RIAA, NAB want mandatory FM radio in mobile electronics

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Music labels and broadcasters have been at odds for years over whether the FM radio industry should pay performance rights to artists and labels when a song is played on air. Unlike Internet and satellite services, FM radio only pays songwriters under the current framework, and they believe they're exempt from the fees because they provide a valuable promotional tool.

Looking to resolve the conflict, both sides hope to ink an agreement: radio would pay $100 million a year, and in return it would gain a massive listener base through the forced inclusion of FM radio chips in portable devices. Thus, the RIAA and NAB are pushing for a Congressional mandate that would require cell phones and other mobile electronics to carry an FM receiver.

Strongly opposed to the idea, the Consumer Electronics Association (whose members would be affected) said the proposal is "the height of absurdity" and "not in our national interest." The NAB shrugged off those remarks saying that trade associations "always oppose new rules," adding that widespread FM access would be handy from a public safety perspective.

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