Apple Pushing to Stifle Music Streaming Competition

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Apple’s new streaming service will be based on the Beats Audio app

According to several reports, Apple is urging major music labels to pull out of deals with free music streaming services in an effort to stifle competition for their service, a relaunch of the Beats Music service, set to debut later this year.

Spotify, one of the world’s most popular music streaming services, is apparently at the top of Apple’s list. The service streams content from some of the world’s biggest record labels, including Sony, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Spotify allows users to listen to music from a huge database of artists and genres. The ad-supported free version currently boasts over 45 million listeners worldwide. The “premium” version, a subscription-based service, allows users unlimited listens to any song in the massive catalog, on-demand, and in high quality audio.

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Apple is reportedly pushing record labels not to renew their licenses that allow Spotify to stream music for free. The Apple service, which will likely be a paid service similar to Spotify’s “premium” tier, would likely benefit greatly from Spotify abandoning their “free” tier due to lack of support from record labels.

 

Spotify isn’t the only one under attack, however – according to a report published by The Verge, Apple approached Universal Music Group and offered to pay them YouTube’s licensing fees if they agreed to stop allowing their songs to stream on the website.

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The moves have reportedly garnered the Department of Justice’s interest – The Verge states that “DOJ officials have already interviewed high-ranking music industry executives about Apple’s business habits.” According to London’s Financial Times, the European Union’s Competition Commission is looking into Apple’s business practices, “concerned that the company will use its size, relationships, and influence to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported services…”

Apple’s streaming service is expected to debut in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. The service is expected to cost $9.99 / month, and will likely be heavily integrated into the newest versions of iOS and OS X upon release.

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