Byrne’s piece is a little better than most, though it includes a few items like the Cavuto Mark-modified claim that streaming services are “simply a legalised version of file-sharing sites such as Napster and Pirate Bay,” along with obligatory chivalry (“up-and-coming artists don’t have that advantage” etc). It certainly comes across better than misleading jeremiads like David Lowery’s, anyway.
He comes at the subject from an egocentric point of view, though. (Maybe that’s an occupational hazard from spending lots of time in a spotlight.) Byrne gives the strong impression that he expects people to experience music only in David Byrne-approved ways. For instance:
I can understand how having a place where people can listen to your work when they are told or read about it is helpful, but surely a lot of places already do that? I manage to check stuff out without using these services.
Sure there are other ways to listen to music. But maybe not everyone prefers, say, going to the Bandcamp page the way Byrne does. Maybe they’ve decided that, for whatever reason, they like streaming services better.
Similarly, he expects people to hear music the same way he does:
the actual moment of discovery in most cases happens at the moment when someone else tells you about an artist or you read about them – not when you’re on the streaming service listening to what you have read about
Actually, no! Or rather, not always. I listen to all kinds of new music every week - at least twenty artists I’ve never heard before, typically more - and my moment of discovery for a song is usually somewhere between the third and fifth listen. At some point there I think, hey this is pretty good! And while I do that with downloaded MP3 files (through sites like this, this and this for example), that process has been used for decades to promote music discovery via radio.
Critics of streaming commonly compare it to music sales, not music listening. Byrne: “why would you ever buy a CD or pay for a download when you can stream your favourite albums and artists either for free, or for a nominal monthly charge?” He quotes Patrick Carney of the Black Keys saying streaming royalties are “not at a point yet to be feasible for us.” Zoë Keating: “millions and millions of streams needed to makeup for sales are not ever going to be a reality for non-mainstream music.” The New York Times: “For those whose income depends on royalties, the biggest concern has been whether streaming cannibalizes CD and download sales by offering a cheap or free alternative.”
But as Tim Worstall notes, “Spotify isn’t the physical sale of something at all, is it? It’s the one time presentation of a piece of music: it’s much more akin to radio play than it is to album sales.” Streaming services ought to pay out at comparable rates to radio, and what do you know - it turns out they do. (Be sure to read Worstall’s hilarious take on Thom Yorke’s reverse ferret, too.) Has any artist ever made a living from radio royalties?
Now, it may well be that radio is screwing over artists - there’s plenty of evidence - but that’s a fight between artists and the labels. It’s hardly a new fight, and streaming services are peripheral to it. Or: fix the situation with the labels and the streaming services will follow.1
I can understand why artists like Byrne - those that enjoyed a certain amount of commercial success in the past but haven’t had any big hits in many years - would dislike streaming services. Like radio they cater to casual listeners, but unlike radio they play on demand. If you have a notion to hear a song from back in the day, you don’t need to call the local oldies station, request it and hope they play it. You just fire it up. You don’t need to buy the MP3 of the song you have a once-a-decade itch to hear. For those whose best hope of making money in the music industry is collecting off their back catalog, that’s damn near the apocalypse.
Here’s the thing though. If you shut down the streaming services, how many people are going to be so mad to hear Burning Down the House or Low one more time that they buy it? They’ll just live without hearing it or call the oldies station. It’s not the staff of life, for God’s sake.
Streaming services promote discovery. To his credit, Byrne wrestles with that in his article. But while he comes right up to the key point (turning interest into sales), he doesn’t seem to understand how that process works from a fan’s perspective.
I’ve always been a big music fan, but for about ten years (roughly 1997-2007) I didn’t listen to much at all. Between the increase in talk shows and tiny playlists I’d given up on radio, and contra Byrne I wasn’t interested in going off taste makers’ recommendations. Then I started checking out the (dearly departed) song of the day at Salon.com, burning David Marchese’s picks to a rewritable CD, and listening to them in the car. From there I began discovering other free MP3 sites, and before long I was listening to more music than I ever had in my life.
None of that would have been possible without the free part, though. Music discovery through actual listening only happens when the tunes are free or nominally priced. Twenty songs a week adds up to over a thousand dollars a year, and that’s a mighty expensive habit. Especially when most of it isn’t that good. And in any event, you don’t want to keep the stuff you don’t like - it just becomes clutter.
