Unique and creative underground electronic music loops and samples for modern producers.

The Point Blank Guide to Blockchain: The Future of the Industry?

In July, experimental musician TCF announced the news that he was becoming an advisor for an innovative new streaming platform, Resonate. Not surprising – streaming has triumphed over digital downloads as the way most people access music in 2016. But unlike, say, Spotify or Apple Music, Resonate bills itself as a cooperative, using pioneering technology – known as blockchain – to ensure independent artists receive fair compensation for their art. In a climate where Spotify is roundly derided for applying a subscription model that earns money for a handful of huge megastars and – most notably – their labels while giving independent artists next to nothing, Resonate offers an alternative. And when industry insiders continue to declare, in no uncertain terms, that streaming killing music, or creativity in music, an alternative is crucial.

But what is blockchain? In the simplest terms, blockchain records permanent and transparent string of transactions viewable and stored by everybody on the network. Chances are, your first encounter with blockchain technology – if you’ve heard about it at all – is through BitCoin. Remember that? This peer-to-peer cryptocurrency was championed a few years ago as an alternative to traditional money. Boundary-free (therefore not tied to exchange rates), secure, anonymous and decentralised, no single institution controlled the flow of BitCoin. It disrupted the idea that you needed an intermediary – a bank – in order to buy or sell. Free of the banks, free of inflation, jurisdictions, charges and other weaknesses inherent within traditional banking. Also, no more bankers. Easy.

It’s not hard to see why this could be read as a revolutionary force when applied to the music industry. It’s an area that has traditionally struggled to embrace new digital technology and when it has, it has often tried to merge pre- and post-digital models into a messy, knotted, fragmented system. Royalties earned via streaming, say, can take a long to work their way through the outmoded processes. Plus, if you’re an independent artist, the skewed maths of Spotify (just one example) are stacked against you. Blockchain offers a new way, with musicians having increased ownership of their music and the relationship between fan and artist streamlined and transparent.

Imogen Heap, who has cultivated a blockchain ‘fair trade’ project called Mycelia told City AM: “Blockchain is completely enabling us to rethink the basic, core structure of how monetary distribution works in the industry. It can be used to build a united platform and create an ecosystem, but most importantly builds innovation under the standards that make sense for artists.” Likewise, in this blog entry on Hypebot, Bas Grasmayer highlights three main areas where blockchain could be applied: metadata, rights and payments. Metadata, stored in the music file, would include who wrote the song, who played what instrument, who penned the lyrics, who created the artwork etc. Rights – who has rights to what and where – would benefit from the transparency offered by blockchain, and payments would be faster and again, traceable. A live prototype platform, Ujo, is experimenting with the idea of creating this networked database using Imogen Heap’s ‘Tiny Human’ song as a test. According to the Ujo website, “You can explore the ‘Tiny Human’ network, examine the policies associated with the track, see how payments are automatically distributed to the different contributors to the song and – if you have the cryptocurrency Ether – buy a download of the song and have your transaction recorded permanently on the blockchain.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 16.50.56Image © Ujo

The key idea here is transparency. The music industry’s lack of transparency has been thrown into sharp relief recently as songwriters have taken high profile actions against DSPs including Spotify, TIDAL and Rhapsody. “Spotify is addressing the issue by brokering a settlement with the NMPA, but this seems like a short-term fix to a bigger problem,” says Benji Rogers, chief strategy officer of Pledge Music in this Midem blog post. “With an industry that complains about how little it gets paid, we make it very difficult for users of our copyright to know exactly how to pay the correct people.”

As it is, if you want to use a song in an advert sync, it’s actually very hard to track down who owns it, who to contact and how to license it. Blockchain would create a database accessibly to everyone, updated across all copies at once and owned by the public. The data would include information about who and how to pay, and who to contact. Every time this is altered the change would be recorded and attributed and – crucially – approved by the correct parties before being locked into the system. “This won’t stop incorrect data being inputted in the system,” continues Rogers. “But creates a solution for how to resolve it.”

