Apple’s aggressive business tactics within the music industry have sparked interest among regulatory officials. This isn’t the first time in recent history the Cupertino based company has been under scrutiny. One other major controversy arose just last year.
Apple was found guilty of conspiring to fix eBook prices in effort to take down competition from Amazon. After the case concluded, Apple was required to pay Amazon a settlement of $450 Million. Apple is currently appealing the court’s decision while working on a new project and creating more controversy simultaneously. The bigger they are, the harder they fall: or so we’ve been told.
Apple’s acquisition of Beats has made the already huge company even larger. The popular headphone line was also accompanied by the Beats music subscription service, which will be getting a major-facelift.
Expected to be unveiled June 8th at the World Wide Developers Conference, the newly redesigned, revamped, and cohesive music app will be enhanced with the Beats music subscription service built-in. The new music app with Beats integration will most likely be released with iOS 8.4. Curated playlists and a social aspect will most likely be included in the update. The new music application will compete head-to-head with similar music services like Spotify.
The inclusion of the Beats music service into the native iPhone music app will be a huge advantage for Apple. Think about it this way, iPhone users have already set up an Apple ID. Their Apple ID includes the all of the account information the music service would need, most importantly, the users credit card. Thus, Apple has developed the easiest way to pay for a music subscription service. When iOS 8.4 is released, the service will already be on your phone, automatically loaded with your account information, and the only thing you’ll have to do is press a button to sign up with the credit card you already have on file.
The ease of use and the ubiquitous nature of the new Apple music app have officials worried. Apple is slowly but surely becoming closer to a monopoly. Constant acquisitions and control over the Apple ecosystem is creating an unfair competitive advantage that could leave other music subscriptions services in the dust. Having been referred to continuously as the “Spotify killer,” Apple’s new music app might be liable of violating anti-competition legislation.
The cause for concern is that Apple has also reportedly been pushing major music labels to abandon the advertisement-funded free-streaming tiers. Hypothetically, the lack of free services would balance competition in the marketplace. With Apple’s ecosystem already in place, most consumers would see Apple’s streaming service as the most obvious choice.
The New York Post reported that the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are not the only groups questioning Apple. Reportedly, the European Union’s Competition Commission has followed up with several music labels and competing streaming services. The EUCC asked Apple’s competing services to pony-up information regarding Apple’s plans for the music industry and about the company’s relationships within it.
Apple is creating a music subscription service that would automatically be available to anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch. If Apple succeeds in taking down Spotify’s freemium music service, and if legislature finds no legal complications within Apple’s plans, we could see Apple’s streaming service becoming the next revolution in music.