Apple Music already subject to antitrust scrutiny

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The Apple Music introduction isn't even yet a week old. What's more, Apple's highly anticipated new streaming music service isn't even slated to go live until the end of June. And yet, Apple Music has already attracted the attention of state regulators.

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, both New York and Connecticut are already looking into whether or not Apple's new music service runs afoul of antitrust law.

The joint investigation by the two states into whether the music industry was acting in collusion to restrain competition among stream music services was disclosed in a letter to the New York Attorney General’s office from Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. The New York Attorney General posted the letter on its website.

The letter, sent via email on Monday from Universal’s lawyers, described the Attorneys General’s concern over streaming services and record labels seeking to circumvent competition by colluding to remove a free, advertising-supported option for listeners. It named Spotify and Youtube as providers of such free service.

And though Apple isn't explicitly mentioned by name, it's abundantly clear who's being referenced. After all, this isn't the first we've heard of Apple perhaps wielding a bit too much power ahead of its Apple Music launch.

Back in early May, reports surfaced indicating that Apple has been playing hardball behind the scenes in order to clear out Apple Music competition. Specifically, The Verge relayed that Apple had reportedly been pressuring music labels to drop their support for Spotify's free tier of music. What's more, the report claimed that Apple was also hoping to convince record labels to stop making their respective music libraries available on YouTube. To sweeten the deal, so to speak, Apple reportedly offered to pay the record labels the fees currently paid by YouTube.

Given the current state of facts, most of the hoopla surrounding Apple Music antitrust issues is nothing more than pure speculation. As a result, it stands to reason that this may all blow over soon, especially given that Apple may have an uphill battle to claim as it seeks to take on Spotify. Just last week, Spotify that it now has more than 20 million paid subscribers.

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