Apple's deals with record labels put under the microscope over antitrust concerns

Attorneys general from two states are investigating Apple for anti-competitive tactics in its deals with record labels for Apple Music.

Apple Music was only just announced, but the attorneys general from both New York and Connecticut are investigating Apple over concerns that the company may be pressuring or working with record labels to discourage free streaming options from rivals like Spotify. From The New York Times:

The attorneys general wanted to know whether Apple pressured the music labels — or whether the labels conspired with Apple and one another — to withdraw support for popular “freemium” services offered by companies like Spotify in favor of Apple’s paid music subscriptions.

This isn’t the first time that such an investigation has come up. In May, before Apple Music was even official, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had begun investigating similar claims that Apple may be pushing record labels to abandon agreements with Spotify that allow the service to stream ad-supported music for free.

For its part, Universal Music Group has followed up with a response in a letter to the attorneys general:

The letter said Universal Music Group has no agreements with Apple or music entities like Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group that would impede the availability of free or ad-supported services.

The music company added that it “shares the attorneys general’s commitment to a robust and competitive market for music streaming services in the mutual best interest of consumers, artists, services and content companies alike — and we have a long track record to that effect.”

On an interesting note, the two attorneys general, Eric T. Schneiderman and George Jepsen, were also involved in the antitrust case levied against Apple over e-book price fixing, which ultimately ended in a $450 million settlement and the appointment of a less-than-welcomed monitor.

Source: The New York Times

Source: iMore

About Bhavesh Rabari

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