Apple Is being investigated for collusion with record labels and pressuring top artists to choose its new streaming service over competitors like Spotify.
Apple made a big splash last week with the announcement of its long awaited Apple Music streaming service. The company revealed the details of the service, which will cost subscribers $9.99 and will include access to iTunes' vast music library, along with a 24-hour streaming radio station called Beats 1.
Now, Apple is being investigated as part of a widespread inquiry into the music streaming business initiated by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has written to various top record labels and demanded they turn over any communication that provides evidence of collusion with each other or with Apple.
A leaked letter has emerged, which is apparently a response by a Universal Music Group attorney to an inquiry from Schneiderman's office. It reads, in part: "[Universal] did not have any agreements with Apple, Sony Music Entertainment or Warner Music Group that would impede free or advert-supported streaming services, not did it have restrictions on licensing its music to any streaming service."
Apple was famously found guilty of collusion with eBook publishers in an attempt to undercut the prices at Amazon and other retailers. Now, the company is being investigated for potentially pressuring labels and top artists such as Taylor Swift to remove their music from free streaming music competitors like Spotify, which also provides an option for a paid ad-free subscription tier.
Swift made news last year, when she pulled all of her music off the service. Eyebrows were raised when it was announced on Monday that her tracks would now be available on Apple Music. Spotify founder Daniel Ek released a cryptic tweet reading, "oh Ok," in response to the announcement, which he then quickly deleted.
Attorney General Schneiderman's office confirmed the investigation via a spokesman, who stated that the probe was initiated to make certain that the business of music streaming "continues to develop free from collusion and other anti-competitive practices."