But there’s an added bonus for artists, producers, vocalist and remixers. Look at the below DAW sequence (nabbed from a super informative post of the Resonate blog by Peter Harris):


Image ©Resonate

We see five players listed, sequenced in different sections of the song. Harris asks you to imagine that the vocalist has allowed you to sell the full song to a TV or film, but doesn’t want her commercials being used in an advert. Or what if a DJ wants to only use the keyboard? If the band built rules into the blockchain, they could issue licences and deliver stems without the need to negotiate a deal. What, on the other hand, if they want to be notified when someone wants to use there work so they can make up their own mind dependent on the circumstances? That can be built in too. “Then think about the engineers, producers and mastering specialists who have been typically unaccounted for in these situations,” says Harris. “It becomes easy to imagine that everyone involved could finally be effortlessly compensated for their role in the creation of a particular piece of music.”

This piece also cites how blockchain would stop artists’ material ending up in places they never agreed to, like, say, the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of artists who are on Spotify without their knowledge. “Those artists likely sent their work to an aggregator like TuneCore to get into iTunes, unaware of some minor point in their terms and conditions that would allow them to place that content elsewhere. Imagine for a moment that embedded within music files was a smart contract that could run 24/7 sending out automated licensing, usage and payment agreements to hundreds of parties around the world”

But before we get too excited by this brave new and dizzyingly fair world, getting the industry to adopt the new model wholesale may take a little while. Ujo founder Phil Barry, who also worked on Thom Yorke’s BitTorrent-released Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes as a consultant on user experience, business model and media strategy doesn’t expect it to happen overnight. Talking to Billboard he said: “People have their own vested interests in keeping data private and all the existing systems are outdated and don’t match up. [But] if we wait for all the music publishers and all the collecting societies and everybody to organize themselves, sit around a table and reach an agreement about creating this central database we’ll be waiting until the end of the next century.”


Likewise, in the Hypebot piece, Bas Grasmayer warns that the main barrier to wholesale uptake across the industry is competing interests. “For instance, if you’ve invested a lot of money into marketing a sub-licensed work in a certain territory, you wouldn’t want everyone to be able to see when your right expires… because then you’ll have a lot of competitors who might try to secure those rights.” He also flags up privacy issues: “There’s a lot of interest in making payments transparent, so that it becomes clear how much a party like Spotify actually pays to certain labels, and what happens to that money along the chain to the creators. Creators are likely to have privacy concerns about having their income being public though.”

Despite these challenges, Phil Barry remains certain that, over time, the changes will be implemented, if only because the old models as they stand are unsustainable. “The music industry absolutely needs new revenue and business models, new ways of consuming music and simplify the way music is managed and licensed,” he told Billboard. Returning to Resonate, the streaming platform championed by TCF, its cooperative model and #fairmusicstreaming MO – built on blockchain technology – suggests a way forward that ensures independent artists can continue to earn money. That means advancing the careers of countless songwriters, performers, producers and other creatives, which, in turn, means our favourite artists can keep making music. Which means we can keep making music.

Sure, blockchain may still be in its infancy, but as more and more startups begin experimenting with its application, more alternative pathways will open up for the future of the music industry. Or, as Phil Barry says, “Just standing in the middle, collecting money, waiting a year, sending it on and taking 10 percent won’t work anymore. If anybody wants to build a new curation or streaming service, a negotiating service or other things that no one has imagined yet they can just build it on top of the blockchain. If it is a good model that benefits the creative community it will succeed, if not, it won’t.”

Do you want jump in and start shaping the future of the music industry. Point Blank offers the perfect foundation for tomorrow’s biggest artists and industry leaders. Our Music Business module, part of the  BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering degree, covers publishing, the international market, how to set up a business and even the history of the music industry. Plus, as it’s validated by Middlesex University, you won’t find a better way to immerse yourself in your passion for music.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plug-ins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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Dubspot Summer Sale: 30% off Courses in NYC, LA, and Online.

Do More Than Just Listen! Summer savings on all Dubspot Courses. 20% off for new students and 30% off for returning students. Sale ends Tuesday, August 9th at midnight. Enroll Today!


Do More Than Just Listen! Find your passion for creating music in our Music Foundations, Music Production, Mixing and Mastering, Sound Design, and DJ Programs. Join the world’s leading learning environment and community for musicians, DJs, producers, visual artists, audio professionals, and enthusiasts of all music genres. As a premier Music School for both aspiring and experienced artists alike, Dubspot’s mission is to inspire and enable students to achieve their creative goals. Classes are kept intimate in hands-on lab environments and are designed to teach you the powerful functionality of today’s leading music technology while guiding you through fundamental concepts to advance your skills and apply them creatively to develop your signature sound. Our talented tribe of musically diverse educators are more than talented musicians; they are mentors who are devoted to seeing students develop and grow as artists. Their collective experience in the music industry spans many fields, continents, and years. They are the heart of your Dubspot experience!

