“U.S. antitrust officials are scrutinizing Apple Inc.’s efforts to line up deals with record labels as it prepares to debut a new version of the Beats Music streaming service, according to people familiar with the matter,” David McLaughlin, Lucas Shaw, and Tim Higgins report for Bloomberg.

“The Federal Trade Commission is looking at whether Apple is using its position as the largest seller of music downloads through its iTunes store to put rival music services like Spotify Ltd. at a disadvantage, one of the people sai,” McLaughlin, Shaw, and Higgins report. “The FTC’s inquiry could complicate Apple’s planned revamp of Beats Music this summer. Apple has approached more than a dozen artists including Florence and the Machine for limited exclusive rights to music and partnerships to help bolster the service, people familiar with the effort have said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Negotiating exclusives is legal. Or, at least, it used to be.

“The FTC’s investigators, still in the early stages, of their inquiry, are asking whether Apple’s efforts will change the way music labels work with other streaming services, for example curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates, according to one of the people,” McLaughlin, Shaw, and Higgins report. “Apple hasn’t made such demands on the labels, according to the music-industry executives.

MacDailyNews Take: Bold emphasis added.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One of the main points of competition in open markets is to put rivals at a disadvantage. Again, exclusives, a very common practice in the music industry, are not illegal. Are the FTC “probing” Target over their exclusive albums?

If we had to guess, Spotify = Amazon this time in the whiny little bitch department.