Apple's attempts to stop free music streaming has the DOJ investigating

Apple's attempts to stop free music streaming has the DOJ investigating
Apple's new Beats streaming music service is expected to be unveiled along with iOS 8.4 next month. For some time, Apple has been negotiating with performers and labels in an effort to reduce royalty rates. But Apple is also taking another tact. Reports published today suggest that the brass in Cupertino is trying to get music publishers to force streamers like Spotify to stop offering consumers ad-supported free tiers of service. Of Spotify's 60 million subscribers, only 15 million are paying for music.

Apple is believed to be looking to end the free music streaming so that it can aim for Spotify's free and paying customers with a low priced service that undercuts the competition. In addition, Apple is looking to offer exclusive content which it hopes will attract some subscribers. Music labels aren't pleased with the free ad supported tiers offered by Spotify and others, and are willing to listen to what Apple is saying. Apple has reportedly told the labels that it will charge for streaming music after a free trial period. As one music industry source said about the tech titan, "All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat."

But Apple's plans are drawing the attention of the Justice Department. The DOJ has allegedly sent out agents to interview employees working for the labels in order to learn about Apple's business tactics. Besides its attempt to pressure music labels into forcing Spotify and others to stop free streaming, Apple supposedly offered to reimburse Universal for lost royalties if the company stops allowing its music to play on YouTube. By trying to remove competition in this manner, Apple could find itself in hot water with the feds.

Apple also is believed to be under investigation by the European Union’s Competition Commission. The later also is interested in checking out Apple's attempts to stop streamers from offering free ad supported music to consumers.

source: TheVerge via PCMag

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93 Comments

1. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Wow, sleazy move Apple. I suppose they're incapable of providing a service worth paying for so they have to sneak around a pay record labels off to stop supporting their competition. Just because you have money doesn't make you exempt from the law.

58. seven7dust unregistered

well the music labels aren't happy about free stuff either and so are several artists maybe they are teaming up who knows , eitherway I know free is bad , ads never pay enough. I'll leave it to the DOJ before judging anyone.

70. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I wanna hear what Myzwhatever and dankjedi have to say about this...Probably still "Apple take my money!".

95. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Yep, pretty hypocritical of Apple since they are among the "free streaming" services with Itunes Radio.

2. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I guess Dr. Dre sold them the Brooklyn Bridge.

32. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Typical apple moved. Always like to monopolized everything.

34. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

And blind fans will just say "oh it's OK as long as it's apple they can get my money"

3. bucky

Posts: 3784; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I hope apple gets hit hard for this one-I'm an apple fan too.

4. tury694

Posts: 167; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

Apple is a scumbag company. Efficient at making money but dirty and slimy for sure.

21. bucky

Posts: 3784; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

How's Nokia doing?

42. DareDevil01

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

What does that have to do with anything he just said? lol notice the difference in likes between your post and his?

45. bucky

Posts: 3784; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Difference in likes is because this place is filled with fandroids...but you knew that already. He is calling out apple as an evil company and yet MS(his pic) systematically took apart one of the largest phone companies for their patents. See how apple isn't the only "evil" company? I'd show you with hand puppets but I can't.

51. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

But that's not Microsoft being evil, that's just them being incompetent.

78. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Hate to tell you, while M$ did acquire Nokia's device division they DID NOT get any of Nokia's patents. Nokia retained them.

92. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Microsoft purchased 8,500 patents from Nokia. So yeah....

5. Fallen1

Posts: 288; Member since: Nov 14, 2014

Talk about a cheap shot Apple, thats low even for you

6. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I swear apple is secretly run by Hitler.

36. gaming64 unregistered

Hitler is dead. He died when he saw your comment.

39. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Lol good one. +1

7. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Hey Apple and Tim Crook. Go F@#% yourselves.

8. xperian

Posts: 418; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

If apple succeeds, back to torrents

68. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Yeah, things these days are just giving us reasons to pirate on a silver platter. No more free music streaming? Crazy DLC and game prices? Can't wait to see how going to the movies/Blurays gets screwed over as well, and we can go pirate that too.

9. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Didn't they learn anything from the ebook price fixing fiasco (I got a whole $3.81 in iTunes credit from that class action suit)? Steve Jobs ghost must be still haunting their Cupertino HQ......

10. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Remind me...

13. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Nevermind, I forgot about teh google for about 4 seconds, and looked it up myself. Pretty scummy. Apple's again late to the party, so they try to bully/bribe everyone into cutting them a slice of the pie. Or maybe they're just trying to recoup $3 billion spent on a worthless name for a product that provides absolutely nothing unique.

11. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Learn anything? In their minds they are TOTALLY innocent! They "encouraged competition" and "broke" up the "monopoly" that is Amazon!

12. talon95

Posts: 998; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

When the music industry (who put DRM and rootkits on their music, and sued their own customers) calls you cutthroat... that's saying something. Doesn't sound like the kind of music service that will improve customer choice. The EU sues Google for handing out free software that people are asking for and have the option to use or not use, meanwhile Apple is blatantly buying out, paying off, and shutting down competition. That's jacked up!

14. emvxl

Posts: 140; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

"All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat." That's the Apple way.

15. Sakeem

Posts: 857; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

I'm waiting to see how any of the diehard Apple fans defend this. Maybe they wont comment at all. Anyway, if Apple is found guilty of these moves, i hope the punishment is swift and harsh. Harsh enough to disuade anyone else from trying this again. Just because you are nearly a trillion dollar company, it doesn't mean you can go around and do what you want.

50. AlikMalix unregistered

Won't defend it, this is low. I buy enough music from iTunes via iTunes Radio and many people I know fo as well in support of artists - Apple does not need this.

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