the purchase later).

These days, I pretty much only listen to free music (truly free, as in, music made for the sake of making music, not for profit) – usually goofy shit like Nerdcore Hiphop and the like. Ok, so maybe “music” is the wrong category for it πŸ˜‰

Ultrahardcore. says:

Re: Re:

Buy a DROBO or DROBO like to store that it will make you wonder why you pay for plastic discs at all.

You can also make a DROBO thingy using open source since that particular piece of hardware is based on RAID 5(or was 3?), virtual filesystem and automation scripts, but for now it is a pain to implement.

Maybe someone knows of something similar that I haven’t found it yet.

r (profile) says:

?They're doing that thing

That thing, you know, that thing people do when they’re in deep – they keep digging.. and digging.. and ‘thunk’ – rock bottom.

I think the manager is driving all the noise (http://www.camerontilburypublicity.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Soul-Thrust/142945022392876?sk=wall) and failing on a grand scale. I think it’s really rather sad in a funny sort of way.

I think the manager should let the door hit him in the ass. I think dumb people are dumb. I don’t think I want to listen. I’ve only just heard a Canadian artist and I don’t want to ruin the taste in my mouth and *gasp* she even lets people hear her stuff *gasp* for free (http://www.reverbnation.com/hayleysales)! The shock, the awe – the absolute abomination that *is* the internet.

Eat it Mr. Cameron, cause you may go hungry for a bit.

Joseph K (profile) says:

Yes it is available

To clarify for those who’ve been talking back and forth. Yes the album is available on the file hosting website megashares, and, so far as I can tell, no others. There were some uploads to filesonic and hotfile but these have been taken down. And the file is a real rar file with the whole album in mp3. Like everyone else, I can’t find a single torrent of the album. You can listen to their music if you go to their myspace page. With all of the attention they’re getting, if someone were to upload a torrent, it’ll probably help them. I’m not going to do it, since I don’t like their music, but maybe there’s a kind soul out there.

Memyself says:

Re: Yes it is available

Frankly, the distinction between “how” the music was shared is an unnecessary shell game. Unless there is something I missed, the band did not claim their album was being torrented. They claimed it was being shared. It is. That the researchers chose to focus on one type of sharing while ignoring others only serves to skew the research.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Yes it is available

Well, their claims where based on flimsy evidence that nobody can corroborate.

100 K downloads? wow!, they also showed their evidence and it was from a scam torrent site, so obviously people looked at the torrent sites and found nothing they are not being pirate by torrents, only on forums that use primarily file lockers to do it and even in those places where you can see the number of visits people didn’t spread out, so the claims of damage are greatly exaggerated or are you saying that a couple hundreds downloads wiped the income from that band?

Claiming harm where there is none is fraud to me, what do you think?

If you scream fire in a theater would you not get in trouble?

Why when people scream piracy and have no proof of harm people don’t get in trouble?

They should they are use false claims to try and gain something from others and that is bad right?

Wayne Borean (profile) says:

As the original researcher, I can assure you that Google still does give results from Pirate sites. I checked. You can read my original research here:


a follow up here:


and a final shot at one of my favorite lawyers here:



drew says:

It is hurting sales

I have worked with bands in Austin for over 20 years now. I have also noticed all sales dropping slowly over the years. Nothing to do with the music. It is an obvious trend why. A lot of software helps the net surfer obtain the music for free. You can strip MP3s from videos and so on. l also find that it is 99.9% non musicians that don’t have music for sale complain about the subject at hand. What if someone went to your job and stole your money while you weren’t looking? I would be willing to bet you would change your tone then.

Wayne Borean (profile) says:

It is helping sales


As someone who owns their own recording studio, and works with smaller acts, my response to you is bullshit. I know a bunch of people who now have full time jobs in music, who ten years ago could NOT HAVE DONE THIS. The addition of the internet has given them extra tools to make money.

I’ve pointed a lot of people who are looking at ways to make money at Techdirt. Mike often talks about different methods other artists have used. Take them, modify them, and run with them. That’s what the smart people are doing.


Drew says:

Re: It is helping sales

I can see you are a real nice guy. One of those “I am always right and everyone else is always wrong” people. All of the bands I work with are full time musicians. What does having a studio have to do with anything? Obviously nothing if you are giving away music that is not even yours. What band would agree to that? Maybe throw a fill song or something out there for a bone.

Maybe the bands you work with should key one eye open if you say giving away someones music helps them. Do the people that obtained it free comeback and also purchase it. I don’t understand your madness. Then of course it is not you losing out. It is the musicians. Why should you care

My last response. I would rather be working on my accts. than arguing with someone who doesn’t care about their clients best interest. My coworkers even got a chuckle from your response.

You can post any hateful “I am right, I know I am” response. But I won’t be back to read it. So gear up. Take it away Johnny. Its all you.

Wayne Borean (profile) says:

What's hateful about the truth?

I know artists who are making money now, who couldn’t under the old system. Some are giving music away, some aren’t. Some are using a combination system. Some are using The Pirate Bay as their major distribution mechanism.

This is their choice, not mine. I just follow what they do because I know them and like them.


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