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WSJ: Apple Music is already the target of an antitrust investigation

Updated Jun 10th, 2015 7:37AM EDT
Apple Music Streaming Business Antitrust
Image: Apple

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One of the most important announcements coming out of this year WWDC conference concerns Apple’s music business. The company on Monday unveiled Apple Music on stage, thoroughly detailing its new music streaming business. Even though the service will be available in 100 countries only starting with June 30th, it looks like Apple Music is already under antitrust scrutiny.

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The Attorneys General of New York and Connecticut have joint forces to investigate whether Apple’s deals for Apple Music have violated antitrust rules, The Wall Street Journal reports. The two attorneys general were part of the group of 33 states and private plaintiffs that sued Apple and five U.S. book publishers in 2013 for conspiring to raise the prices of e-books — a case in which Apple was found to have violated anti-trust laws, and agreed to settle for $450 million.

Investigators are looking at whether the music industry was acting in collusion to restrain competition in the business. The investigation was disclosed in a letter sent to the New York Attorney General’s office from Universal Music Group’s lawyers.

While Apple wasn’t specifically named as the target of the investigation, Universal said it wasn’t colluding with Apple, or working with major rivals including Sony and Warner Music to impede competition, and that it didn’t see itself as a target.

“This letter is part of an ongoing investigation of the music streaming business, an industry in which competition has recently led to new and different ways for consumers to listen to music,” New York Attorney General spokesman Matt Mittenthal said.

“To preserve these benefits, it’s important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anti-competitive practices.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.