Department of Justice Investigating Apple for Pressuring Labels to Drop Free Streaming
Last month, it was revealed that Apple was enlisting music exclusives and using editorial content for the upcoming relaunch of its streaming platform, Beats Music. Now, the Verge reports that Apple has also allegedly been approaching music labels in an attempt to stymie competitors from offering free tiers of streaming services.
Apple’s efforts are geared toward persuading labels to not renew their licensing agreements that allow services like Spotify to include their artists’ music on their free tiers. The move could potentially force Apple’s competitors to forsake their free services in favor of paid-for premium subscriptions only. Sources also said Apple even offered to pay Universal Music Group’s licensing agreement with YouTube so the label would prohibit its music from appearing for free on the video-streaming website.
Now the Department and Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are monitoring Apple’s potentially questionable business practices surrounding the Beats re-launch. The New York Post also reported that the European Union’s Competition Commission is looking into Apple’s dealings with music labels and how they may push free streaming options out of the marketplace.
Apple acquired the Dr. Dre-founded Beats and its accompanying streaming service last year. Apple is expected to launch its new music platform at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place from June 8-12. The streaming service is said to feature exclusive music, editorial content and curated playlists.