Apple investigated for allegedly pressuring labels to end free streaming

US and EU authorities looking into claims of unethical practices

Tech giant Apple are reportedly being investigated by authorities for alleged unethical practices.

It was previously reported that the company are developing a new music streaming service to rival Spotify and Tidal, with the product set to be launched at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

However, now The Verge are reporting that the Department Of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are looking into claims that Apple are pressuring major labels not to renew their licence with Spotify’s free tier service, hoping that the move would result in less competition for their upcoming service, which will be subscription only with no ‘freemium’ version. Apple are also alleged to have offered to pay Universal Music Group the same amount they currently receive from YouTube if they pull their entire catalogue from the video platform.

It’s claimed the DOJ officials have already interviewed senior music industry figures regarding Apple’s conduct, with the FTC beginning to gather information on the matter too. The European Union’s Competition Commission are also looking into the case.

According to recent reports, Apple are working on the service with Beats Music and Trent Reznor. Beats Music was acquired by Apple in a $3bn deal last year and Reznor was previously Chief Creative Officer of Beats before the Apple deal.

Apple and Beats will reportedly target exclusives from Taylor Swift and Florence + The Machine when they launch their streaming service this summer.

Bloomberg reports that the tech giants will aim to secure the exclusive streaming rights to new Florence + The Machine album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, due for release in June, as well as the back catalogue of Swift, who famously withdrew all her music from Spotify in 2014.