Pretty soon they're going to have an opportunity to deny Apple's involvement in a conspiracy with record labels, or so The Verge reports:
The Department of Justice is looking closely into Apple’s business practices in relation to its upcoming music streaming service, according to multiple sources. The Verge has learned that Apple has been pushing major music labels to force streaming services like Spotify to abandon their free tiers, which will dramatically reduce the competition for Apple’s upcoming offering. DOJ officials have already interviewed high-ranking music industry executives about Apple’s business habits.
Apple has been using its considerable power in the music industry to stop the music labels from renewing Spotify’s license to stream music through its free tier. Spotify currently has 60 million listeners, but only 15 million of them are paid users. Getting the music labels to kill the freemium tiers from Spotify and others could put Apple in prime position to grab a large swath of new users when it launches its own streaming service, which is widely expected to feature a considerable amount of exclusive content. "All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat," one music industry source said.
Apple is expected to launch a streaming music service at WWDC in June, and it looks like they are laying the same groundwork for the new service that they laid for iBooks in late 2009.
Please excuse me for a second while I enjoy the moment.
... turns on Happy by Pharrell ...
... dances like no one is watching ...
Okay, I'm done.
Personal glee aside, I am going to wait for real evidence before reaching a conclusion. I want to see a statement on the record, a copy of the indictment, or something that shows that this is more than hearsay.
I might enjoy reading the hearsay but it is still just hearsay at this point. There are reports Apple has pulled tricks like this before, but that doesn't mean that this report is true.
And even if it is true, that doesn't mean that Apple actually did anything wrong or that the DOJ will prosecute. The labels are more than capable of conspiring on their own. Also, there have been other reports that the record labels were already trying to kill Spotify's free service, which means Apple's rumored involvement could be nothing more than that: a rumor.
We'll just have to wait and see.
image by Bev Goodwin