That’s why streaming makes so much sense for discovery. You don’t end up with a bunch of crap you’re not interested in. You only buy (and keep) the stuff you dig. And that is the answer to Byrne’s question of why you would buy a CD or pay for a download. I don’t pay for 95% of the music I listen to, maybe more. But through that process I’ve gotten turned on to lots of music that I do pay for. I’ve bought tickets to see Bleeding Rainbow, helped fund the Kickstarter for Holly Conlan’s new CD (I now have it before its official release next Tuesday) and ordered Novella’s new cassette/EP (check out Mary’s Gun!) - and that’s just in the last month.
None of that would have happened if I hadn’t been able to listen to lots and lots of music for free at first. That’s the same opportunity streaming services offer. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the most important ways to make money on music is to give it away. It might not be the most lucrative option for those like David Byrne, Thom Yorke and David Lowery, but for those not so happily situated - those who haven’t already made a name for themselves - it may seem a little like their more famous peers are trying to pull up the ladder behind them. Kill discovery and you make it substantially more difficult for audiences to find new artists.
David Macias, president of Nashville independent record label Thirty Tigers, worried that the trend of agreements between broadcast companies and record labels could have a chilling effect on independent music if the radio stations are more inclined to play songs produced by labels with which they have business deals.And you know what? Streaming services and free MP3 sites could actually be substantial check against that kind of activity.
On Saturday Yves Smith kicked off her annual fundraiser for Naked Capitalism (NC). If you aren’t familiar with NC, there are few sites like it - ones that go against the prevailing currents of Internet convention.
Fifteen years ago just having such a site was an accomplishment. As more people discovered these sites and the software for it became easier to use, bloggers like digby and Atrios showed up - and began providing sharp analysis from a perspective that was almost entirely absent from traditional media outlets. Many similar ones followed; then something of a turning point arrived around 2006.
It became basically impossible to distinguish a site on commentary alone. A liberal one, for instance, could only say “Bush sucks” so many different ways. A handful of bloggers like Atrios and digby continued to stand out, but for the most part blogs were confronted by a very hard question: What else ya got?
One of the really exciting possibilities at the time was a crowd sourced data point model. Joshua Marshall at Talking Points Memo (TPM) broke a huge story using it. TPM’s readers started sending in stories from local papers of US attorneys being fired. Marshall used his site as a clearinghouse, kept on it in the face of dismissal and derision from media gatekeepers, and ended up being vindicated as the firings became a major scandal for the Bush administration.
For whatever reason, Marshall chose not to pursue an investigative model. Like many he went instead with something more like aggregation. Aimai had these thoughts on where Marshall has taken TPM in recent years:
he has no interest in putting in the time, energy, or thought to actually reporting anything novel. The entire format of the front page and of his editor’s viewpoint is clickbait….If he is content to run an endless stream of one sentence clips from speeches, or to repurpose this morning’s post with a new picture and a slightly sexier headline in the afternoon, who am I to criticize? But, at the same time, there is something truly destructive about this approach. For years we’ve all criticized the NYT and CNN and other major media players for failing to give their readers enough historic background and context to understand the significance of the events they are covering. This is even more the case with TPM. The short, clippy, format they have chosen to cover, for example, the shutdown or the debt ceiling fight is trivializing and highly deceptive.
Other sites changed to reflect a new political landscape. In 2008 liberal ones had to confront going from uniform opposition to the Bush administration to figuring out how to approach the new Democratic one. Many almost completely aligned with it, and Smith describes one consequence of that:
For instance, a politically progressive blogger we’ve quoted finally got fed up and started posting pieces critical of Obama. That site went on a defacto blacklist. Traffic fell over 80% almost immediately.
Of course, on the right there was the reverse dynamic: sites that had been fanatically pro-Bush became virulently anti-Obama. A lot of sites just went away entirely. (Keeping a blog active year after year is hard!) There were - and are - precious few that maintained anything like a policy-based critique. NC is one of them, though. Smith and her colleagues have consistently offered political and economic analysis based on what they consider best - not who they like best.
In addition to that kind of independent thinking, Smith and company have answered “what else ya got?” with deep dives into source material. See her post for details, but after outlining some of those efforts she notes, “original reporting is much more exacting and time-consuming than commentary and analysis.” Donations to NC go towards making her particular brand of economic reporting possible. And make no mistake about it, the reporting Smith does - readable narratives of complex economic issues from a power-adversarial stance - is done just about nowhere else. There’s her, Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, freelancer Dave Dayen, and….who else exactly?
