U.S. Senate Democrat Al Franken urges federal probe of Apple Music

“Sen. Al Franken wants federal regulators to investigate whether Apple’s new music-streaming service runs afoul of antitrust law, marking the latest escalation in an ongoing, multipronged battle for dominance in the crowded online market,” Dustin Volz reports for National Journal.

“In a letter addressed Wednesday to the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, the Minnesota Democrat warned that the Apple Music platform may be harming consumers by limiting competition and driving up the price of access to streaming music,” Volz reports. “Apple has been dogged by accusations that it is unfairly using its enormous size and influence — and access to the payment information of millions of customers — to cut better deals with record labels on Apple Music, which launched last month. Its critics also have said Apple is driving up prices of its competitors’ services, such as Spotify and Pandora, by taking a 30 percent cut of any purchases made via its popular app store.”

Volz reports, “Apple Music is exempt from that surcharge, as it is an Apple platform.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes. It’s Apple’s App Store. Duh.

Again, if Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Tidal, Pandora, etc. 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 BOGOF cheapskate 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, Al.

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.

Volz reports, “The scrutiny has prompted Spotify and others to lobby on Capitol Hill for an investigation, and several media reports have cited unnamed officials claiming that the Federal Trade Commission already has launched a probe.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Is Al up for re-election already?

Franken’s letter is here.

U.S. Senate Democrat Al Franken demands answers from Apple CEO Tim Cook over iPhone 5s’ Touch ID – September 20, 2013

U.S. Senator Al Franken demands answers from Apple’s Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking – April 21, 2011

Consumer Watchdog Asks U.S. feds to investigate Apple Music over alleged ‘antitrust violations’ – July 22, 2015
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


  1. [Expletives Deleted]
    The USA is not a socialist system, thankfully. Capitalist systems use competition as a driving engine of change, creativity, innovation and invention. Without competition, we’d have a socialist system, which changes, creates, innovates and invents NOTHING.

    Can we move along now and let Apple COMPETE in the marketplace please? There is no anti-trust anything here. No monopoly. No forcing users to do anything at all. Cry baby tactics from Apple’s competitors do not equate to breaking any laws. They only equate to cry baby tactics.

    1. There are no purely socialist or capitalist systems. What we have around the world is various degrees of socialist capitalism (two-words concept), where things are partly socialist (like military, firemen, police, ambulance, education) and partly capitalist (most of everything else).

      There are not a lot of the most rabid “capitalists” in USA who want the country to stop being socialist in, say, military. Yes, there are libertarians-anarchists who only believe in militia and think that military has to be disbanded as undue socialistic burden on people, but most others understand that military can only work as governmental, socialist institution, not as capital enterprise.

      1. Our formerly capitalistic system (which created the airlines, the media, the construction industry, the steel, rubber and oil companies, and the NFL) has been improved by politicians so it is now a hybrid of Socialism and Crooked Business Interest and Radical Homosexualism. This is now seen as the ideal economy and it produces stupid citizens, venereal disease, generations of illiterate people in the inner city who can create rap music (sic), and the rainbow flag industry.

          1. He (Kent) thinks saying something is radical makes it so. What exactly is radical homosexualism? Does he mean gay people demanding equality before the law is radical? Well, for a bigot and know-nothing I guess it would be. And he calls other people illiterate.

      2. Wait. Does the military build its own hardware? No. Does the military build its own uniforms? Does it build its own ammunition? Are there any other competitors at all for what it does? No, to all of the above. You are contrasting a function of government with a type of government!

        1. I am not confusing. Military as it is now is a socialist, non-competitive service. There is some number of military service contractors such as Blackwater/Academy/(I do not remember their other names as they always rename themselves due to horrible PR their get from committing unpunished war crimes around the world), but those are tiny minority comparing to government-run service.

  2. Franken does care about consumers, but in this case his actions are superficial and influenced by the misleading buzz on the issue.

    Nothing happened yet, advertisement-supported music streaming did not go away. And even if it will go away in some time, it is music publishers’ and artists’ bidding, not Apple’s, to whom all those issues are microscopic in terms of revenues and profits.

    Id est there is nothing to investigate Apple for.

    1. BS. If Franken actually cared about consumers and taxpayers, he’d investigate Congress and expose all the corruption and crony capitalism going on there. That costs consumers far more (in every sense) than anything Apple and the music industry could ever do.

      Speaking of corruption and crony capitalism, it wouldn’t surprise me if Franken didn’t have some ties to somebody in the music industry or to a competing service like Spotify or Tidal.

