The music streaming business is getting ugly. Reportedly, Apple is being investigated for antitrust violations over the forthcoming relaunch of its Beats Music streaming service.
Allegedly, Apple has been trying to lock down exclusive content to give it the edge over Spotify and Jay Z’s upstart TIDAL. This drew suspicion from the FTC since Apple’s iTunes service already dominates digital sales, and could mean putting its streaming service rivals at a disadvantage.
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 said.
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.
FTC officials have discussed Apple’s practices with more than one record label, according to music-industry executives with knowledge of the matter.
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.
Seems Jay Z pointing a finger at Apple‘s tactics wasn’t hyperbole.
But will any of Beats, and TIDAL’s, maneuvers be enough to knock Spotify off its current throne?
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