Third time’s the charm. Apple continues to be investigated as authorities believe the innovative company may be using its widely popular iTunes app to exploit the market.
After The European Commission and The Department of Justice launched their own investigations, Apple Inc is now being looked at by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well.
FTC officials are concerned that the industry leader’s revamped (and soon to be released to the public) Beats Music streaming service could gain an unfair advantage over competitors due to Apple’s broad variety of products and services, and the interlinking between them.
The company is believed to have struck partnerships with several bands and musicians, asking them to release their singles and albums exclusively through iTunes. Though the exclusivity of the rights is only temporary, it’s more than enough to give Apple a winning edge.
The artists are also expected to promote Beats Music in the service’s new advertising campaign, and Spotify in particular is set to suffer a great loss if artists come off as siding with rival company Apple.
Two of the names believed to have been approached by Apple are Florence and The Machine and Taylor Swift.
Music-industry executives in the know-how say that the The FTC is currently conducting interviews with multiple record labels, their main concern being whether or not Apple’s approach will change the way music labels and streaming services do business together – “for example curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates” – if this reports are true.
Executives assure us however that Apple is innocent of such accusations.
While Apple iTunes is well known for its great variety of available genres, user-friendly interface and for being a major source for discovering and buying music and shows through downloads, Spotify still offers listeners some free music even though the company itself has to pay for the music they’re commercializing.
Spotify copes with the costs by selling ad space on the platform, a practice that has worked well for them in the past. Statistics have shown that most people would rather listen to music for free on ad supported platforms, than pay for the songs that they love. Music-industry executives find this preference to be of great concern and consider it one of the main factors that are killing the industry.
In a successful attempt to fight Apple and win over some of the customers, Spotify is now offering new users premium accounts that only cost 99 cents per month for the first three months. A significant discount as their premium accounts typically cost $9.99 per month for the average adult and $4.99 if you happen to be a student.
This has proven to be a nice opportunity for Spotify users to experience more of the streaming service’s features. The software enjoys 60 million listeners, but out of all of them only 15 million are paid users.
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