Report: EU Finds No Collusion By Labels, Apple To Defeat Free Streaming
August 7, 2015 at 5:58 PM (PT)
The EUROPEAN COMMISSION failed to find enough evidence for collusion among the major music labels and APPLE to prevent free streaming services from doing business, RE/CODE.NET reported, citing four sources with knowledge of the matter.
Investigators examined whether the labels "conspired" with each other or with APPLE and its new streaming music service in a way that would hurt rivals. The probe failed to turn up any illegal activity, though the EU will continue to monitor the market, sources said.
Separately, the EU has questioned SPOTIFY and other music streaming services for information pertaining to APPLE’s mobile App Store. Regulators are seeking information on the restrictions APPLE places on apps offered through the store. The U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION similarly is exploring whether Apple’s treatment of rival streaming music apps in the App Store violate antitrust laws.
EURO regulators had previously investigated whether APPLE and the major labels teamed up to lock out rivals. The EU sent questionnaires to the major labels seeking details about their licensing discussions with APPLE.
SPOTIFY and other ad-supported free streaming services have been under pressure by the major labels to move more of its listeners to its paid tier.
The trade publication MLEX first reported that the EU had found no evidence of misconduct in its streaming music inquiry. The European investigators’ files will remain open as licensing talks continue between SPOTIFY and some of the major labels, sources said.
The NEW YORK and CONNECTICUT attorneys general found that UMG did not do anything to block listeners’ access to free music streaming.
The FTC, however, is said to be looking into questions surrounding APPLE’s treatment of rival apps in its store, taking a 30% cut on purchases for digital goods made within the app — which includes streaming subscriptions.