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Chest Bumps to CBS, Who Does March Madness Right

Back in the early 90s, I was working as a manager for a record store in North Miami. To set the stage for all you youngins, this was before most people were using email. (Sorry for the tangent, but this is too good to pass up. Last week, my youngest daughter asked what the "wheel thing" on her door in our rental car was. The next five minutes were hysterical, as we explained that that was how you rolled down your window. Even more hysterical, she thought it was the coolest thing ever.)

Aaaaanyway, AOL was bringing email to the masses, and the question of the day wasn't, "Are you on Pinterest," but "are you on email." About this time, I started thinking that it would be cool if people could buy just the songs they wanted -- not just the 45s or single cassettes of the songs the record company decided to promote as singles, but deep cuts consumers liked -- and do it using a computer. It was the first thought I had about the digital distribution of music, and when I mentioned it to the higher ups at the record store, they thought, "This is why we don't give our young people decision-making authority." A search on the internet for Peaches Music and Video this morning turned up a Facebook group with seven likes but no activity. That's it.

As I talked more and more about digital distribution of music while a student at Belmont in the Music Business program, this image started to form in my mind of a guy in a suit standing on the beach with his hands in the air as a huge tidal wave roared toward him. Caption: Dude, you'd better learn to surf.

TV and video is much the same way even today. They're coming around, but it is agonizing to be a consumer these days as the big companies continue to devote too much time and energy to preventing illegal use and penalizing it instead of figuring out how to make it easy and legal for consumers to get what they demand and still financially rewarding for the content providers.

But you know who's surfing and surfing well? CBS, who is making it easy to watch every bit of March Madness either for free or so stinking cheap that it is actually a better option than pirating. Every game airing on CBS is available online for free, and any game airing on one of the Turner cable networks is available for free if you're a cable subscriber. If you don't have cable, you can still get every game online for $4. So chest bumps to them.

Games start at 12:15 today, so get those brackets ready. May you pick every game correctly, win $5M, and retire to a pristine tropical beach with WiFi and a guy in a suit hanging ten.

Bonus: Your picks are going to be wrong, you won't win $5M, and you're not retiring to the beach anytime soon for free, so here's a little something to make you feel better about being wrong.