Department Of Justice, FTC Investigating Apple For Pressuring Labels To End Free Streaming

Apple is currently in the process of getting all their ducks in a row to launch a new music streaming service — expected to be announced in June at WWDC — but it looks like they may be engaging in some unethical business practices to get there. As The Verge reports, the Department Of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are investigating the company for pressuring major labels to not renew their license with Spotify’s free tier, effectively ending free on-demand music streaming as we know it. The company is hoping that a drop in the amount of content offered by Spotify’s free tier would drive the service’s approximately 45 million non-paying users into Apple’s arms when they announce their service, which is also expected to have a bunch of exclusive artists a la Tidal. “All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat,” a music industry source told The Verge.

This isn’t the first time that Apple’s been put on watch for antitrust violations — they were found guilty of conspiring to fix eBook pricing in a suit last year, and were forced to pay $450 million out. (They’re currently appealing that decision.)

Apple’s new service will be built off of their acquired Beats Music platform.