Contact Admissions today to learn more about our extensive course offerings and programs by calling 1.877.DUBSPOT.

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Upcoming Courses in NYC, LA, and Online


Find your Music Production or DJ Education at Dubspot and discover a learning experience that goes beyond software education. Our collection of carefully developed programs explore the core elements that inspire and shape the music you create. Whatever your interest, whatever your level of experience, we can help find the right class for you. Select a program that interests you to learn more about the curriculum and related courses.

Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

Six Levels | 48 Sessions

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original music, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 08 | New York
  • Aug 09 | New York
  • Aug 29 | New York
  • Aug 15 | Los Angeles
  • Aug 29 | Los Angeles
  • Aug 27 | Online


Logic Pro Producer Certificate Program

Six Levels | 48 Sessions

Master Logic Pro X with our complete program. You’ll get a comprehensive overview of the composition process in Logic and create a portfolio that includes a collection of original tracks, a remix entered in an active remix contest, a re-scored scene from a film, and sound effects and music for a video game. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 02 | New York
  • Oct 03 | New York
  • Oct 16 | Online


Sound Design Komplete Program

Six Levels | 48 Sessions

Become fluent in the language of sound design and synthesis with this comprehensive program. This six-level Sound Design program uses Native Instruments’ Komplete as a platform for learning synthesis and sampling techniques. Starting with an introduction to the properties of sound, this comprehensive series of courses covers the major techniques used for contemporary sound design. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 07 | New York
  • Sep 12 | New York
  • Sep 26 | New York
  • Oct 16 | Online


Mixing and Mastering Program

Three Levels | 24 Sessions

Transform rough ideas and basic compositions into dance floor bangers and sonically pleasing commercial quality masters. Learn the well-kept industry secrets of EQ, compression, panning, level balancing, reverb, and special effects. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Oct 17 | New York
  • Sep 13 | Los Angeles
  • Oct 16 | Online


Music Foundations Program

Three Levels | 24 Sessions

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the roots and lineage of a variety of electronic and dance music genres, strengthen their keyboard skills, and learn valuable music theory, deepening their creative practice and facilitating effective collaborations with musical partners. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Oct 20 | New York
  • Oct 31 | New York
  • Sep 13 | Los Angeles
  • Aug 07 | Online
  • Oct 02 | Online


DJ Extensive Program

Six Levels | 24 Sessions

Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing, from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch Pro. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 22 | New York
  • Aug 28 | New York
  • Sep 08 | New York


DJing with Traktor Program

Three Levels

Starting with a historical overview, students will learn the fundamental concepts of DJing via Traktor’s intuitive interface. They will then delve into the vast array of possibilities offered by this groundbreaking software, presenting their work along the way. Students will leave with finished DJ mixes, a thorough understanding of DJing with Traktor, and a solid skill set ready for further development. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 07| Online
  • Oct 02 | Online


Maschine Program

Three Levels | 12 Sessions

The future of production is here. Native Instruments’ Maschine redefines the intersection of hardware and software, performance and production. With Dubspot’s Maschine program for producers and performers, you’ll go from shaking hands with this cutting-edge music platform to making full tracks and performing your music live. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Sep 12 | New York
  • Oct 16 | Online


Turntablism Extensive Program

Six Levels | 24 Sessions

Turntablism is the art of manipulating turntables like an instrument. Starting with the fundamentals of “Scratching” and “Beat Juggling,” the program will focus on proper technique, optimal practice habits, creative exploration, group work, applications, and eventually full-blown turntablist sets. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Sep 28 | New York


Visual Performance Program

Two Levels | 16 Sessions

Learn how to use a toolkit of the latest software including Vidvox VDMX and Quartz Composer. Create your own performance setup for live shows. Learn from a variety of visualists and producers who are pushing the medium in new and unexpected directions. Read more

Upcoming Start Dates

  • Aug 15 | New York


Open House in NYC: Sundays 11am | Guided Tour of LA

Ask questions. Watch demos. Test drive workstations.

