Two music industry pillars, the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Association of Broadcasters, have teamed up in hopes of convincing Congress to mandate that all portable electronic devices, from iPods to cell phones to PDAs, have FM radio receivers built into them, Ars Technica reports.
The proposal - which the Consumer Electronics Association, the group representing the companies that would eventually be forced to add FM to their devices, strongly opposes - could come before lawmakers before the end of the year. "The backroom scheme to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity," said CEA president Gary Shapiro. But the rule could be a boon for radio companies and record labels: It would give radio stations, which have lost significant numbers of listeners, a much larger marketplace, which would in turn boost awareness of the record industry's artists. The RIAA and NAB have been arguing over performance-rights fees for years - radio pays royalties only to songwriters, not the artists or labels, an arrangement that obviously favors the NAB over the RIAA - but here they've clearly found common ground.