RIAA goes bizarre over FM radios

The Recording Industry of America Association (RIAA) is getting all weird again about piracy of music content.

Never content with anyone actually paying for its music, the outfit wants FM radios to be installed by government law in mobile phones.

The Consumer Electronics Association is fuming after it heard that the RIAA wants FM radio tuners to be a government-mandated addition to mobile devices.

Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and chief executive, said that product design is the domain of innovators in the marketplace and not the government.

He said his group would vigorously oppose any effort to force manufacturers by legislative fiat to include legacy technology in devices.”

The reason that the RIAA wants radios installed in mobiles is because of a quirk in US royalty law. US broadcasters pay only songwriters/music publishers for songs played on the air, whereas most countries also compensate the musicians and record labels.

To sort out these laws, and to make sure it gets cash, the RIAA backs mobile phones with FM tuners, radio believes it could better compete with fast-rising streaming services which is easier to pirate.

The older technology will boost listenership and increase advertising, the RIAA reasons. Effectively it will prop up the dying radio industry and make sure that the RIAA gets paid.

It is pushing the idea through on the basis that it does not want its content pirated. In the good old days, the RIAA and its ilk feared FM radio because they said a person with a radio-cassette could pirate good quality music from the airwaves. It seems times have changed.

However it needs the US government to agree with the RIAA insist that FM tuners are put inside every mobile phone.

Some phone makers, such as Apple and Microsoft, have installed FM tuners in their gear, others have not.

But it does seem odd that outfits like the RIAA are so powerful in the US that they can define functionality on mobile gear. Even when it is no earthly use to punters at all.