The reports of regulatory interest in Apple’s plans to relaunch its streaming service Beats Music – and possible anticompetitive behaviour to give it an advantage over rivals – are piling up. Yesterday it was Bloomberg citing its music industry sources as saying the Federal Trade Commission has been asking “more than one record label” for details on what Apple is up to.
The story claims that the FTC’s focus for now is on whether Apple’s relaunch will change the way they work with other streaming services like Spotify – including pressure on its free tier and plans for windowing music through exclusives. Meanwhile, The Verge says that those rivals’ complaints about Apple are going beyond these issues and focusing on the way it takes a 30% cut of their in-app subscriptions through their iOS apps – while barring them from providing in-app links for people to subscribe directly on their websites. Their complaint is clear: they either have to stick with $9.99 and give 30% to Apple, or raise the price of a monthly subscription paid in-app to, say, $12.99 and end up being more expensive to iOS users than Beats Music.