Finally, donating encourages alternatives. One of my blogging refrains is: We are the media. I originally thought the best outcome for bloggers was leveraging their online popularity into perches at more visible outlets. I no longer believe that. I don’t think it’s any use to storm the ramparts. Going to a news division that’s a line item on a multinational’s spreadsheet inevitably - and I mean that quite literally - compromises the vision of those who manage to get elevated there.
What we need instead is to create our own media infrastructure that works our own way. Instead of a handful of big operations, an archipelago of smaller ones. Lots of people knowing lots of other people. NC is one of the bigger islands on that map, and your donation encourages that model. As Smith writes, keeping her site up and running is a lot of work:
Have you noticed how the only media appearances we’ve done are Bill Moyers and Harry Shearer’s Le Show? We’ve turned down all other requests due to being chronically overloaded (this may seem misguided unless you realize that the alternative is physical breakdown).
So help lighten the load and donate via WePay, or see the fundraiser post for other ways. In depth analysis, unique original reporting and alternatives to traditional media outlets don’t just happen. They need support, yours in particular.
On Saturday, October 12th there will be a concert at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky to raise money to help fight mountaintop removal coal mining. Details on the Music for the Mountains 2 concert and its accompanying compilation album are here. It is supported by Ohio Citizen Action (OCA) and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC), and I spoke with OCA’s Melissa English earlier in the week to find out more.
Dan: Tell me about Music For the Mountains.
Melissa: Music For the Mountains started several years ago when Mark Utley, who is a personal friend and also in a band with me called Magnolia Mountain, thought that he may want to try his hand at doing a benefit event. And he wanted to do it on the specifically on the subject of mountaintop removal coal mining because he had recently become acquainted with it. And the more he read, the more he dug into it, the angrier he became, the more frustrated he became, the more outraged he became, and the more he wanted to turn all that energy into something positive. This is what he did with it.
D: And is he a member of a group or does he run a group, or did he just do this as an individual?
M: He did this as an individual. He looked at what his own personal resources were, and he wasn’t made of money. So he couldn’t make a big, fat contribution to a group that was fighting mountaintop removal coal mining. But he was a musician, and he knew a lot of other musicians, a lot of musicians from Kentucky and other areas where mountaintop removal is happening. And he decided to use those resources collectively to make a difference. Which is what Ohio Citizen Action and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth do as well.
D: How did Ohio Citizen Action and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth get involved from the start of an individual project?
M: We are the two organizations closest to Cincinnati that work on mountaintop removal coal mining. So we were the natural beneficiaries of his efforts.
D: So from having known Mark personally and also being a member of Ohio Citizen Action, then, that is how your groups came to be involved?
D: OK. And this is going to be the second one, correct?
M: Well, it’s the second one Mark’s done. Before Mark got involved I did one, I think it was back in 2009. It was on a much smaller scale because Mark, God bless him, he’s basically done this as a volunteer. But he’s made it his part time/full time job, and he’s been able to put a lot more time and effort into it and make it way grander. So technically it’s the third one, but it’s the second one he’s done. I’m not quibbling, I’m just grateful he’s doing it.
D: And it’s the second one consecutively, there was a gap for a few years, right?
M: Right, well there was the 2009 one I did, and then he did one in 2011 and then there was the gap, and now we’re doing another one.
D: OK. And how does Ohio Citizen Action and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth tie in to this year’s edition?
M: We’re both going to have tables at the event and we’re both helping to put the event on. We’ve helped to put together the group of speakers who are going to come and offer testimony about life in Appalachia under the thumb of Big Coal, and also of course helping to get the word out about it.
D: There’s going to be tables there? Is that during the concert? Is there going to be a program before and then the concert? Or is it going to be while the concert is going on, you’ll have your information and your tables available?