    1. LOL. This is why the left has to import people that don’t speak English to be future Democrat voters. The ones who do know English routinely embarrass them. (View the logic fail – huh huh, some guy wrote a book that said something I like, so anything he does is gold!)

      Looks like Franken’s book was a failure. Rush is still the king of talk radio. Hey, how did Franken’s election go again? What about those found votes that put him over the top? Think he owes somebody something? Yup, I think so.

  3. Al Franken is a moron! Of all the corruption and anticompetitive practices he could be investigating or exposing to protect consumers, he decides to ask the USAG and FTC to go after Apple because they take a “non-negotiable” 30% cut of sales and don’t allow developers to direct APPLE’S customers to their own websites for cheaper prices to cut Apple out of the sale? Jesus, really Franken?!!??

    Facepalm at another move by one of the dumbest SOBs in Congress (and that’s really saying something).

  4. 1. There is no indictment. There is a call for investigation. Cool your jets, if your blood pressure is over 100/75.

    2. Indictment means a reasonable description of possible infraction of the law.

    3. Nobody has mentioned the exact law yet.

    4. Next, appeals courts and Supreme Court are eventually available.

    5. Finally, the Congress. Congress, generally, long before Al Franken became a US Senator, made some laws. Bad laws may be changed.

    Online people too often think they have the God-given duty to spew the first thing that comes into their, honestly – God-forsaken minds.

    1. 1. Why waste the time? Surely, Franken could be doing something useful like say…anything else?

      2. So why does he think that the law might possibly have been violated? Again, why waste the time?

      3. Surely Franken thinks there’s something. So he must at least suspect which law has been violated – unless he’s just playing crony capitalist and hoping Apple goes along. Gee, there’s not any record of that among his fellows, is there?

      4. Oh, right. It’s ok if Franken does something dumb, because we get to pay for the endless appeals up and down the US justice system. Goody goody!

      5. However, Franken is hot to trot to enforce these laws instead of trying to undo them. Why?

      Yes, online people do behave that way. By the by, here’s a mirror for you.

  5. I genuinely wonder what the proposed solution is?

    Obviously, Apple should get paid SOMETHING for providing devices, a platform, and marketplace to Spotify and others, right?. If 30% is too much, what do they think is fair? 25%? 10%? Free?

  6. the sad thing about it is that TC basically supports liberal causes but it’s usually liberals who attack Apple. Ex mayor Willie Brown asked occupy protestors to picket Apple, Jesse Jackson singled out Apple for criticisms etc.

    TC has donated apple money to Jackson’s causes, stood up for liberal causes like Diversity etc.

    yet when the crunch comes Liberals don’t stand up for Apple. It’s people like Rush Limbaugh (whom I don’t particularly like for his political views) who repeatedly defend Apple. When is the last time you saw liberal organization (some groups involved in Gay rights or Diversity etc) vocally support Apple?

    The problem with liberal groups that TC panders too ALSO have in their mantra ‘hatred for big business i.e like Apple’ so to pander to their members they can’t afford to support Apple.

    It’s disturbing for myself as I’m a social liberal myself – I think consenting adults can do what they want with each other – but a shareholder (and fiscal conservative), it’s time for Liberal minded folks to stand up for Apple.

    otherwise maybe Apple should support conservative politicians who will fight for it. (personally I might not want that but perhaps it’s the ONLY way to shake Liberal groups up to stop whacking Apple, it’s best friend).

      1. WTF are you babbling about?

        control? like helping to keep malware off my devices?
        have you seen the reports of thousands of different Android malware out there, tens of millions infected?

        Also last I check I can connect thousands of different types of devices (USB, Thunderbolt) to my Macs, third party printers, scanners, monitors etc. And run all kinds of Apps and software INCLUDING WINDOWS !
        So WTF are you talking about again?

        1. That was more for iOS and their singular “must conform” store.
          Want to avoid malware, get software from reputable sources.

          Oh, and my Mac Pro cannot get video card upgrades, ssd upgrades, etc. unless they are from Apple. (OWC doesn’t count for SSDs, since you lose and gain TRIM at Apple’s discretion)

  7. Heaven forbid that someone should disrupt the oligopoly of the record labels. Franken take-up your arms!

    Meanwhile, lets move on to something, anything, more interesting.

    1. Without spell check:

      I like Al. He’s a democrat. I like him much, much more than I like a single republican on this planet- for they all scare me even more than ISIL. Homegrown Talibam/terrorists.

  8. “Apple Music is exempt from that surcharge, as it is an Apple platform.”

    No, Apple has to foot the bill for the entire Apple Music and App stores.

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