Since its inception, Spotify has been growing as one of the largest streaming platforms on the internet with around 60 million users, 15 million of which hold premium accounts. Apple has allegedly interacted with a number of music labels, encouraging them to step away from Spotify’s free steaming service. In response, the Department of Justice has reportedly been taking an eye of scrutiny toward Apple’s business practices. This coincidentally comes before Apple’s anticipated Beats re-launch later this year, which will give Apple stake in the increasingly popular music-streaming space.
Apple is said to be using “aggressive tactics” and “its considerable power in the music industry” to persuade music labels from continuing any contractual relationships with Spotify. This sketchy campaign hasn’t threatened Spotify alone, as sources have attested to Apple offering to pay Universal Music Group what their license fee to YouTube would be if they ceased to renew their contract with the video platform.
Suspicion of Apple’s behavior has also spawned across waters, as the New York Post reported on probing that is being done to Apple by the European Union’s Competition Commission.
Working in tandem with labels with an air of bribery to end free streaming services is illegal. If Spotify were to experience a loss in renewed contracts, it would certainly be a big enough blow that Apple’s Beats would reap from.
This cutthroat behavior is not condonable, but does reflect the desperation that is coming from the decline of digital music sales in the past couple of years. It remains up in the air whether ending free streaming will increase said sales, or if it will simply encourage illegal downloading more.
[H/T Consequence of Sound]
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