Menu
Apple Music faces antitrust investigation in New York, Connecticut

Apple Music faces antitrust investigation in New York, Connecticut

The investigation is part of an overall probe into the music streaming business

Apple Music

Apple Music

Attorneys general of the U.S. states of New York and Connecticut have launched an investigation into the music streaming industry, apparently with a focus on whether the recently-unveiled Apple Music has broken antitrust rules.

The joint probe by the two states was disclosed in a letter from Universal Music Group to the Antitrust Bureau of the office of the New York attorney general.

In the letter written on its behalf by law firm Hunton & Williams, UMG said it understands that the joint investigation is concerned particularly about whether the music industry is working together "to suppress the availability to consumers of free, advertising-supported, on-demand music streaming or similar services, such as those offered by Spotify and YouTube."

Apple unveiled Monday a subscription streaming music service that is priced at US$10 a month, with a family service also available for up to six family members for $15 per month. Unlike services from rivals like Spotify, Apple Music will not offer music that is offered free with advertisements. The company instead will offer a three-month free trial period and promises that artists may make various kinds of content available on its promotional Connect section.

Prior to the launch of the service, there were reports that Apple was trying to get the music labels not to allow free music services.

The attorneys general wanted to know if Apple pressured the music labels, or whether the labels conspired with Apple and one another to withdraw their backing for the advertisement-supported free services, reported The New York Times.

"This letter is part of an ongoing investigation of the music streaming business, an industry in which competition has recently led to new and different ways for consumers to listen to music," said Matt Mittenthal, spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in an emailed statement.

"To preserve these benefits, it's important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anti-competitive practices," he added.

In its letter, UMG said it did not have any agreements with Apple to obstruct the availability of third-party free or ad-supported music streaming services, or that "limit, restrict, or prevent UMG" from licensing its recorded music to any third-party music streaming service on any terms of its choice. It said it did not also have any such agreements with Sony Music or Warner Music.

UMG added that it offers limited exclusive content to some partners such as certain music streaming services and ISPs, but this was driven by its legitimate business considerations rather than by an agreement to restrain competition.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen told Bloomberg in an emailed statement that he was working with New York to investigate concerns about potential anticompetitive conduct in the music streaming industry. "At this point, we are satisfied that Universal does not have in place --- or in process --- anticompetitive agreements to withhold music titles from no-charge streaming services," he added.

UMG could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesantitrustAttorney General of ConnecticutlegalMusic and audioUniversal Music GroupgovernmentinternetAttorney General of New YorkApple

Slideshows

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

HP has recognised its top performing partners in New Zealand at the second annual 2016 HP Partner Awards, held at a glittering bash in Auckland. The HP Partner Awards recognises and celebrates excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of its top partners. This year also saw the addition of several new categories, resulting in 11 companies winning across 11 award categories.

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...
Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Ingram Micro outlined its core focuses for 2017 at Showcase in Auckland, bringing together the channel for a day of engaging keynotes, compelling breakout sessions and new technologies.

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland
Show Comments