When Apple finally relaunches Beats Music later this year, it’s going to have to compete with some of the most popular streaming services on the market, including the seemingly omnipresent Spotify. But Apple knows it’s going to be an uphill battle, which is why we’re inclined to believe a report from The Verge claiming that Apple is trying to convince music labels to force Spotify to drop its free streaming tiers altogether prior to the debut of Beats Music.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Department of Justice has already begun conducting interviews with music industry executives regarding Apple’s potentially suspect business practices. “All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat,” one music industry source told The Verge.
Of Spotify’s 60 million users, only about 15 million pay for the premium subscription. The rest rely on Spotify’s ad-supported free tier to get their daily dose of streaming music, but if the music industry were to force Spotify to shut down its free option, it would leave Beats Music in prime position to pick up the 45 million users left behind.
Furthermore, Spotify might only be one of the casualties of the streaming music war Apple is apparently waging — sources also claim that “Apple offered to pay YouTube’s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube.”
Come this June, when Apple is expected to bring Beats Music back to life at WWDC 2015, your options for streaming free music might be depleted, but at least you’ll know who to blame.