M: My understanding is, and I could be wrong about this, is that we’re going to have the tables set up in the big room. This is what we did the last time. Of course it’s a different big room so I don’t know if we’re going to be doing it exactly the same. The information tables for both groups and also Greenpeace, which is helping with the event, will be set up in the big room. And actually to kick off the entire event we are going to be doing a thirty minute screening of the new film from Mari Lynn Evans called Blood on the Mountain. She’s done lots of excellent documentaries about Appalachia, Appalachian people, coal, mountaintop removal coal mining. And so she’s going to be screening a little bit of her film, and then we’re going to have a little discussion. And that I believe is going to happen in the lounge. So that’s not going to be happening in the big room. But then there’s going to be an opportunity during the night on each of the three stages for speakers to come up and do a few minutes. Like I said, to offer testimony and to share some information about the groups and the issue.
D: Does either group have any sort of legislative agenda on mountaintop removal? Or is there any other way the group is working in a way to either get activists involved on a local or state level on this issue?
M: Well Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is actually - and again, you might want to talk to somebody there, and I can put you in touch [UPDATE: Joe Gallenstein of KFTC responded to my inquiry with this and this among others] - is working on I believe at least one statewide bill and also a federal bill. What we’re doing now is more public awareness and working on the demand side to reduce Ohio’s dependence on mountaintop removal coal. One of the things about Ohio Citizen Action is that we are a canvas-based organization. So we send individuals out into communities knocking on doors. And also we have a phone canvas to educate our members about the issues on which we’re working and makes them aware of different opportunities to make a difference.
D: Are there any other sites or any other resources you’d like to direct people to if they’d like more information on mountaintop removal in general or about the concert coming up in a couple weeks in particular?
M: Well, ILoveMountains.org is a great one, and both Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and our web site have additional resources where you can learn way more than you would ever want to know. And I would encourage people to go to their libraries too. There have been some fantastic books, some of them just pictorial. And what a very impactful story you can get just from looking at pictures of these sites, especially over time. How they’ve been degraded and moon-ified if you want to call it that. It looks like a moon landscape when the miners are done. Many fine books have been written on the subject.
D: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
M: No, I just hope people enjoy themselves. We want to provide a good mix of education and entertainment. We don’t want to bring people down because a horrible practice that is devastating - people need to know that - but this is a celebration. We hope people can take away a little bit of the message but remember having a great time and helping out a great cause.
For a taste of the music next weekend, here is Mister Peabody Struck Again by Wonky Tonk.
A couple of weeks ago, Yves Smith’s link roundup included a McClatchy piece about consumers dropping cable TV. She remarked: “Trust me, when you seem more consumers ditching cable, you’ll see the pipeline providers start charging based on how much you download a month.” Caps really aren’t necessary, though; connections are already capped by speed. You can’t download any more than the connection will allow. Consumers should be able to buy a connection at a set price, and the ISP should charge for it based on how much data it could transmit. Charge more for faster speeds, less for slower ones.
The big providers don’t want to do that, though, so instead they are trying to figure out ways to charge customers more for what they already pay for. And the amounts they are charging are exorbitant. For instance, Verizon Wireless’ HomeFusion service has a top tier of $120 a month for 30 GB, with a $10 charge for every gigabyte over that. Since, as the article notes, Netflix can take up to 700 MB for an hour of streaming, that cap will get blown through pretty quickly. And it’s completely inadequate for the next generation of video: you can forget about streaming a movie that takes 45 to 60 GB.
That’s not all of the bad news, either. Internet connections have traditionally worked like this: Select your package, pay for it, use it for what you want. That’s what you do with your ISP. That’s what Google does too. Everyone pays to get on. But now there’s an emerging talking point that web sites (for some reason called “edge providers” in a bit of unhelpfully obscure tech lingo) are somehow not paying to get on. Verizon is before the FCC right now arguing that prices are higher because edge providers - which, remember, already pay to get on the Internet - do not also pay to get off. In other words, when you use your Verizon connection to watch a YouTube video, YouTube is also somehow bundled in as a Verizon customer.
The reason they are doing this is because they want to do away with net neutrality. If lots of their customers are getting data from site A then site A is a problem. If only they didn’t have to connect their customers to it, or maybe if they could charge the site a premium! And that’s where usage based broadband pricing comes in. If Verizon succeeds against the FCC and net neutrality is gutted, web site owners face the prospect of being charged extra by providers for the privilege of delivering content to customers.
