Apple Music Under Investigation for Scheming With Major Labels

Apple Music Under Investigation for Scheming With Major Labels

Tech giant and record companies are being accused of partnering to withdraw support for other streaming options.

Published June 10, 2015

After just a couple days following its official introduction, Apple Music is already in hot water for some shady business. According to Billboard, attorneys general of New York and Connecticut have been actively investigating the tech giant's new streaming service as it is being suspected of pressuring record labels to extract their support for other service options.

The main issue lies in Apple Music's attempt to edge out its competitors' freemium models — Spotify, Pandora — by offering a three-month free trial period.

Matt Mittenthal, a spokesperson for Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, told the New York Times that they are specifically investigating Apple's negotiations with record labels to "preserve consumers' use of these new streaming services."

"It's important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anticompetitive practices," Mittenthal said.

This isn't the first time that Apple has been in trouble for potentially illegal dealings with record companies. It was reported back in April that the European Commission has also been looking into Apple's interactions with labels — this initial investigation pushed the New York and Connecticut attorneys general to further inspect the seemingly shady situation.

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Hunton & Williams, the legal firm of one particular label, Universal Music Group, sent in a written response addressing the claims to Schneiderman's office. In the statement, the label group states that it has "no agreements with Apple or other labels that might impede the availability of free or ad-supported services." Interestingly enough, the letter further states that the investigation is currently suspended, but this does not stop the query from continuing — The attorneys general may take further action on the case in the future.

"UMG shares the Attorney 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," UMG told Billboard in an exclusive statement. "We are pleased to have prided the Attorneys General information demonstrating that conduct. It is our understanding that, given these representations, the Attorneys General have no present intention to make further inquiries of UMG in this regard."

On the other end of the spectrum, Apple's SVP of Internet Software Services, Eddy Cue, sang a slightly different tune of the situation while failing to directly address the debate at hand. "It's not, 'In order for us to win, everybody else has to lose,' We always looked at it as we want to make the best product on the planet — we want people to hopefully feel that way — but that doesn't mean it has to be the only product."

Interesting.

With so many music streaming services competing in the market for your coins — Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Apple Music — which will you be choosing as your primary go-to application?

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(Photo: Apple)

Written by Moriba Cummings

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