US Senator calls for Apple Music probe

Federal agencies reportedly investigating anti-competitive behaviour by Apple

Tags: Apple IncorporatedUSA
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US Senator calls for Apple Music probe Apple Music during launch
By  David Ndichu Published  July 23, 2015

A US senator has called into federal investigation into how Apple operates its newly minted streaming service, Apple Music, according to several US media reports.

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter sent Wednesday to the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, expressing concern that some of Apple’s business practices in the streaming music market have the potential to undermine customer choices and raise music prices for consumers.

The bone of contention is Apple’s practice of taking a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases while not letting other streaming services use their own apps to inform users that lower prices are available through their websites. Apple Music is exempt from that surcharge, as it is on Apple’s own platform, and charges US customers $9.99 for its streaming service. Spotify’s service is available for $12.99.

In fact, Spotify customers can save $3 a month by signing up on the web and not through Apple's app store, a fact the preeminent streaming service is now informing the public through an advertising blitz.

In the UAE, Apple Music users pay Dh19.99 a month ($5.45).

"Increased competition in the music streaming market should mean that consumers will ultimately benefit through more choices of better products and at lower prices," Franken wrote. "I am concerned, however, that Apple's position as a dominant platform operator may actually undermine many of the potential consumer benefits of its entry into the market."

The Washington Post has cited unnamed sources as saying the FTC is investigating the matter.

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