Apple today is more wildly successful and popular than ever before. One might even reasonably say that Apple, for a variety of reasons, is the most influential tech company on the planet today. But sometimes, being the top dog brings with it a whole new host of problems.
The latest chapter from Apple’s “heavy is the head that wears the crown” saga is that European regulators are already looking into Apple’s discussions with record labels as it pertains to the company’s upcoming Beats streaming service. Apparently, Apple can somehow attract the attention of regulatory agencies for a service that doesn’t even officially exist yet.
Officials have sent questionnaires to several music labels and rival music streaming companies in recent weeks as they gather evidence to decide whether an official investigation is needed, according to several people with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
How ridiculously infuriating. It’s almost as if European regulators are simply starting off with the conclusion that there’s a problem. Then again, this wouldn’t be the first instance we’ve seen of overbearing regulatory agencies trying desperately to expand their scope of influence and level of self-importance.
At the core of the European Commission’s curiousity is whether or not Apple will leverage its brand cachet to deliver a streaming service at a lower pricepoint than Spotify.
Unlike rival services that offer individuals the ability to stream music free, Apple’s offering is expected to charge all consumers. Europe’s antitrust officials want to ensure that Apple’s new service does not gain an unfair advantage over rivals that use a so-called freemium model, in which consumers can stream music for free or upgrade to a monthly subscription, the music executive added.
If this makes absolutely no sense to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. For starters, the latest reports indicate that Apple hasn’t been able to secure a lower priced pricepoint for streaming. Additionally, with no free ad-supported tier, where’s the source of worry that Apple’s Beats streaming service will hold an “unfair advantage” over competing services like Spotify? Further, Apple is the newcomer here, looking to take on incumbents like Spotify and Pandora. To that end, undercutting the market leader, if Apple goes down that route, is sometimes how business works.
For anyone that closely followed the joke of a trial that was Apple’s e-book saga, this music related nonsense shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
In any event, Apple will likely introduce its new streaming service at WWDC later this June, with a rollout expected to commence when iOS 9 launches, presumably in September.