Visit our New York and Los Angeles locations! Ask our Admissions Counselors in-depth questions about our programs, curriculum and philosophy. Watch live music production and DJ demos, and test drive our student workstations. If you are still trying to decide what you are looking for, stop by one of our Open Houses in NYC or schedule a tour in LA to find out more about the learning process at Dubspot. We can also help with scheduling details and payment options.

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Perfect Your Vocals with Pitch Edit


Perfect Your Vocals with Pitch Edit

Often times perfect vocal takes aren’t captured, so much as they’re crafted. The exactitude in modern recording technology from pitch perfect synths to quantized MIDI sequences has placed responsibilities on vocalists and producers to match that meticulous level of precision in their audio tracks as well. Now, thanks to Pitch Edit mode in Reason 9 meticulous doesn’t have to mean tedious or difficult. In a special Reason 9 tutorial, we’ll walk you through the basic process of taking a vocal by our own in-house resident untrained singer, Ryan, and getting his potential up to match the rest of the song.

Throughout this tutorial you’ll get a basic walkthrough of Pitch Edit, its various workflows, and how to take the techniques you learn here and apply them to your own music, creativity, and advanced experimentation if you want to dive deep.

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Christmas Offer: 20% Discount On Los Angeles Courses Until Jan 9th – Save up to $3,000

If you’ve been dreaming about a career in the music industry, we’ve got good news. We’re offering a huge discount off all Point Blank Los Angeles courses over the festive period until January 9th! Enrol now and you could save up to $3,000, including our new, flagship Music Production & Sound Design Advanced Diploma. Based out of Mack Sennett Studios in Silverlake, Point Blank offers unparalleled immersive and practical education across all areas of music production and sound engineering – so what are you waiting for? To get your discount, just enter XMAS20 when you enrol.

silverlakeIf you’re serious about a career in the music industry, there’s no better place to be right now than Los Angeles. Currently the centre of America’s electronic music renaissance, you’ll be ideally placed to seize the opportunities that being in the thick of it affords

The Music Production & Sound Design Advanced Diploma is supported by Pioneer and developed by industry professionals who have worked with Pharrell Williams, Richie Hawtin, Goldie and more. It offers a comprehensive practical guide to the creative process of writing, recording, mixing and mastering your own music whilst discovering how the music industry works. You can check out our full range of LA Courses here and remember, if you want to study at Point Blank Los Angeles but work full-time or have other commitments during the day, we are now pleased to offer classes for our LA Certificate and Award courses during the evening.

Mr Carmack PBLA classroom

For further information on our degree course or any of our courses, contact our Course Advisors here or call 0207 729 488 or, if you’re in the USA, give us a call on 323 282 7660. If you’re calling internationally, use the number +44 20 7729 4884. Want to see firsthand the amazing facilities offered by Point Blank? You can book a space on one of our studio tours by heading here.

Every production station at PBLA comes with NI’s Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboard, Ableton Push, AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Headphones and Maschine plus more – and you now have the option to study in the evening while saving a huge 20%!

Want to get a taste of what it’s like to study at PBLA? Our virtual tour provides a taste of the state-of-the-art gear that you’ll be learning on and the unique, creative environment that we offer at our Mack Sennett Studio base. Take a look around now.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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Dubspot LA EDU Sessions: Remixing w/ Ableton Live

Dubspot Instructor Mika aka Son of Kick hosts this music production workshop focused on creating remixes and edits in Ableton Live at Dubspot Los Angeles Friday, August 19th.


Dubspot LA EDU Sessions:
Remixing w/ Ableton Live

Mika aka Son of Kick

Friday, August 19th, 2016
4:00pm – 6:00pm PST

Dubspot LA
6605 Hollywood Blvd #110
Los Angeles, CA

Dubspot Instructor Mika aka Son of Kick hosts this music production workshop focused on creating remixes and edits in Ableton Live. Mika will explain his workflow for deconstructing original tracks into remixes that play well in DJ sets. Techniques include chopping samples in various ways, working with acapellas, and creating a mixed down final arrangement thats club-ready.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Space is limited, please arrive early to sign in.


About Mika Abadie

Known to the world as Son Of Kick and Born Dirty. With releases on Buygore, Smog, Nest HQ, Dirtybird, Dim Mak, and Night Bass to name a few, Mika has been busy making bass music left, right, center, and through the whole spectrum of it. He has collaborated with Lady Leshurr, Foreign Beggars, and others. Mika is also Manager to Kid Sister, Linden Jay, and others as well as tour support for the likes of Bassnectar and 12th Planet to name a few. Along with shows around the world, Mika is always on the rise and on the move.

