With Apple gearing up to launch a revamped Beats music service at WWDC, The Verge is reporting that Apple is already aggressively trying to defeat some longstanding competition.
Specifically, Apple is supposedly trying to convince music labels to stop supporting Spotify's free tier of streaming music. As a quick refresher, Spotify Premium members can pay $9.99 for unlimited on-demand music streaming, while the free tier offers users a more limited offering with ads.
What's more, Apple has reportedly gone so far as to try and persuade music labels to drop their support for YouTube's music licensing program. To sweeten the deal, Apple has allegedly offered "to pay YouTube's music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube."
With all of this behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, The Verge report claims that Apple's actions have already raised the eyebrows of the DOJ and the FTC. And given the trouble Apple ran into with the DOJ over e-book price fixing allegations, one would think Apple would want to do all it can to steer clear of regulatory oversight.
More importantly, though, is that the report, if true, seems to reflect that Apple is scared. Rather than trying to conquer the music marketplace with an incredible streaming service that stands head-and-shoulders above the competition, Apple is instead aiming to destroy the competition with its bank account.
The Verge writes:
If Apple convinces the labels to stop licensing freemium services from Spotify and YouTube, it could take out a significant portion of business from its two largest music competitors.
One would think, or at least hope, that Apple was confident enough in its offering to give services like YouTube and Spotify a good challenge based on features and/or pricing. Going to music labels and trying to get existing deals cancelled seems underhanded, to say the least.