RIAA wants you to have an FM radio in your phone – even if you don’t

Even my LG feature phone has an FM radio widget on it but considering where I live that makes as much sense as teats on a bull does. However it seems in the US that the RIAA is lobbying hard for Congress to mandate radios in all your portable devices. This of course includes your smartphones – you know .. the ones that you can access things like Pandora on.

Tagging along on this ride of outright stupidity is the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) as a trade-off for a bill coming before Congress called the Performance Rights Act which would make radio stations have to pay performance rights fees like satellite radio and web broadcasters do, but have yet not had to.

Under an argument that these performance payments would actually increase consumer choice the RIAA has basically blackmailed into accepting what is already considered a done deal in Congress on the promise of lower fees and access to larger markets that would supposedly materialize because of mandated FM radio chips in mobile devices.

Of course, as Nate Anderson at Ars Technica points out, the device makers aren’t impressed by this move

The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. “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,” thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is “not in our national interest.”

“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.”

As I pointed out I have a FM widget in my older style feature phone that never gets used and I really don’t see it being any different of a situation in metropolitan areas on a smartphone. Just as every other part of the entertainment industry is changing so to is radio but forcing something like mandated FM chips into any mobile device, and even increasing the price slightly, will piss off the consumer. As consumer by the way who is already paying through the nose for their entertainment choices.