EU scrutinizing record labels over potential deals with Apple streaming music service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2015
With Apple expected to rebrand and relaunch its acquired Beats Music service this summer, the company has already come under the watchful eye of the European Union, which has begun probing the company's plans even before the product is made official.




Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times reported on Thursday that "several labels and digital music companies" were contacted with questionnaires regarding dealings with Apple. Those questions were reportedly sent by the European Commission, which is the legislative arm of the E.U.

The commission is apparently interested in the agreements labels have allegedly been making with Apple in recent weeks and months, in anticipation of a new streaming service from the company. The report indicated that Apple has planned the rebranded Beats Music launch for this summer, aligning with earlier rumors.

According to the Times, questionnaires from the commission are often triggered by a formal complaint. As such, it's possible that the labels or one of Apple's competitors view the terms of the deals being struck by the iTunes company as potentially unfair.

Apple already competes against the likes of market leader Spotify and others with Beats Music, which it acquired as part of a $3 billion deal last May. But Apple is apparently in the process of rebranding and redesigning that software, which could bring it more in line with the rest of the company's iTunes services.

As part of those negotiations, Apple was said to have sought a lower monthly fee than Beats Music's current $10 price tag. But last month it was reported that Apple backed off that strategy, and its new streaming service is expected to keep the same price and match that of Spotify.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    Spotify costs $19 a month in the UK! You could buy twenty to thirty albums a year for that!

    I guess these streaming services are for the young'uns, who can't get enough music.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,312member
    The EU seems to be getting more aggressive at digging into US companies business. They'll quite likely end up filing charges against Google at some point (perhaps soon) and IMO Apple too eventually, and both over competitive practices. Being the best at what you do appears to be problematic for some EU authorities.

    EDIT:
    " the European Commission is considering launching an antitrust investigation...
    The commission, which also has contacted Apple’s music-streaming rivals, is said to be concerned that the company will use its size, relationships and influence to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported services such as Spotify, which depend on licenses with music companies for their catalogues."
  • Reply 3 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,707member
    The sooner the UK tells Brussels where to shove it the better for Brits IMHO.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    chelinchelin Posts: 52member
    Well the difference between EU and the way Congress/Senate works here is that they are working mostly for the people and not for big money.

    There wouldn't have been a privacy debate if it weren't for EU. Google, Microsoft, FB would be owning your information. I for one think it is great that someone is standing up against all types of international corporations and make sure that the consumer isn't screwed.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,045member
    chelin wrote: »
    Well the difference between EU and the way Congress/Senate works here is that they are working mostly for the people and not for big money.

    There wouldn't have been a privacy debate if it weren't for EU. Google, Microsoft, FB would be owning your information. I for one think it is great that someone is standing up against all types of international corporations and make sure that the consumer isn't screwed.

    Thanks for the laughs! This is about protectionism and taxes, not fairness or promoting competition or 'looking out for consumers'.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    chelinchelin Posts: 52member
    You're welcome,

    Care to explain why?
  • Reply 7 of 28
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,557member
    chelin wrote: »
    You're welcome,

    Care to explain why?
    All government = bad, for some people.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    chelinchelin Posts: 52member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post





    All government = bad, for some people.



    Yeah I know, but it would be interesting why it wouldn't be needed to make sure that they aren't trying to screw the consumers. Or have we already forgotten about iBooks?

  • Reply 9 of 28
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,557member
    ^ the iBooks episode is probably the precise reason why regulators are considering Apple's actions very carefully.

    I doubt they'll find anything though, the music industry isn't in the situation that the book publishing industry was, and there is no "big bag" to be broken, like there was with Amazon.

