Senator calls for investigation of Apple's music streaming policies

Licensing terms prohibit competing companies from letting consumers know of better music deals

Sen. Al Franken has called for the U.S. government to investigate whether Apple is putting competing music services at a disadvantage.

Sen. Al Franken has called for the U.S. government to investigate whether Apple is putting competing music services at a disadvantage.

Apple's licensing terms for competing music streaming services may be raising prices for consumers, a potential unfair competition issue that should be investigated, a U.S. senator alleged on Wednesday.

Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat representing Minnesota, called on the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to probe whether Apple's licensing terms for streaming music apps puts competing companies at a disadvantage.

Apple charges a 30 percent fee for in-app purchases and prohibits app developers from telling users that lower-cost products may be available to customers directly from their websites, Franken wrote in a letter to the agencies.

"These types of restrictions seem to offer no competitive benefit and may actually undermine the competitive process, to the detriment of consumers, who may end up paying substantially more than the current market price point," he wrote.

Apple launched its streaming service, Apple Music, at the end of June, putting it in direct competition with companies including Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music and others.

Apple's strong position in the smartphone and desktops markets gives it a powerful advantage, which could undermine benefits consumers could get by its entry into music streaming, Franken contended.

"Increased competition in the music streaming market should mean that consumers will ultimately benefit through more choices of better products and at lower prices," he wrote.

Also on Wednesday, Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit consumer advocate group based in Washington, D.C., called on the same agencies to look into whether Apple was trying to restrict ad-supported streaming services.

The group claimed it has information that Apple has been pressing three music labels to give it exclusive rights to artists' content.

Such arrangements could allow Apple greater power "to dominate the subscription music sector with whatever price it chooses," according to its letter.

Apple officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetAppleInternet-based applications and servicesMusic and audio

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?