We are already seeing a version of that as providers make deals to serve certain content free of data cap usage. And when you’re on a plan that has a 30 GB per month cap with $1 for every GB over, that’s a pretty big deal. It begins to make sense to confine yourself to those sites that your ISP doesn’t count against your cap just to make sure you don’t accidentally blow through it. Of course, some take a more sanguine view:
The critics’ real worry, then, is that ESPN, by virtue of its size, could gain an advantage on some other sports content provider who chose not to offer a similar uncapped service. But is this government’s role - the micromanagement of prices, products, the structure of markets, and relationships among competitive and cooperative firms?
It’s a mighty expansive view of micromanagement that encompasses preventing monopolistic behavior and collusion of market leaders. Herding customers into walled gardens by forcing surcharges on unfavored sites and privileging others does not strike me as a victory for consumers - in fact, it is exactly the kind of circumstance an effective government regulator should take a very close interest in.
It’s also worth noting the industry’s apparent preference for wireless rollouts over wired ones in light of the more stringent net neutrality requirements for the latter. Verizon gave up on its wired FIOS service, and it isn’t hard to imagine the company breathing new life into it should the FCC case go its way.
One of the few promising alternatives to this is municipal broadband, which has only happened in a few places. North Carolina passed an industry-friendly law crippling such efforts. On the other hand, Chattanooga has rolled out a system that runs up to 100 Mbps - compare that to HomeFusion’s 5 to 12. For those looking for a way out of the capped and cornered Internet experience big providers have planned, a municipal broadband initiative might just be the ticket.
There is one other possibility, though I admit it’s a little outlandish: We could demand the service we have already paid for. Way back when we were first hearing about the Information Superhighway, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed. It provided all kinds of breaks, money, and incentives for phone companies to build out infrastructure. It sure sounded great: “All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contracted with their local telecommunication utilities for the build-out of fiber and hybrid fiber-coax networks intended to bring bidirectional digital video service to millions of homes by the year 2000.” And we’d be cruising along at 45 Mbps. What happened?
Over the decade from 1994-2004 the major telephone companies profited from higher phone rates paid by all of us, accelerated depreciation on their networks, and direct tax credits an average of $2,000 per subscriber for which the companies delivered precisely nothing in terms of service to customers. That’s $200 billion with nothing to be shown for it.
Bruce Kushnick has a much, much longer treatment (PDF) of the subject. One thing he points out is that the 45 Mbps promise may have been illusory all along (emph. in orig.)
How do we know this? Well, Verizon, of course, is one source. Verizon’s May 19, 2004 press release states emphatically that Verizon was only now, in 2004, doing fiber optic “field trials”.Although the use of fiber optic technology is common throughout the telecom industry, Verizon is the first company to begin using it to directly connect homes and businesses to the network on a widespread scale… FTTP is moving from field trials and the lab to the real world.The fact that Verizon’s fiber optic project, (FIOS), as of January 2006 still couldn’t deliver video services, now called IPTV, should make everyone consider this a case of fraud, and not simply market forces that caused Verizon to offer fiber-based services, only a decade late.
Whatever the reason, what we got was a lot less thrilling than what we were promised. Having failed to deliver on their earlier promises, it would be nice if they would at least stop trying to obstruct public entities trying to route around them. Because at the moment, an Internet provided by these companies doesn’t seem like much of an Internet at all.
This post argues football may be about to experience a long, slow decline in popularity. First, two disclosures about why I may be predisposed to believing this - and one very important point of emphasis. Disclosures: 1) I am a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, and since they returned to the NFL in 1999 they have been hopeless and embarrassing (one fluke playoff season excepted). Watching year after year of lousy football is enough to make anyone question his interest in the sport. 2) The Browns owner has a big financial stake in fracking, and I find it hard to cheer for a team whose success will benefit someone visiting environmental hazard on his fan base.
The point of emphasis is this, and I’M PUTTING IT IN BOLD CAPS BECAUSE I CAN ALREADY SEE PEOPLE MISSING IT: The decline in interest will be among casual fans, not hard core ones. Those who played in high school, go to fan sites throughout the day, listen to sports talk radio, obsess over their fantasy teams, etc. will continue to be big fans. My argument concerns not those people, but the ones on the margins.
The main reason I think football will start becoming less popular is because of the increasing awareness of the long term damage it can inflict. A sport that society decides is too violent cannot be a national pastime. It can still be very popular and profitable, just unable create cultural moments.
