ArsTechnica.com is reporting that music labels and radio broadcasters are in hopes to convince Congress to mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones and other portable devices. While it would provide consumers more music choices, the push is more of a bargaining tool between broadcasters and label, who have been battling over the Performance Rights Act. If the mandate goes through, radio would agree to pay around $100 million a year, but in return it would get access to a larger market through these mandated chips in phones.
While radio and labels finally seem to be on good terms, the Consumer Electronics Association is opposed to this. CEA president Gary Shapiro states the following:
“The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity… Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”
Whether such legislation will be sought out by broadcaster unions and labels is still not finalized, but both sides are showing extreme interest. Whether it does happen or not, I can’t help but somewhat agree with Shapiro. With the digital marketplaces’ power in music, will mandated FM receiver chips really make a difference?