Apps & Mobile

Music Labels Want To Break Your Phone, With Radio

image from fc08.deviantart.net Music labels and radio broadcasters are lobbying Congress in hopes of making it mandatory for cell phones, PDAs, and other portable devices to have FM radio receivers built in. Rather than adapt to the changing market, it seems as if radio favors the idea of artificially propping up its legacy institution—and business model—by any means necessary.

Just as many have argued that radio's days are numbered, they've attempted to slide in the back door and stay lodged in your pocket forever and ever and ever. President of the CEA Gary Shapiro strongly asserted that this move "is the height of absurdity" and "not within our national interest."

At first, the bill in discussion had nothing to do with mobile tech and everything to do with whether or not radio should have to make royalty payments to record labels. It has been proposed that both sides might forgo all of this and strike a "grand bargain" that would entail radio broadcasters playing around $100 million a year and in return it would get access to a larger market, one afforded to them through the mandated FM enabled mobile devices. Another bill on Capitol Hill.

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7 Comments

  1. With the always on 3G connections becoming commonplace, have broadcasters stopped to think why on earth we would want an FM tuner on our mobile when there are hundreds of thousands of online stations (including most likely their own)?

  2. Yeah, I don’t understand why the labels would pay old-school radio broadcasters to get an FM tuner in mobile devices (which is absolutely ridiculous), when they can just create their own Internet mobile radio apps for Blackberrys, Androids, iPhones, etc. This just seems like another example of old-school thinking…
    Soundexchange is there for a reason, ya know…

  3. FM radio is common feature on many cell phones sold in Europe and Asia. As to why people might want it, unlimited data plans are probably on their way out and streaming audio is very data intensive. Carriers should welcome the move too because it could free up some bandwidth if people listen to local radio via FM instead of via an app or a Web stream. Also think about during blackouts and emergency situations, FM radio is more likely to be accessible than an Internet connection.
    I don’t think a governmental mandate is the best way to get FM on cell phones (and it will be just FM, and most likely just analog FM at that; AM would get too much interference and require too long of an antenna), and the linkage to performance rights/royalties is odd, but FM on cell phones is in and of itself a reasonable feature.

  4. There is NO way that congress needs to create such legislation. Mobile phone manufactures and the radio groups should strike their own deals. We don’t need congress telling mobile phone manufactures how to make their devices or what feature sets to add. They (congress) have no idea how such legislation would effect the phone itself or other mobile features / services. If the radio groups and the cell phone companies want to do it, great. If the cell phone companies have no interest then so be it. Radio can be like every other company that gets disrupted; evolve your model or fail.

  5. My mobile phone has an app with Corus (a conglomerate owner of many AM/FM stations) …. as long as I have an Internet connection, I can listen to AM/FM stations across the country – don’t need an FM receiver at all.

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