Consider boxing: In the early decades of the 20th century it was arguably the most popular sport in America, rivaled only by baseball. Look at the accounts of matches like 1927’s Tunney vs. Dempsey match or 1938’s Louis vs. Schmeling - they brought in huge numbers of spectators and money, and transfixed the nation. Even through Muhammad Ali’s prime - through, say, 1975’s Thrilla in Manila - a boxing match could still be at the center the country’s of attention. After that, though, boxing drifted from center stage.
Even the sport’s aficionados admit as much. Seeing the toll it took on Ali may have turned some off the sport. Or perhaps an even more dramatic event did: In 1982 I enthusiastically watched what turned out to be a man getting beaten to death. I lost my taste for the sport at that point and haven’t watched a match since; I suspect I wasn’t the only one.
While there haven’t been any on-field deaths in the NFL (though stories like this are not unheard of) (SEE UPDATE), the long term damage the sport can inflict is becoming much better understood. Statistics aside, it’s hard to miss the poignancy of the suicides of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau - or not think of some unflattering company they put the NFL in. The more that information like that gets diffused through the culture, the more casual fans will lose their attachment to it. As with boxing.
There are other issues as well. One is the slow migration of the game off of free airwaves, though this is not happening as much at the pro level. I just began my first football season since the 80s without cable TV, and have been surprised at just how much of the college game has migrated there. It used to be that starting at noon Saturday there was a pretty full slate of games to choose from on the networks. That’s down to a smaller division regional game at noon, and maybe a single big conference matchup. Later in the afternoon there’s usually a couple better games on, but nothing like the abundance there used to be. Even their postseason games - all the way to the championship game itself - have moved behind the cable paywall.
That may well be the more profitable move, but it’s also the move of a niche player - not a universal one. If you’ve got your base locked in and little prospect of drawing in anyone beyond that, then squeeze the die hards for as much as you can. Again, think boxing: the biggest fights are on pay per view. The more that dynamic plays out in football, the more the sport goes to the periphery of American life. Again, that’s more a college football phenomenon than an NFL one, though the latter has begun putting more of its games on cable as well.
Finally, there are two changes independent of the sport. The first is the decline of daily newspapers. Sports sections give casual fans a way to interact with their teams. For a sport that has only one game per week, sustaining interest is a pretty big deal. Getting a daily fix from the paper is a great way to do that. Yes, these papers still have online operations, but people browse the Internet differently than they read newspapers. For one, newspapers are self-contained. You can’t click on a few related hyperlinks end up God knows where. Instead, you read the paper until you’re done with it - and usually in an orderly fashion. Start with one section, read the next one, and so on. That gives readers a much better chance of getting even a passing look at sports news. Eliminate that and there’s one less way to keep in touch.
The other change is with the next generation of potential fans: they live in an on-demand world, and they’ve come to like it. I’ve seen it first hand with my own children. Instead of watching series when they air, they watch whole seasons of other shows on video services, or play video games. Neither of those makes you wait around for airtime. And no, this is not the place in the post where I start complaining about Kids These Days. The technology was put in front of them; they got used to it and have come to prefer it. If I was a kid now I’d probably be doing the same thing.
But those expectations are death on an industry that asks its fans to wait until kickoff and watch games in real time. If today’s young people can’t be sold on that, the football audience is almost guaranteed to be much smaller twenty years from now. Because at that point we’re not talking about loving it or hating it, about any moral or political implications to the sport. At that point we’re talking about indifference. Football can overcome a lot of bad publicity, but a generational shrug of the shoulders will permanently diminish it.
None of that is guaranteed to happen, of course. Football might continue for many decades as the most popular sport in America. But I think most people take that popularity for granted, to the point of not even being able to imagine it not being the case. A popular sport can slowly recede from the popular imagination, though. Growing awareness of the violence of football, its migration off free TV, the erosion of a key channel for keeping people connected to it, and the generational change in entertainment choices all might combine to gradually sap its popularity over a period of years.
And if that happens - if football leaves the spotlight and goes from being one of the lead actors in American cultural life to a walk on role - that’s when the Browns will finally win a Super Bowl.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter JWL for mentioning the death of Detroit receiver Chuck Hughes. Posts on his death here and here. This video appears to be some kind of official highlight reel of the game, though it doesn’t say the source. Note that in a nearly four minute clip, Hughes’ death is relegated to a ten second footnote at the end.