Will All Cell Phones Have FM Radios in Future?

By Jay Shah | Cell Phones

Does your fully stacked cell phone lack a little something which you would love to have? This situation may be at an end soon because cell phone manufacturers are working on a deal to include a ‘mandatory’ FM tuner in every cell phone they roll out.

The legislation is taking shape in this regard and right now – National Association of Broadcasters (who represents the radio) and musicFIRST (representing artists and labels) are locked in talks over this.

You may know that these talks have been ongoing for almost a year now. To bring you up to speed with the situation, here’s a brief description of how things stand:

  • The music industry wants money from radio on account of the tracks that they play on air round the year.
  • This will not be a paltry sum but millions of dollars, which radio is simply refusing to pay. Currently a copyright exemption makes their stance legally valid.

This has led to an impasse between the two parties and thus the Performance Rights Act is still stuck in Congress. This Act will ultimately determine how and how much Radio pays to artists and labels for playing their music tracks.

So where does FM radio on cell phones fit into the equation?

Well, it’s actually the compromise formula that the two parties are currently working on. Radio wants to limit the yearly payment to around $100 million and as part of the agreement FM receivers will be put into all cell phones to expand the market for radio and enable it to pay the sum without many hassles.


The problem is that the artists and labels deem the proposed royalty to be too low and thus an agreement is still some way off. Only when the two finally agree, will the arrangement be made a part of the impending Act.

But to complicate matters further the Consumer Electronics Association is not too keen on integrating outdated features such the FM radio into cutting-edge handsets. But they should relent if they are paid well enough to conform to the impending rule. So clearly this three way tussle will only be decided by money. Hardly surprising!

About the Author

Jay simply loves any tech that can make life easier, better, faster and more enjoyable. And with hundreds if not thousands of Gadgets, Apps, Games being launched everyday, there's more than enough out there to keep this hardcore techie occupied and obsessed!