    Doesn't hurt to be cautious though.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    Apple will end up winning the iBooks appeal. The reality is that it should have been Amazon that was investigated and prosecuted based on predatory pricing practices as they drive independent booksellers out of business. That in fact would have been in the best interest of "consumers" - keeping healthy businesses and jobs in our own neighborhoods. Protecting "consumer" interests is more than just delivering the cheapest prices. In fact the word "consumer" is a terrible word to describe ourselves. Our lives are far more complicated than just being purchasers of products, yet businesses and governments seem to be focused on defining us as that.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,557member
    Whether or Apple will ultimately triumph in the iBooks case is another matter entirely and has been discussed many times. The point is that the case brought a lot of attention on Apple as an anti-competitive actor (rightly or wrongly, no judgement required), so it is understandable that any content deals they are involved in will be reviewed thoroughly.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,312member
    freerange wrote: »
    Apple will end up winning the iBooks appeal. .
    Apple didn't appeal anything with the EU. They simply buckled for the most part, agreeing to the changes EU authorities were demanding to avoid antitrust charges. Fortunately by not letting it go any further the agreement terms were time-limited which may allow Apple to redo a few of the contracts sometime soon.
    http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/13/apple-settles-with-eu-over-ebook-pricing-hands-amazon-a-victory/

    This may be the third on-going EU-wide investigation of Apple practices initiated in just the last two years, with a few others begun or completed by individual member countries. All of the big three, Apple, Google and Microsoft, will be under the microscope there for a long time IMHO.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,885member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post





    All government = bad, for some people.

     

    Why is it all or nothing?  How about LIMITED Government!!!  The bigger Government grows, the more corrupt it becomes.   I don't need Government to Micro manage my life!!!  I don't need Government to know how best to spend my money!!!   When all these social programs continue to fail and it's just a bottomless money pit, doubling down, tripling down on it forever.  The 50 year war on Poverty and it's worse then ever.  So clearly it's all working,............... NOT!!!!  That's ok, just Tax(Steal) more money form the people, and when you can't realistically continue to keep doing that before the people go up in arms, Tax them Wealthy American Company's.  Look, they're rolling around in money.  Just what we need.

  • Reply 14 of 28
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,557member
    ^ I don't think anyone sensible is arguing for unlimited government.

    The question is where the limits are. Clearly yours are quite low.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    b9botb9bot Posts: 238member

    Scrutinizing what? Apple hasn't officially announced anything about a streaming music service yet. The EU and whatever companies over there seem to be getting way ahead of themselves. Are they that terrified of Apple?

  • Reply 16 of 28
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,556member
    $10 days Amazon or Googs has a complaint.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Apple actually cares about the music industry. If anyone does it right it'll be them.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,312member
    jungmark wrote: »
    $10 days Amazon or Googs has a complaint.
    Aren't both Google and Amazon's services paid like Apple's Beat redux is rumored to be? The EU's concern is Apple pressure on the content providers to discontinue licensing for the "free" services like the basic level Pandora and Spotify streamers. FWIW I doubt Google would discourage it as it would benefit them just like it would Apple.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,338member
    So the EU would prefer a model where almost no one gets paid to one where it's more likely artists will be paid?

    I don't have EU figures, but in the U.S. in 2014, Ad Supported streaming generated only $295 million for the industry. That compares with $773 million paid by Sound Exchange and $799 million generated on the basis of paid subscriptions. Although downloads of albums and singles are in somewhat of a decline, downloaded albums generated $1.15 billion and downloaded singles generated $1.4 billion.

    (The CD, which everyone assumes is dead and is by virtue of the fact that it's only selling 15% of the units it sold at its peak, still generated $1.85 billion (at list prices). The LP, which the media has decided is doing stupendously well, generated only $315 million (at list prices)).
  • Reply 20 of 28
    copelandcopeland Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Thanks for the laughs! This is about protectionism and taxes, not fairness or promoting competition or 'looking out for consumers'.



    Why do start a new rant on government (EU) when the actual reason why these questionnaires were sent out is:

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider


     


    ... ?questionnaires from the commission are often triggered by a formal complaint. As such, it's possible that the labels or one of Apple's competitors ...


Sign In or Register to comment.