Apple may be looking to clear a lane for domination in the music streaming department. The Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC for short) are looking into the practices that Apple has been taking part in.
Apple is planning on releasing a music streaming service this summer, and apparently the brand is trying to coerce music labels into relinquishing their contracts with Spotify, and Youtube along the “freemium” tiers. Pretty much this means that Apple is trying to sell labels on the point that most of Spotify’s listeners use it for free, and the profits coming from Apple’s service could be much greater if the agreements shared between these music labels and Spotify no longer exist. All the free listeners (forty-five million, or seventy-five percent) of Spotify’s sixty million users would be abandoned and in need of a new streaming service to listen to. This is the target market Apple would try to harp on, and get to buy whatever streaming service Apple is serving. The new Apple service is supposedly going to feature exclusive content, and pay artists royalties from the app’s contingent success (cough, Tidal).
Apple’s plan for world domination does not stop at the systematic dismantling of Spotify’s core subscriptions, YouTube is also in the line of fire. Apparently Apple offered to Universal Music Group a settlement if they would strip YouTube of their content. This also eliminates free music being able to get into the hands of needy consumers. Basically what Apple is getting at is the fact that people are no longer feeling the need, nor are they being coaxed to, pay for music. As a result the music industry is in dire straits trying to figure out how to finally catch up to the digital, and (now streaming) age. Where this becomes an issue is for the companies YouTube, and Spotify. While the music industry rejoice for finally catching up to the times, Spotify and YouTube are at the potential risk of losing huge amounts of profit. The basis of what Apple is going for is not illegal, but the methods by which they are conducting themselves is what is raising the figurative eyebrows of the DOJ and FTC. The cutthroat nature of literally doing business with your competitors supplier is dirty in the sense that the people who use Spotify and YouTube will now be pretty much forced into buying music, and leaving the comfort of “freemium ranks.” As the story develops it shall be interesting to see where Apple ends up on the spectrum of streaming services.