The United States legal system has quickly jumped on Apple’s new music streaming service, hoping to catch the mega-corporation in the act of violating antitrust laws set in place to prevent such organizations from monopolizing the businesses with which they are involved. The attorneys general from New York and Connecticut, Eric T. Schneiderman and George Jepsen respectively, have begun their second coordinated attempt to investigate Apple’s negotiations with other companies that may have abandoned the “freemium” services of sites like Spotify and YouTube in favor of Apple’s pay-or-walk model.
In response to the unveiling of the investigations, Universal Music Group‘s legal firm Hunton & Williams drew up a letter stating their abstinence from agreements with Apple that would in any way serve to hinder the availability of “freemium” services. Universal claims that it “shares the attorneys general’s commitment to a robust and competitive market for music streaming services in the mutual best interest of consumers, artists, services and content companies alike — and we have a long track record to that effect.”
The main impetus for the current investigation comes from a federal judge’s accusation toward Apple in 2013 regarding their alleged collusion with book publishers to raise prices on Amazon‘s digital e-book sales past their regular $9.99 marker. It was Schneiderman and Jepsen that conducted the following examination.
A spokesman for Schneiderman released this statement regarding the potential fraudulent activities of Apple Music: “It’s important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anticompetitive practices.”
With the European Commission at their side, the attorneys general hope to weed out Apple’s suspected actions before the service’s official release date of June 30th.
Despite Apple’s extensive catalogue of artists and radio DJs lined up and ready to go, their paid service doesn’t seem to offer anything staggeringly beneficial to the average music consumer. Unless they decide to somehow forcefully integrate the service into their products (remember the U2 album?), I doubt anyone with slight tech savvy will waste their money for material they can gain access to elsewhere.