“Consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog asked federal regulators Wednesday to conduct a probe into Apple’s new music streaming service, Apple Music, to investigate potential antitrust violations,” Giuseppe Macri reports for Inside Sources. “In a Wednesday letter from the non-profit to the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, the group urged regulators to ‘investigate tactics reportedly used by Apple to drive out ‘freemium,” (or commercially sponsored) and subscription rival streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Tidal and Pandora.”
“‘Based on information received by our group, Apple’s new streaming music service raises serious antitrust concerns that require the government to put limitations on Apple as it develops its service if consumers are to continue to have access to free streaming music services and so-called ‘freemium’ music,’ Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president, and John Simpson, its Privacy Project director, wrote in the letter,” Macri reports. “The FTC has already launched an investigation into Apple’s use of a 30 percent fee it charges rival streaming services like Spotify on its App Store, according to The Verge. The agency began looking into the service ahead of the Apple Music launch earlier this year, when it was reported the Cupertino company was pressuring music labels to force rival streaming services to give up their base free tier of service — a move that would have dramatically reduced competition in the streaming market. Regulators have already begun issuing subpoenas to competing services.”
Macri reports, “Citing confidential information, Consumer Watchdog told regulators Apple is pressuring music labels for exclusive rights to music by threatening to go directly to artists, and cut labels out entirely if they don’t heed the Silicon Valley giant’s demands.”
Read more in the full article here.
Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is here.
MacDailyNews Take: Prove it – oh wait, evidence didn’t matter for iBooks, so scratch that. Good luck, Apple!
By the way, hard-nosed competition is not illegal. This is business, not Kumbaya ’round the campfire. It is not an “antitrust violation” to exploit your strengths and advantages or to contract directly with artists who are free to contract with whomever they choose for whatever service or promotion they choose.
If Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Tidal and Pandora don’t like Apple’s App Store terms, they are free to market their wares to non-iOS users. Surely their “freemium” offering will be in very high demand among the skinflint set who have proven more than willing to surrender their privacy and personal date in exchange for what they erroneously think is “free.”
As myopic “analysts” like to repeatedly tell each other on CNBC, Apple’s iOS market share is dwarfed by Android, that amazing and wondrous OS that delivers not only a poor facsimile of iOS and 99% of all mobile malware, but also exceedingly profitless results for knockoff peddlers the world over. Therefore, Apple clearly does not have a monopoly in smartphones (only in brilliantphones), so there’s simply no monopoly to abuse, Consumer Watchdog.
Spotify and the rest of the also-rans: Go peddle your outmoded, inferior crap to the billion+ fragmandroid settlers if you don’t like Apple’s App Store terms. Knock yourselves out.
Apple Music faces antitrust scrutiny in New York, Connecticut – June 10, 2015
a href=”http://macdailynews.com/2015/05/07/rival-music-services-claim-apples-app-store-pricing-is-anticompetitive/”>Rival music services claim Apple’s App Store pricing is anticompetitive – May 7, 2015
EU regulators already probing Apple’s music streaming plans in Europe – April 2, 2015