As it becomes painfully obvious to the RIAA that suing individuals for music copyright infringement is about as fiscally logical as burning hundred-dollar bills to melt down pennies for copper, the now-infamous media group is seeking to generate revenue from more traditional avenues.

Both the RIAA and NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), who are often fierce opponents, are demanding US Congress pass a bill mandating the presence of FM radio receivers in all cellular phones. Why? The Benjamins, of course.

It's no secret that both radio broadcasters and record labels are losing revenue to digital distribution of music - legal and otherwise. Cell phones, though, offer a (relatively) untapped source of listeners for radio stations. In fact, mobile devices are large enough a source that the RIAA and NAB have hashed out a preliminary deal to exploit this growing market.

The chief principles of this tenuous pact? First, a mandate that all cellular phones be equipped with functional FM radio receivers. Second, that the NAB pay musicFIRST (a group of record labels and their related bodies, including the RIAA) around $100 million a year in royalties in exchange for increasing their listening audience. Currently, the NAB pays musicFIRST (and all artists/labels) $0.00 to play music on the radio.

This would be a drastic change from the current system, in which broadcasters pay only songwriter (not to be confused with artists) royalties to dish out tunes over the airwaves.

What does it mean for Android users? Google may be forced to include FM radio as a native part of Android in future builds, something they have so far left to device manufacturers. The passage of the bill won't do much to save dying record labels, but it may provide sought-after standardization of FM radio support in the Android OS.

Source: ArsTechnica via AndroidCentral

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Barry

    Our disaster of a President is forcing us all to purchase private health insurance, so it's not hard to imagine him and his other leftist buddies agreeing to this kind of mandate too.

    If we're fortunate, the Democrats will lose majorities in both the House and the Senate this fall, and so we won't have to worry about it.

    Say what you will about Republicans but they would never pass anything like this into law.

    • anakin78z

      Weird, I don't remember being forced, and in fact haven't...

      There's no way this would pass one way or the other. It's a silly thing to propose in the first place. But hey, if they want to waste their time and money, who am I to stop them?

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Aaron

      No, they just declare endless wars for false reasons. That's nothing compared to a mutually beneficial, victimless agreement between music-interest organizations! You're right, this was Obama's plan all along; FM radios for all! His next step, since he's a man of "color": all televisions must now also be color! No more black and white TV sets! Viva 1970s!

  • Keith

    As someone who does listen to radio and is disappointed that his Nexus One doesn't have one, I fully support this idea.

    It's ridiculous that radio is used as a distinctive feature these days.

    Good for the RIAA/NAB? Sure. But also good for consumers. And probably bad for Apple, Amazon, etc.

  • Ned

    If you have a choice between FM radio and Internet radio, which would you choose? If you can receive an FM signal, you're going to have internet. Why not just connect to your local radio station online and listen in? FORCING phone manufacturers to include yet more hardware will increase the price, lower battery efficiently, and increase the size of phones. This is stupid. I listen to radio, but I'd much rather listen to internet radio.

  • http://blog.offbeatmammal.com offbeatmammal

    FM sucks in the US. Pointless Clear Channel crap with more adverts than music.
    I don't want FM support wastign space and sucking battery thank you