Connect with S.O.K. on Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud


Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

At Dubspot our world-class instructors provide the most complete and cutting-edge Ableton Live learning experience. The Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program is the flagship of our music training. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original tracks, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

About This Program

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full-length tracks. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.

What’s Included

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Beats, Sketches, and Ideas
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Analyze, Deconstruct, Recompose, and Assemble
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Synthesis and Original Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Advanced Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Effect Processing
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Going Global with your Music

Additional Information

Visit the Ableton Live course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


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Club Recommendations: August 2016 (Midland, DJ Sprinkles, Powell + More)

Welcome to Point Blank’s monthly club recommendations column, where we trawl the listings to bring you the essential events taking place in London and Los Angeles. As we roll into August,  London waves goodbye to a Dalston institution (seriously, can someone stop shutting down our clubs), but don’t mourn too long, there’s still plenty of unmissable parties keeping the capital vital. Across the pond, August gets a little weird with the arrival of the third edition of Beserktown along with something to keep the techno purists happy. Make a note in those iCals now.

For those of you dreaming of seeing yourself included here, heading up the next big summer festival or slaying clubs around the world, you can find out about our range of courses in LondonLA and online to kickstart your journey.

FWD with Midland, Skream, Artwork – Thursday 4th August – Dance Tunnel


August sees the brilliant Dalston venue Dance Tunnel shuttered for good, yet another casualty of London’s escalating rents and redevelopment. You could stick a pin in any of their final blowouts this month and have a ball – and advance tickets are long since sold out – but we like the look this, the last ever FWD (well, at Dance Tunnel at least). Midland joins forces with old hands Skream and Artwork, promising a messy Thursday all round. Prepare to queue for tickets on the door and whatever you do, don’t forget to book Friday off work. Tickets over here.

Xoyo 4th Birthday with Novelist, Kahn & Neek, AJ Tracey – Thursday 18th August – Xoyo


In spite of the difficult nightlife climate in London, Xoyo has managed to make it to four – and that’s worth celebrating, no? Who better to lead the festivities than grime label Bandulu Records? Pushing a spare, idiosyncratic take on the genre out of their Bristol base, they’ve recruited rising star of grime’s new generation – and Lewisham’s favourite son – Novelist to head up the night. MC AJ Tracey and label heads Kahn & Neek offer top tier support, too. Buy tickets.

Make Me with DJ Sprinkles, Tessela, Shanti Celeste – Saturday 6th August – Corsica Studios

Terre Thaemlitz

Activist, computer musician and deep house producer Terre Thaemlitz aka DJ Sprinkles returns to the capital for the always-excellently curated Make Me party at Corsica. A crucial voice within electronic music, Thaemlitz’s thoughts and writings on gender and the commercialisation of house find amplification through her own productions which cleave to the model that true dance music is, at its heart, a political artform. She’s joined by Idle Hands’ Shanti Celeste and Tessela who’s own mutations of 21st century house make this party unmissable. Details here.

Prototype 038: Droid Prime with DVS-1, Nick Höppner – Saturday 6th August – Lot 613 [Los Angeles]


A Berghain/Panoramabar double-hander comes to Lot 613 this August as DVS-1 and Nick Höppner showcase their different perspectives on uncompromising techno. US-born DVS-1 is best known for his strident techno sets, alongside some impressive releases on Ben Klock’s Klockworks, Transmat and HUSH. On the other hand, Berlin’s Höppner – the former Ostgut Ton label manager and driving force – has always experimented with emotive melody, recently given free rein to his lighter side with a collab EP, Fantastic Planet, alongside Japan’s Gonno. If techno’s your thing, you’ll be here. More info.

Powell at Beserktown Festival – Friday 12th August – TBA


Powell’s Diagonal Records hits the US trail to mark their fifth anniversary, stopping off at “LA’s weirdest festival” Beserktown on the way. It makes sense, Powell is hardly one to shy away from the mutated and strange, and this weekend event also boasts the likes of Container, Psychic TV and Inga Copeland on their sprawling bill. He headlines the Friday night at the Telegram Ballroom and you can be sure he’ll nail the tone. More info here.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of plugins, free sounds, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Club Recommendations: August 2016 (Midland, DJ Sprinkles, Powell + More) appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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