Apple’s upcoming music streaming service under investigation from the FTC

Increasingly, Apple is finding itself in hot water with regulators over its rumored subscription-based music service. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the United States Federal Trade Commission is now probing Apple’s efforts to line up deals with record labels.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Apple is using iTunes — the largest seller of digital music — to put itself in an unfair advantage against its rivals like Spotify or not in its deals with record labels.
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.
The FTC is still in its early stages of investigation and has been asking record labels whether their deal with Apple will change their existing deals with other streaming services or not. While none of the record companies — Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music — commented on the report, a Bloomberg’s source says that Apple has made no such demands.

A report from yesterday had claimed that the Department of Justice is also looking into Apple’s deals with music labels as the company was trying to use its position to force music labels to kill the free music streaming tier on Spotify and other similar services.

The overhauled Beats Music service is said to formally launch at WWDC, featuring integration with a revamped Music app in iOS 8.4, exclusive content, an Android app and more.


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